On March 19th, the IEEE Reliability Society Denver Section held its first meeting of the year in Westminster, CO, jointly with the Denver Section of the Society for Manufacturing Engineers (SME). Lively, informal technical discussion over dinner continued into the technical presentation by Yiming Deng, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at CU-Denver and Anschutz Medical Campus.
IEEE RS and SME have a lot in common, so the discussions centered around many current, overlapping concerns including solar power generation, power systems design, IEEE Greentech Conference, airline maintenance, and many other engineering related topics. At least one of the 12 attendees was both a member of SME and IEEE.
Yiming Deng, who is also the Director of LIIP at CU-Denver, presented some interesting details about his research and the many facets of work he accomplishes with his many graduate students. After explaining his background, the university resources available, and the basic concepts behind the topic, he proceeded to cover some of the cutting edge work he pursues.
- Advanced Electro-Magnetic Imaging is useful for Nondestructive Evaluation, and Structural Health Monitoring, both key concepts within the energetic topic of Prognostics and Health Management (PHM).
- Electromagnetic Nondestructive Evaluation involves magnetic sensors which must be calibrated carefully, and studied, usually with mathematical models, to assure a high probability of detection. I found it interesting to learn that while the operator is good at recognizing large features that are indications of problems, the software is better at identifying smaller features, so a combination of the two works best.
- Sensors are optimized using a forward model. Because modeling can bring a much larger variety of test conditions and image features, engineers can optimize the sensor array size, configuration, lift off, operation frequency, and more to make sure the sensors are most sensitive. The trick is to avoid type I and type II errors in a way to reduce overall costs.
- Yiming and his students are working on a novel use of microwave imaging called near field scanning microwave imaging (NFMW). Because of the near field application, the resolution is not determined by the wavelength, which is too large to be useful, but rather determined by the aperture size, which can be easily controlled.
- His team is also looking at a hybrid approach, combining microwave and ultrasound to gain the best of both methods.
The applications in this work to both reliability and manufacturing are both amazing, and nearly endless. PHM is well known to bring advantages to reliability by proactively identifying problems before they occur. And as a nondestructive evaluation technique, these methods can be applied to inspection points on the manufacturing line to find defects before shipment in some cases, and in re-manufacturing plants to assess the rehabilitation and repair necessary to make a product or system as good as new.
If you’re disappointed that you missed this talk, be sure not to miss the next one, tentatively scheduled for early May, with details to be given here.