Kent Abel is working on a process that will allow him to look through steel and nonmetallic pipes.

Kent Abel is working on x-ray vision to see through steel
Kent Abel is working on x-ray vision to see through steel

He’s not faster than a speeding bullet.

He can’t leap tall buildings in a single bound.

But Kent Abel is working on seeing through steel.

As part of his research on the flow of bubbly material through pipes, Abel is using powerful neutron beams from OSU’s nuclear reactor to get the 3-dimensional images he needs to investigate high pressure and high temperature processes in thick steel pipes.

And Abel, who is working toward a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering, finds himself at the cutting edge of research in the area of finding industrial applications for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology.

Working with faculty members in nuclear engineering, Abel has found a new use for the huge MRI machines normally found in hospitals. He is using them to obtain concentrations and velocity profiles for a variety of gas-liquid flows that are typical of industrial fluid processes that take place in PVC and other nonmetallic pipes.

“Nobody else is using an MRI to do this,” Abel says. “We’re able to obtain an incredible amount of information on complex flows with the single touch of a button.”

Because there is a variety of research that could be done with an MRI, the College of Engineering is working with various other colleges on campus to obtain an MRI at OSU. “It’s very exciting,” Abel says.

Engineering newsletter article on Abel’s research

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