Capacitor Modules Power Febetron Security Applications

A fast-evolving understanding of materials and physical processes is critical to security applications. Febetrons generate X-rays to photograph objects moving at extremely high speeds as part of a detonation and allow the measurement of their position, velocity, shape, and internal density profiles. Powering the Febetrons are capacitor modules. Researchers have developed a new “K-module” device to update the technology.

Capacitor modules are like the automobile engines of the Febetron devices. The Febetron user community is stuck driving with a machine that hasn’t changed in four decades. The researchers have entirely redesigned the engine with up-to-date performance, reliability, and efficiency benefits.

X-ray devices also have civilian uses. The newly developed capacitor modules technology could play a key role in medical imaging devices and applications in the petrochemical, energy, and aerospace sectors.

Technology is especially critical to national security missions. About three-quarters of flash radiography users are Department of Defense and Energy laboratories. Radiographic data and images constrain computer models for materials behavior in high-temperature and high-pressure regimes.

When horizontally stacked in a capacitor bank (also called a Marx bank) inside a Febetron, disc-shaped capacitor modules store and deliver pulsed power to an anode-cathode (A-K) gap to produce an X-ray. The 80-modules-long bank multiplies the voltage as the charge accelerates through the stack, races toward the A-K gap, and releases X-rays.

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