NDT/NDE awareness of new materials

At a recent meeting of The Sir Henry Royce Materials Institute there was a discussion on the advent of new materials and the development of existing materials, which is very much to be expected as they are ‘a world-leading facility for discovery and translation of new materials’.

Our profession did get a mention on a couple of slides via an aerospace involvement under the NDE banner.

One of the new materials mentioned was graphene and the global market for it is reported to have reached $9 million by 2014, with most sales in the semiconductor, electronics, battery energy and composites industries. Graphene is the strongest material ever tested, with an intrinsic tensile strength of 130 GPa and a Young’s modulus (stiffness) of 1 TPa. For example, a 1 m2 graphene hammock would support a 4 kg cat but would weigh only as much as one of the cat’s whiskers, approximately 0.77 mg. How are we going to carry out NDT/NDE on this material – not the hammock or cat but the graphene and the components made from it?

Another element that was frequently mentioned was titanium and the ongoing research on how to extract it more efficiently from its natural state and then how to use it, typically as an alloying addition to other metallic materials. Again, are we NDT/NDE aware of this material and its alloys? I would say much more so than with graphene, as titanium is used more often, especially in the aerospace sector.


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