CNDE Student Spotlight: Anna Case

Name:  Anna Case

Research areas of interest:  Microwave and millimeter wave materials characterization

Anna Case

Who or what inspired you to pursue your studies in NDE?  As a sophomore in electrical engineering, I was hired by Dr. Zoughi to work in the Applied Microwave Nondestructive Testing Lab.  At the time, I was happy to have the opportunity but didn’t know if it would lead to a career.  Several years later, I can say that everyone I work with, including my mentor, David Moore from Sandia National Labs, has continued to encourage me to stay in the field.

Briefly describe something you have learned or discovered during your time at CNDE that surprised you.  What surprised me the most about coming to CNDE was the difference in work as an undergraduate and as a graduate research assistant.  As an undergraduate student, you are given very specific tasks to accomplish, while as a graduate student, you have more open-ended questions to answer.  It’s important to continue to state the tasks you perform so that you know what you have done – even if it doesn’t always answer the question at first.

What are your future career plans?  I am joining the NDE team at Sandia National Labs in Albuquerque, NM.  I hope to expand my NDE experience with CT, ET, and UT.  I plan to stay involved with the American Society of Nondestructive Testing (ASNT) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Anna is the recipient of the O.D. & O.U. Trapp Graduate Fellowship through CNDE.

CNDE Director, Reza Zoughi is the recipient of the 2023 ASNT Lester/Mehl Honor Lecture

CNDE Director, Dr. Reza Zoughi is the recipient of the 2023 American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT) Lester/Mehl Honor Lecture.  The purpose of the Lester/Mehl Honor Lecture is “to recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the science of nondestructive testing. Such contributions may be made in the area of research, applications technology, management, education, equipment development, or other related areas. Nominees must have made outstanding contributions to the science of NDT. Such contributions may be in the area of research, applications, technology, management, education, equipment development, or other related areas.”

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CNDE GRA will present seminar for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory – Nondestructive Characterization Institute

Farzaneh Ahmadi, CNDE Graduate Research Assistant, will be presenting:

Farzaneh Ahmadi

Millimeter-Wave Near-Field Evaluations of Polylactic Acid Filament Used in Polymer-Based Additive Manufacturing

as part of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) – Nondestructive Characterization Institute (NCI) Seminar Series

August 17, 2023

1:00 pm (CST) 


ABSTRACT: Polymer-based additive manufacturing (AM) has found extensive application in various industries, including medical and aerospace, owing to its rapid and cost-effective process. Nevertheless, real-time monitoring of the printed parts continues to face challenges and issues. This study compares the effectiveness of three near-field millimeter wave probes – open-ended rectangular waveguide (OERW), dielectric-loaded waveguide (DLW), and extended dielectric-loaded waveguide (EDLW) – in detecting small voids and moisture absorption in polylactic acid (PLA) filaments commonly used in polymeric AM. Dielectric inserts serve as a field concentration tool, potentially improving the spatial resolution of the probes. Numerical electromagnetic simulations were performed at Ka-band (26.5-40 GHz) and V-band (50-75 GHz) using CST Studio Suite® to detect small hemispherical voids and moisture absorption in the feedstock, respectively, followed by experimental validation. The results of the study indicated that, at V-band (50-75 GHz), the spatial resolution of the standard OERW probe was deemed sufficient for detecting small surface voids in stock PLA filaments. In terms of moisture detection, the EDLW probe at Ka-band (26.5-40 GHz), exhibited the highest sensitivity, when loaded with a material possessing a dielectric constant similar to that of the inspected filament.

BIO: Farzaneh Ahmadi received her B.S. degrees in electrical engineering from Shahid Rajaee University (Tehran, Iran) in 2010 and her M.S. degree in electrical engineering from Tarbiat Modares University (Tehran, Iran) in 2012. She is currently working towards her Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECpE) at Iowa State University (ISU). Her research at the ISU Center for Nondestructive Evaluation (CNDE) involves developing In-line nondestructive evaluation methods for 3D printed structures, especially polymers and metals. She is a recipient of CNDE R. B. Thompson Fellowship, the 2023 American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT) Student Travel Grant Award, and the 2022 ASNT Best Student Paper Award (2nd place).

ASNT 2023 Outstanding Paper authored by CNDE staff

Congratulations Pete Collins (CNDE, Materials Science and Engineering), Maria Jose Quintana (Materials Science and Engineering), and Yuan Ji!  Their paper, “A Perspective Of The Needs And Opportunities For Coupling Materials Science And Nondestructive Evaluation For Metals-Based Additive Manufacturing” was selected by ASNT as the 2023 Outstanding Paper

This paper attempts to provide a bridge between two traditionally separated technical communities, namely the NDE and AM communities.  By providing a brief review of the state-of-the-art of relevant literature, it serves to give a foundation to understand what materials details need to be understood, what information methods may provide, and the possible research pathways going forward.

