This Special Interest Group (SIG-NDE) will cover the use of acoustic and ultrasonic methods for non-destructive evaluation (NDE) applications. The topic of NDE concerns the detection and characterisation of defects in engineering structures. These techniques are used to ensure the safety of structures both at initial manufacture and throughout their service life. This includes, but is not limited to, topics such as materials characterisation, permanently installed systems for structural health monitoring, array imaging, laser based ultrasound, guided waves, nonlinear methods and tomography. NDE draws on a wide range of techniques, some of which are mature technology (e.g. pulse-echo inspection) and others which are emerging (e.g. nonlinear ultrasound). The aim of NDE research is typically to find and understand new techniques and enable the existing techniques to perform better. In parallel with this technique development is the development of new approaches to new materials and structures i.e. as materials advance, so does NDE.
There are a number of existing networks relevant to NDE which are: (i) the EPSRC funded Research Centre in NDE; (ii) British Institute of NDTs Technical Committee and various relevant Working Groups; (iii) Institute of Physics (IoP) Physical Acoustics Group; (iv) French research group in Acoustics and Mathematics (GDR META). The first two are entirely NDE focused whereas the latter two include aspects of NDE.
In this SIG we will seek to develop activities that are complementary to the existing networks. The biggest gap is to better link NDE researchers to likeminded researchers in related fields. With this in mind SIG meetings will be organised that explore and deepen these links; for example bringing together NDE researchers with researchers in metamaterials could lead to new sensors technology relevant to NDE. A similar argument holds for links between this SIG and all the others SIGs. This makes sense as NDE is an application area, so it typically builds on new technologies developed in other fields.
The SIG-NDE will develop membership drawing from academia and industry. The membership will come from both early stage researchers and more established researchers. The intention is that the SIG-NDE membership will be representative of the current UK NDE community. This group will run cross SIG workshops and establish improved links between the NDE researchers and the rest of the acoustics community. These will be either held as separate events or through co-ordination with other NDE networks. The group will develop and establish a series of webinar events which will be open to anyone with interest in acoustic methods for NDE. The group will run other events such as brainstorming events, specific early stage researcher events. These are likely to be arranged in collaborations with other relevant SIGs and networks. These events will enable the group to identify NDE grand challenges and relate these challenges to the work and expertise within other SIGs. The group will compile lists of existing facilities, equipment, software, infrastructure and expertise.