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SCHOOL OF EARTH SCIENCES, THE UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE

Name: Prof. Ralf Haese and Dr Jay Black Product: GE Phoenix Nanotom M, Micro-CT scanner


Prof. Ralf Haese and Dr. Jay Black from the School of Earth Sciences at The University of Melbourne dedicate their research towards identifying and reducing the risks of geological CO2 storage as part of the global effort to develop cost-effective and safe Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology. The implementation of CCS is a developing climate change mitigation approach suitable for the existing energy industry. The GE Nanotom M micro-CT scanner was recently installed by Hawker Richardson in their laboratory where it will support their research. The instrument is a 3D inspection and visualisation solution with a resolution in the sub-micrometre scale enabling a wide range of applications primarily in the areas of geosciences and material sciences. The micro-CT scanner is part of the University of Melbourne Research Infrastructure platform to conduct Trace Analysis for Chemical, Earth and Environmental Sciences (TrACEES) with the aim to share the facility with researchers within and outside of the university. Only within the first few months a range of samples have been analysed including diamonds, stalagmites (rocks forming in caves), marine polychaetes (a type of worm) and reservoir rocks (sandstones).


Prof. Haese and Dr. Black use the micro-CT scanner in their own research as a tool to visualise and extract 3D data from sediment cores to reveal the distribution and connectivity of grains and voids. Such data is then used to identify preferential pathways for water and CO2 and to determine how much CO2 can be stored in the pore space. The challenge was they needed an inspection system that is able to supply superior imagery, remain reliable, is easy to use and comes with a supplier providing the proper training, service and technical support and good advice on data processing software and computer hardware requirements. After much research and a competitive tender they decided to go with the GE Phoenix Nanotom X-Ray Machine and Hawker Richardson as a supplier.


         “The service level at Hawker Richardson was exceptional. We’d say 9/10. The scheduling and timing of the GE Phoenix Nanotom X-Ray Machine was spot on, the technical support was exceptional along with the entire team who planned an facilitated installing the 1.5 tonne machine up to the 4th floor of our building via a crane. John and Jeff in particular must be highly commended.”

Comprehensive training was provided by Hawker Richardson who flew out Gerhard Zacher, a Geophysics Applications Engineer from GE in Germany who demonstrated how to use the machine to its full capacity and extract the imagery and data necessary for the client’s needs.


        “The training given from Gerhard was great! Extremely straight forward, clear and he covered everything we needed within the training. No issues at all.”

The machine currently gets used about twice a week and the 5 year service contract and 3 year warranty guarantees the GE Phoenix Nanotom M will be supported for a long time.

        “The imagery is incredible! It’s the first time we’ve used a micro-CT scanner in this context but it has been really impressive and has allowed us to see samples literally in 3D at the micrometer scale.”


       “We scanned a sandstone sample with 5mm diameter in the GE Phoenix Nanotom and could immediately see mineral grains and the pore network, and identify locations of dense minerals – the machine allows us to look at the samples closely enough to see how the voids are connected within the rock. We can then look at 3D rendering of the rock pore space.”


On being asked whether they would recommended the GE Phoenix Nanotom M and Hawker Richardson to other universities their reply was, “absolutely!”

Download entire Case Study here