University: University of Strathclyde. Supervisor: Gordon Dobie. Sponsor: Eddify UK. Contact: gordon.dobie@strath.ac.uk Start date: October 2019

Faster large area coverage for NDE in a non-intrusive manner has been identified as a priority for the future of NDE, with deployment in hostile environments or those with difficult access being of particular interest. While robotic manoeuvring and absolute positioning are intrinsically related to the NDE problem there are two key criteria that need to be addressed.  The first is to correctly locate defects and their corresponding severity so an appropriate maintenance strategy can be applied at a later date.  The second is to ensure that no accessible region of the inspection site is missed. The difficulty of this task is increased when such systems need to be portable for in-field deployment in the Oil/Gas industry on large structures such as pipes, vessels and storage tanks. 

This EngD would focus on automatically locating an agile, magnetic adhesion based robotic unit and its associated NDE measurement in ‘real-time’ with millimetre accuracy.  In addition, interpreting NDE data (such as from weld regions) and differentiating defects from sample geometry will provide the robot with ‘context awareness’ and an ability for data classification.  To date, CUE/Eddyfi UK has considered automated data capture and automated data analysis as separate activities, this EngD would look to combine the technologies to deliver a closed-loop robotic NDE system. 

The student will be based at the Centre for Ultrasonic Engineering before relocating to the Eddyfi UK offices in Swansea. The post is supported by a bursary and fees (UK/EU student rate) provided by EPSRC, together with a generous top up by the sponsor company in excess of £20,000pa, tax free.