We've Scanned It, Now What? Making NDT More Useful for Material Characterization

By: Isabel Morris, PhD

This presentation will cover a range of ongoing and new research projects generally focused on improving what information we can obtain from common nondestructive test methods (NDT) for structural and historical applications.  In both applications, accurate estimates of in situ material properties are an essential component of effective decision making, conservation, and maintenance efforts.  The standard approaches in these fields, such as core sampling, are invasive and not always possible, and the existing suite of NDT methods such as ultrasonic and rebound number offer discrete estimates but require both experience and time to be reliable.  In one project, we are working to develop a model that predicts the strength, density, and porosity of concrete samples from attributes of ground penetrating radar (GPR) data.  This model could offer spatially continuous estimates of physical properties for concrete structures based only on a completely noninvasive GPR scan of the structure.  Using these same attributes or features of the GPR scans can also illuminate subtle features in convoluted historical sites.  Illustrative examples, including medieval castles and archaeological sites, demonstrate the use of these features and a range of broader
applications.

Speaker Bio:

Isabel Morris is an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at New Mexico Tech.  She earned her PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Princeton University, where she received an NSF GRFP to use nondestructive geophysical techniques to characterize and diagnose concrete and historic structures. Her professional experience included serving as a Graduate Writing Fellow, running the summer Applied Geophysics and Advanced Geophysical Field Techniques workshops in Romania with ArchaeoTek, and working with STEM diversity and outreach initiatives.  At New Mexico Tech, her research program includes archaeological, structural, and environmental applications of ground penetrating radar and nondestructive testing.  This covers a number of different projects related to estimating in situ physical properties, such as compressive strength or density, in concrete, as well as some projects using autonomous systems to collect nondestructive surveys and analyses of historic structures.

Company Name: New Mexico Tech

Company Title: Assistant Professor

If you could have any superpower what would it be? Short-range time travel (hours)