Science as art

Science can be beautiful, here follows some of the best images and examples of this, from our lab.

  1. Analyzing nature’s protective design: glyptodont body armor
    High resolution analysis of the structure of the bony plate of a glyptodont, an extinct animal with highly specialized body armor, was performed using microCT. Using this information, reverse engineering and additive manufacturing allowed the unravelling of the important parameters for its protective role, assisting in future design of protective materials. The images show the 3D and 2D views of the structure, as well as a color-coded thickness analysis.
    du Plessis, Anton, Chris Broeckhoven, Igor Yadroitsev, Ina Yadroisava, and Stephan Gerhard le Roux. “Analyzing nature’s protective design: the glyptodont body armor.” Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials(2018).
  2. Hermit crabsHigh resolution microCT scans of hermit crabs allowed the identification of new species, and allows the simple sharing of specimen data among scientists. These microCT images show the Paragiopagurus Atkinsonae female paratype in 3D and 2D, still in the shell.


    Landschoff, Jannes, Anton Du Plessis, and Charles L. Griffiths. “A micro X-ray computed tomography dataset of South African hermit crabs (Crustacea: Decapoda: Anomura: Paguroidea), containing scans of two rare specimens and three recently-described species.” GigaScience (2018).


    3. Strength vs thermal capacity of lizard body armor

    This study investigated the two closely related lizard species with differences in their body armour. These differences were analysed by microCT-based mechanical and thermal conductivity simulations. The image below shows a single bony armor plate, with a thermal conductivity simulation applied from top to bottom.

    Broeckhoven, Chris, Anton du Plessis, and Cang Hui. “Functional trade-off between strength and thermal capacity of dermal armor: insights from girdled lizards.” Journal of the mechanical behavior of biomedical materials 74 (2017): 189-194.

    4. Strike of the Cape Cobra

    A study of the internal and external morphology and biomechanical simulations was reported for a series of snake fangs from various different snake species. The results indicate that of the various fang shapes that have evolved none is superior to the other biomechanically. The simulations were extended with detailed morphological comparisons and physical mechanical compression tests. An image from this study was selected for the Royal Microscopical Society annual calender for 2018. The image below shows the Cape Cobra, Naja Nivea – the fangs are in the front of the top jaw.

     

    Plessis, Anton du, Chris Broeckhoven, and Stephan G. le Roux. “Snake fangs: 3D morphological and mechanical analysis by microCT, simulation and physical compression testing.” GigaScience (2017).

    Broeckhoven, Chris, and Anton du Plessis. “Has snake fang evolution lost its bite? New insights from a structural mechanics viewpoint.” Biology letters 13, no. 8 (2017): 20170293.


    5. Snake fang simulation

    A study of the internal and external morphology and biomechanical simulations was reported for a series of snake fangs from various different snake species. The results indicate that of the various fang shapes that have evolved none is superior to the other biomechanically. The simulations were extended with detailed morphological comparisons and physical mechanical compression tests. The image below shows a mechanical simulation on an isolated fang of Causus (night adder).

    Plessis, Anton du, Chris Broeckhoven, and Stephan G. le Roux. “Snake fangs: 3D morphological and mechanical analysis by microCT, simulation and physical compression testing.” GigaScience (2017).

    Broeckhoven, Chris, and Anton du Plessis. “Has snake fang evolution lost its bite? New insights from a structural mechanics viewpoint.” Biology letters 13, no. 8 (2017): 20170293.


    6. Three-horned chameleon

    A review paper on microCT for biological specimens used a three-horned chameleon as example, the images below show the analysis of a single horn of this chameleon, with various scans and 3D print files available for the chameleon in the associated publication and data set.

    Du Plessis, Anton, Chris Broeckhoven, Anina Guelpa, and Stephan Gerhard Le Roux. “Laboratory x-ray micro-computed tomography: a user guideline for biological samples.” GigaScience 6, no. 6 (2017): 1-11.

    7. African bullfrog
    This visualization shows an African bullfrog, with some of its flesh removed virtually. This is a typical biological microCT study, and the skull has some interesting structure in this case.

    Du Plessis, Anton, Chris Broeckhoven, Anina Guelpa, and Stephan Gerhard Le Roux. “Laboratory x-ray micro-computed tomography: a user guideline for biological samples.” GigaScience 6, no. 6 (2017): 1-11.

