Martin Mienczakowski

Our interviewee for this instalment of People in NDE is Martin Mienczakowski, a Research Assistant in NDE at the University of Bristol and Chair of the Full Matrix Capture (FMC) User Group at BINDT…

Briefly describe your current role in NDE.
I am a Research Assistant at the University of Bristol. My current research interests include full matrix capture*, optimisation of inspection parameters for carbon fibre composites and inspection optimisation using computer models.

What does a typical work day involve? Or is there no ‘typical day’?
There isn’t really a typical day for an academic researcher. Some days I will be researching a topic and on others I will be doing experiments in the lab or creating a computer model of predicted behaviour. It is important to make our research relevant and therefore I spend a lot of time working with industry to define requirements and feeding those back into the technologies we are developing.

Why did you choose NDE?
Like a lot of people, I didn’t set out to have a career in NDE and I happened upon it through work experience. I’m glad that I did though – it is the variation in the job and the technical challenge that keeps me interested.

What education/training route did you follow? What other roles/jobs have you had in the past?
I did a first degree in electronic engineering before doing a PhD in the ultrasonic inspection of composites. I spent some time in industry working in NDT and I also did a stint in project management before coming back to academia.

What would you consider to be your biggest achievements and challenges to date?
The work I conducted with Professors Richard Challis and Robert Smith during my PhD to understand the interaction between ultrasound and carbon fibre composites was probably the most challenging but ultimately the most rewarding. This work forms the basis of a lot of the methods for 3D characterisation we are working on today.

Do you have any interesting NDE stories to tell? Any career highlights?
The work that I’m involved in at the moment to increase the uptake of full matrix capture, which is led by the user group at BINDT, is particularly exciting, but we have a long way to go yet!

What changes, if any, do you foresee for NDE in the future?
Much more automation, particularly in the detection and sentencing of components. It could be that in the future this process is largely computer and model driven.

NDE is rarely considered a ‘hot topic’ and does not receive much media attention – what do you think about this?
I think NDE is rarely a hot topic because on the whole it works well and is carried out pretty efficiently, hence for most people it is pretty invisible. So, in a sense, that is quite a good thing, however it makes it harder to make the case for the value of NDE in a process.

How would you describe NDE/NDT to someone who knows little or nothing about it?
The science of seeing inside things without taking them to bits.

What is your favourite NDE technique and why? If you could inspect any structure/component, what would it be?

The focus of my work is full matrix capture with ultrasonic arrays and it is my favourite because of the sheer quantity of different imaging techniques you can produce from a single dataset. If I could inspect anything it would probably be part of the International Space Station, but only if I could go into space to do it!

What is your involvement with BINDT?
I am Chair of the Full Matrix Capture (FMC) User Group, Vice Chair of the Aerospace Group, a member of the Composites Group and a co-opted member of the NDT Technical Committee.

*Full matrix capture (FMC) is when an array is used without beam forming and an A-scan for every transmit and receive element combination is captured. So, for an array with X elements, X*X A-scans are saved. These can be post-processed later to obtain different images, so it is a very flexible approach.

Please get in touch if you have any recommendations for future interviewees or would like to be interviewed yourself. Contact the editor at or email Maria Felice direct at

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