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CT Scanning for Civil Engineering and Natural Resources Laboratory

The only facility of its kind in Canada, the CT Scanning for Civil Engineering and Natural Resources Laboratory houses cutting-edge equipment capable of non-destructively reconstructing a 3D image of the internal structure and texture of an object at resolutions from 100 microns down to one micron, all in a matter of minutes. The lab also allows for the dynamic study (in 4D) of solid structures and flowing fluids.

Analyses performed in the lab have applications in fields ranging from geology, forestry, and metallurgy to archaeology, paleontology, petrography, and civil engineering, as well as in the study of dynamic phenomena such as fluid flow and shoreline erosion.

The lab is the only facility of its size in Canada and one of just a handful worldwide. It is located in the INRS Laboratories for Scientific and Technological Innovation in Environment complex at the Québec Metro High Tech Park.

The laboratory includes two major facilities: the medical CT scanner and the micro CT scanner. They are completed by three instrument rooms that enable further study of the samples: HYDÉES, Sedimentology and GEOTEK.


CT scanner

The SOMATOM Definition AS+ 128 is mounted on a track system specially designed to ensure accurate placement of the acquisition unit. For very large objects, the track can be extended up to 430 cm. The device is equipped with the latest generation of Siemens Stellar detectors. The maximum image resolution is 97 x 97 x 400 microns/pixels at a slice thickness of 0.4 to 15 mm. The analysis and data storage unit can handle 128 images per second at 512 x 512 voxels. Moreover, the system can function continuously for 80 seconds.


Micro CT

The TESCAN CoreTOM is a vertical scanning system using a 45 kg capacity turntable that can accommodate objects up to 1.5 m high by 30 cm in diameter. The maximum resolution for small objects is in the micron range. The system can operate for several hours to reduce the noise level of the images. The samples placed in the micro CT can be connected through baffles and an electronic interface to outside devices such as an environmental chamber, a triaxial or a pressure chamber, all available in the laboratory.


HYDÉES instrument room

Dedicated to coastal and fluvial hydraulics, the main study theme of a complementary laboratory, the Environmental Hydraulics Laboratory, which has the largest wave flume in North America. HYDÉES instrument room is equipped with a small wave flume (9 m long, 0.3 x 0.3 m cross-section) and a small current flume (7 m long, 0.3 x 0.3 m cross-section). These small flumes can be placed in the medical CT scanner for dynamic studies.

Several measurement instruments are available such as two Lavision PIV systems, one of which is high frequency, acoustic water level sensors, acoustic velocimeters and a medical ultrasound echosounder that can be used as a bathymetric sounder.


Sedimentology instrument room

The fully equipped sedimentology lab houses a Beckman Coulter laser-based particle counter and a Beckman Coulter J6.MI.H.C 6 x 1 litre centrifuge, an oven, a high temperature muffle furnace, digital scales, a vacuum filtration system, a vibratory sieve shaker, and a core splitter. An ITRAX Core Scanner allowing non-contact elemental chemical analysis is available at the Geochemistry, Imaging, and Radiography of Sediments Laboratory.


GEOTEK instrument room

This space includes a Multi-Sensor Core Logger (MSCL) analysis bench equipped with a line scan camera, a gamma density measurement unit, a magnetic susceptibility sensor, an XRF sensor and a near-infrared spectrometer.

The laboratory provides technical support to its users for their research and development projects. Our staff participates in the design of analytical methods for different types of samples, in the supervision of students, and in the analysis of data acquired in our laboratory upon request. 3D digital data storage is also available on a temporary basis and upon request.

The laboratory’s resources and expertise are available for university projects, but also for external collaborations with the public and private sectors or for research and development contracts. Contact us for more information.

The fields of applications for the lab’s high-precision equipment are many and varied:

  • Marine engineering (sediment transport measurement)
  • Geological engineering (geological risks and the behaviour of gas hydrates)
  • Hydrogeology (migration of fluids and pollutants)
  • Forestry (insect pest impacts)
  • Dendrochronology (densimetric variations in growth rings)
  • Paleontology (identifying microfossils in sediment)
  • Marine ecology (behaviour of benthic animals)
  • Metallogeny (analysis of the 3D structure of alloys)
  • Archeology (analysis of the composition and internal structure of artifacts)
  • Materials science (concrete, asphalt, quality control of industrial parts)
  • Pedology and the study of permafrost
  • Sedimentology and paleoclimatology (sediment core analysis)
  • CO2 sequestration (study of the behaviour of rocks and fluids at high pressure)
  • Fossilized fish, permafrost core samples, moose teeth, logs… a tremendous variety of objects find their way to the lab

The CT Scanning for Civil Engineering and Natural Resources Laboratory is funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the Government of Quebec.


Mathieu Des Roches
Manager, Research Officer
Phone: 418-654-3798

Philippe Letellier
Research Officer
Phone: 418-654-2644

Pierre Francus
Professor and Scientific co-head
Phone: 418-654-3780

Damien Pham Van Bang
Professor and Scientific co-head
Phone: 418-654-2590

Boutaina El Jai
Partnerships and Research Development Advisor
Phone: 418 654-2531

CT Scanning for Civil Engineering and Natural Resources Laboratory

Institut national de la recherche scientifique

Laboratory for Scientific and Technological Innovation in Environment

Eau Terre Environnement Research Centre

2605 blvd. du Parc-Technologique

Québec City, Quebec  G1P 4S5


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