Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) is an interdisciplinary field of study which is concerned with the development of analysis techniques and measurement technologies for the quantitative characterization of materials, tissues and structures by noninvasive means. Ultrasonic, radiographic, thermographic, electromagnetic, and optic methods are employed to probe interior microstructure and characterize subsurface features. Applications are in non-invasive medical diagnosis, intelligent robotics, security screening, and on-line manufacturing process control, as well as the traditional NDE areas of flaw detection, structural health monitoring, and materials characterization.
The focus of our work is to implement new and better measurements with both novel instrumentation and embedded artificial intelligence that automates the interpretation of the various (and multiple) imaging data streams. Thus, at W&M the term nondestructive evaluation is taken to mean many seemingly different things for which this is the underlying theme. Each student’s research typically has application to several seemingly quite different areas, in order to gain meaningful experience in multiple industries. Our graduates have gone on to work in a wide variety of jobs, and many of our research projects are done in close collaboration with our former students.
Students with undergraduate backgrounds in physics, applied mathematics and/or engineering are usually prepared for graduate study in NDE. Specialized NDE graduate courses in the Applied Science Dept. at William and Mary include Quantitative Nondestructive Evaluation I and II (APSC 722 and APSC 723), Acoustic Wave Propagation in Solids (APSC 776), and Acoustic and EM Scattering (APSC 785). Familiarity will be gained with advanced technology for measurements such as laser-based ultrasonics, infra-red imaging, acoustic microscopy, microwave and eddy-current imaging, x-ray and ultrasound tomography, and many others. Analytic and computational modeling skills will also be developed. Graduates of the program can expect to utilize their skills in the whole range of academic, government and industrial research and development positions.
Prospective students are encouraged to contact Professor Mark Hinders directly via email with any questions about the graduate program in NDE. Click here for a video walk-around of the NDE Lab, and here for a Gates Foundation project, and here for some robotics work, and here for some of our dental ultrasound work, and finally here for lots of W&M videos. Adjunct Professors in Applied Science who do NDE with a particular focus on aerospace applications include Dr. Bill Winfree and Dr. Eric Madaras at nearby NASA Langley.