We are currently actively involved in a number active projects and colaborations.
The Lab is an academic member of the UK Research Centre for NDE (RCNDE), a consortium of six UK Universities and 15 industrial members from around the world. This involves both Core Research, funded via EPSRC, and Targetted Research Programmes such as sub-MHz testing of structures (see below) which is performed with additional cash input from industrial partners. The core research for RCNDE3 is looking at novel techiques for the inspection of difficult materials using a range of new and novel techniques. For previous research projects (such as capacitive imaging, micromachining technologies etc) see the "Other Research" link above.
SUB-MHZ ULTRASONIC INSPECTION
This is an EPSRC-funded targeted research programme as part of the RCNDE collaboration, with industrial support from BAE Systems and Tenaris. The ultrasonic inspection of highly scattering/attenuating materials is still a large problem that needs to be addressed. In many cases, there are not many alternatives for inspection, in particular if portability and non-radiological methods are required. The particular materials in question – such as thermal insulation materials for refractory linings, insulation/coatings, and thick sections of composites – are industrially very important. This research is investigating new ways in which ultrasonic frequencies below 1 MHz can be applied to this problem, in the presnce of high degrees of attenuation and scattering.
SOUND BULLETS FOR ENHANCED BIOMEDICAL ULTRASOUND SYSTEMS
This EPSRC-funded programme aims to produce a new generation of ultrasonic devices using chainlike materials. These will lead to advances in diagnostic and theraputic biomedical ultrasound becasue of the resultant non-linear wave propagation and the potential productiion of sound bullets. This is being undertaken in collaboration with Dr Steven Freear at the the University of Leeds and Prof Nader Saffari at University College London, who are involved in biomedical imaging, drug delivery and therapeutic ultrasound (HIFU) applications.
We are working with several other international reseach groups on new types of metamaterials that are being developed to improve ultrasound imaging resolution. These include both channeled materials containing Fabry-Perot resonating elements, and phononic crystals using scattering effects. Research links with Dr Marco Ricci at the University of Perugia, Italy, and Dr John Page at the University of Manitoba, Canada are helping us to advance methods of design and manufacture of these new materials.