UK Research Centre in Nondestructive Evaluation

21st century industry faces ever more challenging requirements to achieve greater integrity and safety performance, and adopt new materials and designs. Novel NDE technologies are often crucial to making this possible.

RCNDE is an EPSRC-sponsored collaboration between industry and academia to coordinate research into NDE technologies, and to ensure research topics are relevant to the medium to longer-term needs of industry. RCNDE continues to be founded on the guiding principles of world-class scientific research and industrial application. RCNDE's vision is to see NDE transform into a fully integrated part of the engineering life cycle. RCNDE will progressively link up with other disciplines, particularly structural integrity, materials science and engineering design.

The NDE industry urgently needs new technology, new interdisciplinary alliances and new people to meet its targets. The ability of RCNDE to bridge gaps between communities and train engineers is vital to long term industrial and academic success. RCNDE therefore has a wide portfolio of activities from longer-term, higher risk adventurous research, through medium-term application research and short-term practical developments to technology transfer activities. The Management Board will ensure our research is exploited, and RCNDE will seek to collaborate with all parts of industry to facilitate this in a timely and cost-effective manner.

The research groups encompass a broad range of technical disciplines, and additional academic collaborations ensure gaps in technology and expertise are filled. Industrial membership is open to all organisations, and is primarily intended for industries in which NDE plays an important role for:

  • ensuring the safety of structures, machinery and infrastructure
  • minimising environmental risks and impacts of process plant & operations
  • enhancing the reliability of components, equipment, systems & products

The NDE supply chain is a vital element for successfully transferring technological advances arising from university research to their eventual practical application in industry. The Centre involves all parts of the NDE supply chain through Associate memerbship, particularly SMEs and larger organisations offering training, consultancy, field services and hardware.


Vision and Objectives

The UK Research Centre in NDE links university research with industrial NDE users to create a world-leading centre of excellence in NDE research. It combines innovative science with industrial applicability, with three overarching objectives:

Excellence in exploitable research, building on world-class research, developing new research themes to meet industrial needs, developing overseas relationships, building a critical mass team of interacting scientists and engineers.

Industrial benefit at low cost, directing research at industry's problems, promoting technology transfer from research to application, providing resources for problem solving.

Raising quality of industrial NDE, training highly educated engineer recruits and refreshing the industrial skill base through exchange and networking.

RCNDE has recently added significant new objectives including:-

  • Develop the next generation of defect sizing methods required for increasingly stringent structural integrity assessments
  • Exploit scientific advances made in other areas to introduce innovative technology into NDE
  • Develop novel strategies for permanently installed systems to meet the growing demand for structural health monitoring
  • Strengthen links between NDE and mathematics, materials, engineering design, structural integrity & condition monitoring
  • Broaden industrial and academic involvement to include other sectors such as civil engineering


Centre Management

The Centre is run by a Director, Keith Newton, who has an extensive track record of managing industrial R&D programmes. He has worked for a number of major sectors of industry that depend upon NDE technology. The Director has oversight of and responsibility for all Centre activities, technical programmes and industrial liaison. The financial and commercial support for RCNDE is handled by the NDE Research Association (NDEvR) of which Peter Thayer is the Director. NDEvR also represents industry in a Strategic Partnership with EPSRC

The Director reports to a Management Board comprising all full industrial and university members and EPSRC. The Board has ultimate responsibility for all policy and strategic issues, as well as approving and directing the Centre's activities. The Centre undertakes to ensure effective communication between the researchers and industry, both informally and formally via the Board.

Images by kind permission of Airbus, Shell, Rolls-Royce and BNFL.