CNDE Student Spotlight: Trent Moritz

Name: Trent Moritz

Research areas of interest: Microwave and millimeter wave nondestructive testing and material characterization.

Anticipated graduation date: Spring 2026

Who or what inspired you to pursue studies in NDE? While taking Electromagnetics with Dr. Mani Mina, he told me about CNDE (which up to that point, I did not know existed) and that they were looking for undergraduate students to work in their labs.  After hearing a brief description of what they do, I found it interesting and asked Dr. Reza Zoughi if they were still looking for students.  Fortunately they were and very quickly after joining as an undergraduate research assistant in their labs, I found that I really enjoyed NDE and all the pieces that go into it. While there are many things along the way that led to me pursuing a PhD in NDE, it was mainly the people (Dr. Mina and everyone I have worked with at CNDE) that got me interested in the field and made me want to stick around.

One thing I have learned that surprised me: The biggest thing that surprised me is how little I knew in terms of practical knowledge in NDE coming out of my undergrad. I knew there was going to be somewhat of a learning curve, but I thought with my theory from courses I would be able to quickly figure things out. This was not the case. I have enjoyed the process of learning how to perform NDE and it is something I am still doing to this day.

Future career plans:  I would like to stay in the NDE field, but I am not sure where that will be.

Trent is the first CNDE-GRA recipient and also the recipient of the O.D. & O.U. Trapp Graduate Fellowship in CNDE.

Anna Case receives Best Graduate Presentation Award

Anna CaseAnna Case, a Ph.D. student in Electrical Engineering, was the recipient of the Best Graduate Presentation Award given by the Graduate Seminar Committee in the ECpE Department.

Her presentation was entitled: Millimeter Wave Thickness Evaluation of Thermal Barrier Coatings (TBCs) Using Open-Ended Waveguide Probes“. 

Anna received a certificate and $200 check.   



CNDE hosts Spring 2023 IAB Meeting

CNDE hosted the largest Spring 2023 Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) Meeting on April 17-19.

IAB members from ATI, Boeing, General Motors, Honeywell Aerospace, John Deere, NASA Langley Research Center, Naval Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), Northrop Grumman, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce, and USAF-AFRL-RXNW were in attendance, as well as invited guests from seven other industries.

Graduate students and faculty members from MSE and ECpE showcased their research projects on April 17.

On April 18, students were able to connect with our members and guests during the Pizza with Students event at the Student Innovation Center.

Thank you to all who were able to attend!

2023 State Science + Technology Fair of Iowa – March 30 & 31

CNDE participated in this years Iowa State University Extension and Outreach  2023 State Science + Technology Fair of Iowa on March 30 & 31. This 2-day fair was for students ranging from grades 6 – 12 and provided a space to showcase their research projects. Students got the chance to meet with professionals in all areas of science and technology.

We welcomed 15 students to our labs, who met with our researchers.  This was a great opportunity to introduce students to NDE at a young age.

Dan Barnard, Pulkit Kumar, and Mohamed Subair – UT lab tour
Thomas Chiou – Terahertz lab tour
Tayeb Al Qasser – Microwave lab tour
Zhan Zhang – X-Ray lab tour

CNDE also sponsored several cash prize awards for the top NDE related research projects. Two NDE Minor students graciously volunteered their time and judged these projects.

High School Winners: 

1st Place: Andrew Salrin  Project Title: Ventilation Prototype Utilizing Additive Manufacturing and Ionic Thrust Phase II

2nd Place: Judith Williams  Project Title: Implications of Grass Fiber Ratio of Paper on Mechanical Properties

3rd Place: Carter Hageman   Project Title: Impacts of Infill Density and Pattern Variations on Structural Integrity

Middle School Winners: 

1st Place: Diedrick Schnieders  Project Title: What 3D Printed Filament is the Strongest?

2nd Place: Logan Brown  Project Title: Is Your Concrete REALLY Concrete?

3rd Place: Carson Morrison & Brett Cook   Project Title: The Physics of Golf Balls

ASNT hosts student dinner to promote NDE opportunities at Iowa State

On February 24, the Iowa Section of ASNT hosted a dinner for engineering students on campus. Twenty-five students were in attendance that included undergraduate and graduate students from both Electrical and Mechanical Engineering. They enjoyed free pizza and raffle prizes, while learning about the NDE opportunities available at Iowa State University.

Dr. David Eisenmann, NDE Minor Coordinator, discusses the Undergraduate NDE Minor program with students.

NDE Minor

Dr. Steve Holland presented an overview of the NDE Online Graduate Certificate available to students.

