Photo of an airplaneDid you know that a portion of an Aloha Airlines aircraft fuselage and cockpit door separated from the main aircraft while in flight on April 28, 1988? Do you recall the space shuttle Challenger accident which occurred on January 28, 1986? Both accidents could have been avoided if proper precautions had been taken prior to their flight.

Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) techniques are used to check if a component or part can be used safely without destroying it in the process. NDE methods are also used to maintain quality by all companies.

Surely, you would want the bicycle that you bought recently to have been tested and checked that it is safe for use before it shows up in the store!

Many of the NDE techniques are similar to those used by doctors in hospital to diagnose disease in human beings. Indeed, many of the tools used for diagnosing the condition of parts are also used in hospitals and clinics. Take X-rays and ultrasound, for example. X-rays are used for testing aircraft components just as they are for detecting broken bones. Ultrasound is used for testing nuclear power plant components just as it is used for imaging fetuses. The NDE laboratory in the College of Engineering is active in developing new methods inspecting a wide variety of components and devices and techniques for diagnosing disease in human beings.

Students and faculty, for example, are engaged in developing new technique for three-dimensional (CATSCAN) imaging using microwaves. The system can be used not only for imaging but also treating cancer by raising the temperature of the tumor to a point where it is no longer viable. Similarly, new techniques are being developed for detecting fractures in prosthetic heart valves long before they become life threatening.

The laboratory has long been engaged in developing new technologies for inspecting such things as aircraft wings, nuclear power plant components, natural gas transmission lines, navy ships, and submarines. We use a variety of techniques including electromagnetic and acoustic methods for diagnosis. For a more complete description of what we do, please click on