CNDE Featured Researcher: Mingyang Lu

Name: Mingyang Lu

How long have you been at CNDE?  I began at CNDE in April 2023.

Area(s) of expertise:  Electromagnetic eddy current experiments and computational modeling.

Who or what inspired you to pursue your career in NDE?  I had an interest in electromagnetics as an undergraduate (before 2014) electrical and electronic major at the University of Manchester (#27 in QS World University Rankings) in the UK. During the last semester of my undergraduate, I joined a project from the Sensing Imaging and Signal Processing Group for the sensing-based dynamic control of robot carts. I heard one day that the Electromagnetic Sensing Group has actively engaged with industries, sustainably raised substantial funding from the British government, and in partnership with the internationally leading Research Centre for Nondestructive Evaluation (RCNDE) and industries. I came to join the Electromagnetic Sensing group in 2014 and completed my PhD in 2018.

In 2018, I worked as a postdoctoral researcher with the Electromagnetic Sensing Group, collaborating on projects with industry leaders like Frenk Van Den Berg from Tata Steel and Axel Rimnac from Primetals Technologies. Our work aims to address industrial challenges, such as electromagnetic eddy current inspection in Additive Manufacturing (AM): Electromagnetic non-destructive testing for inspecting the microstructure of high-performance ferritic steels and Advanced electromagnetic Sensors for Assessing Property scatter in high-value steels.

Before joining the CNDE, I authored around 60 publications in electromagnetic eddy current sensing and presented at prestigious conferences such as those organized by the British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing (BINDT), the European Federation for Non-Destructive Testing (ECNDT), and IEEE. Now, I feel very honored to be one of the CNDE researchers, and I believe CNDE is one of the best in the world.

Briefly describe one of your technical contributions to the NDE field.  One of the technical highlights that comes to my mind is my recent work in the CNDE, under the IAB-funded project targeting a building of high-precision eddy current inspection system. This work pioneered an automatic inspection design, in which a fast and precious dynamic control of sensor scanning coordinates is assured by leveraging the robot arm or linear steppers with instrumentations. This development facilitates the eddy current NDE inspection with an enhanced signal-to-noise ratio and versatile capabilities, especially for the imaging of small defects (less than 20 microns) or detection of subsurface defects underneath coatings.

What advice would you give a researcher just starting out in the NDE field?  Focus on deeply understanding core concepts, avoiding rushing into superficial approaches. Allocate ample time for thorough analysis, drawing insights from first principles. Seek supportive work environments like CNDE, fostering collaboration and innovation. Stay updated on the latest advancements through literature, conferences, and networking. Embrace continuous learning for long-term success and impactful contributions to the field.

CNDE – Spring 2024 IAB Meeting

CNDE hosted its Spring 2024 Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) Meeting on April 15-17.

CNDE researchers presented updates on five research projects that started in August 2023.  Board members reviewed the project presentations and gave feedback on each project.

Also presented were nine proposals from CNDE researchers on various topics selected by our members for potential funding.

J.T. (Toby) Case for The Aerospace Corporation presented the post-IAB seminar on “Portable Open-Configuration Computed Tomography.”

IAB members from ASNT, ATI, Boeing, Cummins, GE Aerospace, General Motors, Honeywell Aerospace, IHI Corporation, John Deere, NASA Langley, Naval Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), Northrop Grumman, Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce, and the US Air Force were in attendance, as were five invited guests from other industries.

The careers of five CNDE scientists and staff members were celebrated during the IAB Meeting on April 15.

From left: Dave Utrata – 30 years, Ron Roberts – 35 years, Cheryl Sansgaard – 45 years, Scott Wendt – 30 years, and Dan Barnard – 28 years.

Graduate students and faculty members from ECpE, IMSE, and ME showcased their research projects on April 15.

On April 16, 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!


CNDE hosted lab tours during the 2024 State Science & Technology Fair of Iowa on April 4

CNDE participated in this year’s 2024 State Science & Technology Fair of Iowa on April 4 and 5.  This two-day fair, organized by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, was for students in grades 6 – 12 and provided a space to showcase their research projects.  Students also got the chance to meet with professionals in all areas of science and technology.

CNDE welcomed 16 students to visit our labs and meet with our researchers.  The tour topics included Terahertz, Ultrasonics, Microwave, Eddy Current, and X-ray Radiography.  This was a great opportunity to introduce students to NDE at a young age.

CNDE also sponsored several cash prize awards for top NDE-related research projects.  Two NDE Minor students graciously volunteered their time to judge these projects and accompany fair students on the CNDE tour.

Eddy Current Lab Tour


Microwave Lab Tour

Terahertz Lab Tour

Ultrasound Lab Tour

X-Ray Lab Tour

Group photo

ASNT Iowa Section hosts Technical Talk

The American Society of Nondestructive Testing (ASNT) Iowa section hosted a technical talk on Thursday, April 4th. Six members of the Ames Fire Department spoke about thermography applications in firefighting, including somewhat recent cases involving the detection of faulty wiring and the detection of corn syrup and propane leaks after a train derailment. Twenty students in attendance were able to use a FLIR camera with a refresh rate of 60 Hz, which one of the firefighters said was not fast enough to sweep through rooms quickly. Several students were awarded one-year ASNT student membership. As a thank you to the crew for their time, the ASNT officers awarded them a $100 pizza gift card.

Katie Brinker – IEEE HKN Event Speaker

Katie Brinker former CNDE graduate student, currently Senior Nondestructive Evaluation Engineer at Pratt & Whitney, will be speaking at the IEEE HKN event on the “Realities of a Research Engineer” panel. This panel is focused on making the transition from being a graduate student to working in industry and what it’s like to have an industry career.  The IEEE Instrumentation and Measurement Society will also have a panelist in the “Level Up – Leverage your IEEE Technical Society Membership to Advance your Career” panel.