Online Graduate Certificate

CNDE sponsored event led to NDE minor student’s new career

CNDE hosts their Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) meeting twice a year, over three days.  During each meeting, CNDE sponsors an event, Pizza with Students, where students get the opportunity to engage with our members in an informal setting.  They hear about what each industry has to offer and could even lead to the success one NDE Minor student, Tyler Hall, had this past October.  He shared his experience with us below:

“When Professor Wendt announced to the class that there would be a CNDE sponsored event, I was on the fence about whether I would attend or not. I was looking forward to taking my girlfriend out to dinner that evening, but this ‘free pizza event’ seemed like something I wanted to attend. Ultimately, I decided to step out of my comfort zone, get some free pizza and talk to at least one employer. At the time, I had no idea that I was making a life-changing decision. Upon arrival at the event, I found a seat and met some students that were also taking classes for the NDE minor. It was refreshing to be in a room full of students and professionals in the NDE community because about 90% of the time, people don’t know what I’m talking about when I tell them that I’m pursuing a minor in NDE. I enjoyed listening to representatives from companies such as Boeing, Pratt & Whitney, John Deere, Delta Airlines, and NASA talk about their companies and their application of NDE to their industry.

There was one company that I had never heard of before, ATI, that caught my attention. When David, a metallurgical engineer at ATI, spoke about the company, I was shocked that I had never heard of this company before. ATI produces titanium and nickel alloys and components for aerospace and defense. This was right up my alley as a materials engineer specializing in metals. After grabbing a slice of pizza, I introduced myself to David and asked him more about what he does as a metallurgical engineer. We talked for a few minutes, and I became enthralled with what ATI does. They do everything from producing specialty alloys component manufacturing to nondestructive inspection. At some point during the conversation, I expressed my interest in moving out west, and David introduced me to his colleague, Todd. Todd is a level III nondestructive inspector at the Albany, Oregon, location. The three of us chatted briefly and they told me they were hiring for their Early Career Leadership Program (ECLP). I loved the idea of traveling around the country and exploring different career paths as an engineer at ATI. I thanked them for the information, and they gave me their business cards in case I had any other questions.

That night, I applied for the ECLP program. To my surprise, I got a call back from their talent acquisition team the next day! After making it through a virtual interview (by the way, they saw a ton of value in the NDE minor), I went for an on-site interview in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and I got to tour their forged products facility where they produce helicopter rotors, jet engine discs, and armored roof hatches for tanks. I knew after seeing this facility that I had found my dream job. I was elated to get the job offer and was so glad I decided to attend the event. Although I had to postpone our dinner date, the career opportunity resulting from that small sacrifice was well worth it!

I want to thank everyone involved with organizing the CNDE sponsored event and providing an opportunity for students like myself to network with professionals in the NDE community. I’d also like to thank Scott Wendt for encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone and attend the event. I wouldn’t have known about such an opportunity without him spreading awareness. This informal event is a great environment for students in the NDE minor to chat with professionals, ask questions, learn about how NDE fits into industry, and seek career opportunities. I hope many more students will take advantage of this great networking opportunity. You never know; you might make a connection that will open the door to your future.”

The next Pizza with Students event will be held on Tuesday, April 18, 2023 at 5:30pm – Student Innovation Center, Room 2221

Katelyn Brinker awarded her Ph.D. degree and receives the Research Excellence Award in the ECpE Department

Katelyn Brinker, a Ph.D. candidate in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department was awarded her Ph.D. degree during the December 2022 commencement ceremonyDr. Brinker defended her dissertation entitled “Chipless RFID Tag Design, Measurement, and Sensing for Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) Applications” in November 2022.  Her dissertation was recently published.

Dr. Brinker was also the recipient of the Research Excellence Award in the ECpE Department.

“The purpose of these awards is to recognize graduate students for outstanding research accomplishments as documented in their theses and dissertations. These students are also expected to be academically superior and able not only to do research, but also to develop a well written product. The intent of this program is to recognize “the best of the best” graduating students who have submitted theses and dissertations.” Research Excellence Award

For the nomination package, she provided two sample works to demonstrate the creativity and impact of her research: “Application-Adaptable Chipless RFID Tag: Design Methodology, Metrics, and Measurements” and “Corner Reflector Based Misalignment-Tolerant Chipless RFID Tag Design Methodology.

Dr. Brinker has begun her career as a Senior NDE Engineer at Pratt & Whitney, currently focusing on developing eddy current inspections.



Trent Moritz awarded CNDE Graduate Research Assistantship

Congratulations to Trent Moritz, the first CNDE-GRA recipient!  This prestigious award, recognizes our best graduate students at ISU who are pursuing a Ph.D. degree in an area directly related to NDE and who perform their research at CNDE.   The CNDE-GRA appointment will provide him up to three years of support (stipend, fringe benefits, tuition, and additional supplementary funds).


Details of the CNDE-GRA, for students interested in pursuing.