What is NDE?

Rolls Royce engine UT

Routine service inspection, using an ultrasonic array, being carried out on a Rolls-Royce aero engine

Non-destructive Evaluation employs sensor and imaging technology to assess the condition of components, plant and engineering structures of all kinds during manufacture and in-service. This key technology area underpins the safe and sustainable future of a broad cross-section of UK industry including power generation, oil & gas, aerospace, defence and high value manufacturing.

NDE involves a wide range of technologies ranging from relatively simple visual techniques to advanced imaging with ultrasonic, electromagnetic and radiographic methods. There have been significant advances in NDE technology in recent years – including major contributions from RCNDE and previous research engineers within the CDT. However radical new approaches to NDE will be needed to provide the inspection and quality control capabilities needed to meet the future ambitions of UK industry. These capabilities will range from the inspection and validation of complex new materials used in manufacture, eg aerospace and power applications, through to inspection in hazardous and remote locations such as for deep water oil exploration.

Super res 2 hairs comparison

Example of novel image processing capabilities –  ultrasonic image of two human hairs separated by a distance less than half of the sound wavelength, (a) shows a conventional image and (b) a super-resolution image distinguishing the two hairs.

3D x-ray tomography video sequence showing the internal structure of an aeroengine turbine blade (Courtesy Rolls-Royce)