JPL's NDEAA Technologies - NDE Activity Website

JPL's Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) Lab

The NDE and Advanced Actuators (NDEAA) Lab was established in May 1991 by Dr. Yoseph Bar-Cohen.
A view of the NDE section of the NDEAA Lab

The NDE section  of the
JPL's NDEAA Lab is involved with a wide range of technologies to support materials and structures
requirements from production through the various stages of service.  It supports the JPL Technology Affiliates Program by
offering U.S. industry a venue for collaborative research, development, and application in the characterization
of advanced materials.  Specific expertise in the following areas:

Nondestructive evaluation support
. Detection and characterization of defects
. Determination of material properties
. Sensors for in-process and in-service monitoring
. Characterization of actuator-sensor materials at controlled temperatures (including cryogenics)
. Robotic inspection

Materials and special topics
. Fiber-reinforced composites (polymeric, metallic, ceramic matrix)
. Adhesives
. Material degradation (corrosion, aging, fatigue)
. Cure monitoring
. Active materials (piezoelectric, electrostrictive, etc.)

The NDE facility also offers companies access to a wide range of interdisciplinary expertise and state-of-the-
art technology - supercomputing, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, sensors, etc.  This facility feature
ulrasonic instrumentation, sensor control, schlieren imaging, and active materials characterization setup - with
unique, state-of-the-art capabilities for the evaluation and qualification of flight hardware as well as
advanced materials and devices.  The system allows for the detection and characterization of defects in metals
and composite components.  It also allows for the determination of material propertiessuch as elastic
stiffness.  The system consists of the following elements:

Computer-contolled transmitters, receivers, and signal analyzers for a wide range of frequencies.

Portable ultrasonic instruments

AIT-5190 computer-controlled C-scan
. A 6ftx4ftx3ft immersion tank with squirter-coupling capability and removable ends for long parts
. 12-in.-diameter turntable
. Signal processing and image enhancement
. Contour following of complex shapes
. Leaky Lamb-wave (LLW) and polar-backscattering test

Real-time monitoring sensors
. Data acquisition and real-time monitoring in harsh conditions

Schlieren imaging system
. Inspection of transparent components
. Visualization of ultrasound

Active materials characterization
. High-vacuum, cryogenic temperature, computer-controlled setup
. Electrical, thermal and mechanical characterization of actuators (materials/devices) and sensors performance

A number of unique techniques have been developed by the JPL NDE Lab.  Examples include:
. Method of determining the elastic properties of composites and adhesives with only single-sided access
. Real-time monitoring of composite autoclave cure
. Multifunctional Automated Crawling System (MACS)

LLW setup

LLW image


A view of the data acquisition hardware allowing to measure obliquely insonified ultrasonic waves.

Lamb wave (LLW) C-scan image showing delaminations, Porosity and ply-gaps

Computer display of LLW dispersion data

1. NDE of composites and metallic structures

2. Multifunctional Automated Crawling System (MACS)-

PBS setup


Schematic view of the polar backscattering experiment

MACS unit crawling on a metallic cylindrical section simulating an aircraft structure

Return to the JPL's NDEAA Webhub

Last update August 12, 2001