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Nondestructive Evaluation


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  image of combination of ultrasonic (top) and eddy current (bottom) imaging of a small, identical near-surface defect in a cladded material

Combining ultrasonic (top) and eddy current (bottom) imaging of a small, identical near-surface defect in a cladded material, SwRI greatly improves its overall probability of flaw detection.

Innovative ways to improve safety have been investigated and developed for more than 40 years at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI). In that time, new methods have been devised for nondestructive evaluation (NDE) of:

  • Materials

  • Components

  • Environments

To solve special problems for clients and sponsoring agencies, engineers and scientists explore nondestructive evaluation (NDE) methods such as:

General NDE Methods


  • Conventional ultrasonics

  • Magnetically induced velocity-change (MIVC) techniques

  • Ultrasonic imaging

  • Guided waves


  • Conventional eddy current

  • Remote field eddy current

  • Pulsed eddy current

  • Electric current perturbation

  • Computer modeling

  • Inspection reliability characterization

  • Quantitative characterization of NDE system performance

  • Probability of detection

  • Specialized procedure development

  • Barkhausen noise techniques

  • Nonlinear harmonics

  • Permeability measurements
      image of a close-up view of a 16  16 element array with details of individual coil pairs

    A flexible pipe inspection array was designed to map a 150-mm square area of a corroded surface. This image shows a close-up view of a 16 × 16 element array with details of individual coil pairs.

Magnetostrictive Sensor-Based Guided Waves

  • Torsional waves for pipes and tubes

  • Horizontally polarized shear waves for plates

  • Longitudinal waves for bridge cables

  • Probes for pipelines, bridge cables, heat exchangers and plates

Specialized NDE Systems

Specialized systems developed and used by SwRI for nondestructive evaluation include:

  • Enhanced data acquisition system (EDAS®)

  • Magnetostrictive sensor (MsS and MsSR)

  • Autogrid system

  • Graphitic corrosion detection

  • Cladding thickness measurement

  • Remote-field eddy current

Structure Evaluation

We offer extensive experience in nondestructive evaluation of a wide variety of structures including:

  • Pipelines

  • Heat exchangers

  • Electric transmission towers

  • Aircraft

  • Spacecraft

  • Nuclear power plants

  • Reactor pressure vessels

  • Gas turbines

  • Anchor rods

  • Piping welds

  • Bridges

  • Bolts

Quantitative Characterization of NDE System Performance

  • Flaw specimen design and fabrication

  • Procedure development and evaluation

  • Inspection reliability characterization

  • Computer-based simulation

  • Training

For more information about our nondestructive evaluation (NDE) capabilities, or how you can contract with SwRI, please contact Clinton J. Thwing, at or (210) 522-3989.


Contact Information

Clinton J. Thwing

Nondestructive Evaluation

(210) 522-3989

Related Terminology

automated ultrasonics



decision-support parameters


flaw characterization



nondestructive inspection

nondestructive testing

pipe wall thinning

reactor pressure vessel inspection

sensor research

steel pipe inspection

nondestructive evaluation

| Sensor Systems and Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) Technology Department | Mechanical Engineering Division | SwRI Home |

Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a multidisciplinary, independent, nonprofit, applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with 9 technical divisions.