Pathways to Industry is a 3-day online conference geared towards students and young professionals.  There are technical talks, professional development sessions, a recruitment fair (which includes both companies and graduate schools), and networking sessions.  The conference is open to everyone, not just HKN or IEEE members, and registration will open up at the start of the conference on February 21.

ASNT Iowa Section Hosts February Technical Talk at CNDE


On the afternoon of Thursday, February 1st the American Society of Nondestructive Testing (ASNT) Iowa Section hosted their first technical talk of the year.  Luke Titus, who holds a PhD in Theoretical Nuclear Physics from Michigan State University, gave a presentation on the use of Mathematica software for solving ordinary and partial differential equations.  The hybrid talk, which was mainly attended by engineering graduate students, was hosted at the Center for Nondestructive Evaluation (CNDE) with Mathematica pre-installed on computers so that audience members could follow along.  Iowa State University provides Mathematica to students free of charge.  After the presentation, attendees were also emailed the notebook files with examples used during the demonstration.

The next ASNT Iowa Section meeting will be held on Monday, March 4th more details to come!



Welcome ASNT to CNDE

The American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT) and the Center for Nondestructive Evaluation (CNDE) at Iowa State University (ISU) have long served the nondestructive testing and evaluation (NDT&E) community, providing services, leadership, training, and vital research to many member organizations. ASNT and CNDE also have a strong history of collaboration to further benefit the NDT&E community.  Building upon this history, and to further strengthen the relationship between the two organizations, we are excited to announce that ASNT is the newest organization to join CNDE and its member organizations. This new relationship promises to bring about significant benefits for the broader NDT&E community and these two organizations.  We welcome you following both organizations as we work together in the days and years ahead.

CNDE Featured Researcher: Ron Roberts

Name: Ron Roberts

How long have you been at CNDE?  I began at CNDE in August 1989.

Area(s) of expertise: Ultrasound experiments and computational modeling.Ron Roberts picture

Who or what inspired you to pursue your career in NDE?  I had an interest in physical acoustics as an undergraduate physics major at Purdue University.  I heard in the cafeteria one day that the Air Force was substantially funding research in physical acoustics to transform ultrasound NDT into a science-based discipline.  I came to discover that Don Thompson, then at Ames Laboratory, was heading this Air Force program, and that the preeminent elastic wave theoretician in this program was Jan Achenbach at Northwestern University.  After completing my Ph.D. with Professor Achenbach, Don Thompson began an effort to convince me to come to Ames, and in 1989, after the establishment of CNDE, he succeeded.

Briefly describe one of your technical contributions to the NDE field.  A technical highlight of my career, and of CNDE in general, was the engineering of assured sensitivity inspection for jet engine materials, under the FAA-funded Engine Titanium Consortium.  This work pioneered model-based inspection design in which, given the noise scattering characteristics of a specific alloy microstructure, and the physical properties of the defect to be detected, a focused ultrasound inspection is engineered that assures detection of the defect.  This development represents the realization of the original Air Force goal, combining fundamental science-based understanding of ultrasound microstructure scattering, ultrasound scattering by defects, and the engineering of ultrasound transducers, to yield a specified defect signal-to-noise.  This activity was truly a team effort, calling on the broad technical expertise of numerous CNDE researchers.  My specific role addressed implementation of the engineered inspection using then-new phased array technology, for which phased array transducers were designed to generate a specified highly-focused ultrasound pulse throughout the inspection volume.

What advice would you give a researcher just starting out the NDE field?  Dig down to the fundamentals.  There is always time pressure to proceed superficially, using engineering principles you’ve been told, without fundamental understanding.  I advise taking the time to study in-depth, and derive it yourself from first principles.   There is peace of mind in truly understanding what you’re doing.  Of course, it helps if you work in an environment such as CNDE where this is appreciated, albeit perhaps often on your own time.

ASNT Iowa Section Hosts October Technical Talk at CNDE

The American Society of Nondestructive Testing (ASNT) Iowa section hosted a technical talk at the Center for Nondestructive Evaluation on the evening of Wednesday, October 18th. Gavin Dao,  Director of Business Development at AOS-NDT, discussed the adaptive total focusing method (ATFM) and other ultrasound techniques. A live demonstration followed the talk and students were able to move the probe and view real-time surface estimation and subsurface defects in an aluminum block.

Seventeen members and students were in attendance and one student was awarded a one-year student membership to ASNT as a raffle prize.

DemonstrationAttendees of the meeting




ASNT Iowa Section Technical Meeting – October 18th

American Society of Nondestructive Testing
Iowa Section
Technical Meeting

Learn about ultrasound (UT) for nondestructive testing and watch a demonstration of a phased array system using the adaptive total focusing method (TFM). Learn more ahead of time here:

Free food will be provided, and students can enter the raffle for a one-year ASNT student membership.


CNDE – Fall 2023 IAB Meeting

CNDE hosted its Fall 2023 Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) Meeting on October 2-4.

As usual, CNDE hosted a Pizza with Students event where our board members connected with students interested in working in the NDE community after graduation.

CNDE researchers presented updates on six research projects that started in August 2023.  Board members reviewed the project presentations and gave feedback on each project.

The Post-IAB Seminar was presented by John Aldrin (Computational Tools) where he spoke on “Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in NDT – A Perspective on Progress, Challenges, and Future Directions”.

IAB members from ATI, Boeing, Cummins, GE Aerospace, Honeywell Aerospace, John Deere, Naval Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), Pratt & Whitney, and Rolls-Royce were in attendance, as well as invited guests from three other industries.