    Matthews, Thalassa, and Anton du Plessis. “Using X-ray computed tomography analysis tools to compare the skeletal element morphology of fossil and modern frog (Anura) species.” Palaeontologia Electronica 19, no. 1 (2016): 1-46.

    8. Stag beetle

    This visualization shows stag beetle, virtually cut open. The next image shows the closeup of one of the mandibles also cut open. This work is ongoing and not yet published.


    Du Plessis, Anton, Chris Broeckhoven, Anina Guelpa, and Stephan Gerhard Le Roux. “Laboratory x-ray micro-computed tomography: a user guideline for biological samples.” GigaScience 6, no. 6 (2017): 1-11.

    9. Permeability simulation in a toothpick

    This image shows nanoCT scan data set of a field of view of a cube of 0.5 mm, of the inside of a toothpick. This pine wood has large vessels which allow fast water flow, as demonstrated with the fluid flow simulation, mostly through the larger vessels. This type of image-based simulation becomes possible at very high resolution with 3D images such as those produced by nanoCT scans.

    du Plessis, Anton, Stephan Gerhard le Roux, and Anina Guelpa. “The CT Scanner Facility at Stellenbosch University: an open access X-ray computed tomography laboratory.” Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms 384 (2016): 42-49.

    10. Brooding brittlestar

    This image shows a brittlestar with 7 babies in her belly, digitally extracted. The image was published in our facility description paper, and forms part of a study published in Gigascience. The image also won the best image at the 2016 Tomography for Scientific Advancement (Tosca) conference in Bath, UK.

     


    du Plessis, Anton, Stephan Gerhard le Roux, and Anina Guelpa. “The CT Scanner Facility at Stellenbosch University: an open access X-ray computed tomography laboratory.” Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms 384 (2016): 42-49.

    Landschoff, Jannes, Anton Plessis, and Charles L. Griffiths. “A dataset describing brooding in three species of South African brittle stars, comprising seven high-resolution, micro X-ray computed tomography scans.” GigaScience 4, no. 1 (2015): 52.

    11. Effect of casting porosity on mechanical properties of titanium alloyThis study investigated the effect of casting porosity on mechanical properties of titanium alloy, making use of microCT to image and quantify the location of pores prior to mechanical testing, and correlating this with failure location after testing. MicroCT-based simulations were used to further analyse the effect of real complex-shaped pores on the stress distributions, and correlate these with mechanical test results. The image below shows a before-after comparison of the same sample, indicating failure occurred at the largest pore as expected. The next image shows the stress distribution in a close-up view of the largest pore.

     

     

    du Plessis, Anton, Ina Yadroitsava, Stephan G. le Roux, Igor Yadroitsev, Johannes Fieres, Christof Reinhart, and Pierre Rossouw. “Prediction of mechanical performance of Ti6Al4V cast alloy based on microCT-based load simulation.” Journal of Alloys and Compounds 724 (2017): 267-274.


    12. Qualification of laser powder bed fusion processes
    MicroCT was used in a qualification process for laser powder bed fusion for titanium alloy. The image below shows the gauge length of a standard tensile sample used for mechanical testing, showing microCT analysis of deviation from an ideal cylinder shape, indicating in this example two positions where the deviation value jumps, due to post-processing imperfection. This affects the mechanical test results and shows how microCT adds value to this kind of qualification process.

 

Yadroitsev, I., P. Krakhmalev, I. Yadroitsava, and A. Du Plessis. “Qualification of Ti6Al4V ELI Alloy Produced by Laser Powder Bed Fusion for Biomedical Applications.” JOM70, no. 3 (2018): 372-377.

 

13. Paper wasps in their nest

This image shows 5 paper wasps (invasive species) imaged in their homes in their natural state. The colour is artificial and enhanced for visual appeal.

du Plessis, Anton, Stephan Gerhard le Roux, and Anina Guelpa. “The CT Scanner Facility at Stellenbosch University: an open access X-ray computed tomography laboratory.” Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms 384 (2016): 42-49.

14. Natural lightweight material

This high resolution image shows a natural material in a 0.5 mm cubic field of view. The volumetric pore fraction is > 95 % and the aim is to use this design to find biomimetic designs for strong but lightweight materials, a focus of biomimetic engineering research.

du Plessis, Anton, Stephan Gerhard le Roux, and Anina Guelpa. “The CT Scanner Facility at Stellenbosch University: an open access X-ray computed tomography laboratory.” Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms 384 (2016): 42-49.

 

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