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 submillimetre resolution, 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 CT scanner is a medical device modified for the dynamic study of solid structures and fluid flows in 4D using volume data generated from a sequence of images at submillimetre resolution.

The lab is home to:

  • A Siemens SOMATOM Definition AS+ 128 CT scanner
  • A sedimentology lab
  • Hydraulic, biosedimentology, and hydrology instruments

The 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/voxel 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 and can operate at extended HU scale for high density samples.

The sedimentology lab

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 laminar flow cabinet, a vibratory sieve shaker, and a core splitter. An ITRAX Core Scanner is also available at the Geochemistry, Imaging, and Radiography of Sediments Laboratory

Tools for hydraulic, biosedimentology, and hydrology analysis

Tools for hydraulic, biosedimentology, and hydrology analyses can be used with the CT scanner to perform real-time experiments. These tools include:

  • A 7-metre-long flume with two pistons that can be programmed to simulate currents and swells
  • Two open aquariums for studying the behaviour of animals in intertidal environment as well as the migration of metals and their concentration in plant roots
  • Two pressure-controlled compartments for studying behaviour in deep (2 to 400 m) environments (continental plate)
  • A high-pressure compartment that can simulate deep-sea (abyssal) environments for the study of degasification and gas hydrate formation in ocean environments
  • A LaVision particle image velocimetry (PIV) system made up of high-resolution cameras and a double-pulse laser for measuring the displacement of particles in a liquid flow
  • Turbidity sensors
  • A General Electric ultrasound machine for conducting bathymetric surveys in a wave flume

Land surveying and sampling instruments

The lab’s surveying equipment includes:

  • A bathymetric LiDAR developed by INO
  • Two subsurface profile acquisition systems
  • Acoustic releases for mooring
  • S4 current meters

The CT Scanning for Civil Engineering and Natural Resources Laboratory is available to INRS Eau Terre Environnement Research Centre faculty, students, and staff for their research projects.

Lab resources and expertise are also available for external collaborations or research and development contracts. Contact us to learn more.

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) and 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)
  • Petrography (rock core analysis)
  • Archeology (analysis of the internal structure of metal parts)
  • Materials science (concrete and asphalt analysis)
  • Pedology and the study of permafrost
  • 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.


Louis-Frédéric Daigle
Manager, Research Technician
Phone: 418-650-7411
Email: louis-frederic.daigle@ete.inrs.ca

Mathieu Des Roches
Manager, Research Officer
Phone: 418-654-3798
Email: mathieu.des_roches@ete.inrs.ca

Pierre Francus
Professor and Scientific co-leader
Phone: 418-654-3780
Email: pierre.francus@ete.inrs.ca

Damien Pham Van Bang
Professor and Scientific co-leader
Phone: 418-654-2590
Email: damien.pham_van_bang@ete.inrs.ca

Carole Parent
Partnerships and Research Development Advisor
Phone: 418-654-2531
Email: carole.parent@ete.inrs.ca

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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