The overall vision for the CDT and the related UK Research Centre in NDE is to develop step-change NDE technology to meet new engineering challenges identified by some of the most important industrial growth sectors in the UK economy, by exploiting a powerful range of world leading multi-disciplinary research capabilities.

Three new research themes have been identified for the CDT which emerge from what is increasingly termed the 4th industrial revolution (IR4 or Industry 4.0) in which the digital world and physical world of advanced manufacturing are seamlessly fused together. In NDE this revolution will precipitate changes  such as fusion of data from multiple technologies, the increased use of robotic platforms for automated inspection, pervasive digital sensing networks and automated analysis of large amounts of data.

The research priorities have been developed through a process to map out a 5, 10 and 20 year vision for NDE research undertaken by the RCNDE industrial partners (P. Thayer, Enabling 4IR and the role of NDE and monitoring, Insight, 59, 2017)

Research projects will span the range of topics indicated in the diagram below.

Future NDE technologies
  • Coping with complexity – of materials and geometry.
  • High sensitivity with full volumetric mapping.
  • Real-time data processing and assisted decision making.
  • Digital twin capability – performance modelling based on NDE.
Future infrastructure NDE
  • Long-life, reliable permanent sensors and networks.
  • Much closer relationship between NDE and monitoring.
  • Universal remote delivery platforms – eg crawlers, UAVs.
  • Fully instrumented plant systems of km scales.
Future manufacturing NDE
  • In-line inspection of 3D printed components.
  • In-process NDE predicting post-manufacture performance.
  • Inspection processes not impacting on cycle times/rates.
  • Design for inspection concepts implemented.
  • Use of emerging power scavenging technologies.

Examples of previous projects