When we think of people who keep us safe, certain professions come quickly to mind - doctors, nurses, police, mountain rescue, and lifeboat and fire rescue services. It is less obvious to include an engineer as part of that group.
Many lifesaving professionals deal directly with the public and are easily recognised by their distinct uniforms. Engineers on the other hand, deal more with the integrity of a product, not people and so the relationship between the engineer and saving lives is less obvious.
Virtually all aspects of our daily life depend upon us using products which have been inspected by Non-Destructive Testing engineers and, so long as they do not fail, you would not even notice - cars, buses, bicycles, trains, trams, aeroplanes, bridges, buildings, theme park rides, towers, ships, submarines, space ships, pylons, wind turbines, power stations, oil rigs, pipelines - you name it, it is likely that a Non-Destructive Testing engineer has tested it.
The methods used by these engineers are based on applied physics and through their application Non-Destructive Testing becomes 'The Science of Safety'. We use magnetism, dyes, ultrasound, radiation, acoustics, lasers, thermography, visual tests, electromagnetism and imaging. We have to be familiar with the physics associated with each method. We need to be knowledgeable about the product, be it metal, composite, weld, cast or wrought. It is important for us to know the likely flaws and where the stresses will be placed which could lead to failure.
In terms of safety we may hold many lives in our hands with each product that we test.
It is now time to elevate our profession to where the NDT engineer is right alongside the other life savers and to be proud of our role in the manufactured world.
Lavender International is creating a new generation of engineers who are as enthused with the nature of Non-Destructive Testing as we are. Let us, as NDT engineers stand alongside the other lifesaving professions and be proud of our role within the Science of Safety.
Methods of Applied Physics
Some Industry Sectors using Applied Physics