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Infrastructure Technology Institute

ITI Hosts Training for Acoustic Emission Technology


Prof. Richard Nordstrom of Portland State University gave several live demonstrations of acoustic emission tests during his two-day short course.

In September of 2008, the ITI Research Engineering Group hosted a short course in acoustic emission (AE) technology to provide the most current training to experienced users, and an introduction to engineers with interest but no previous experience.

AE is a naturally occurring phenomenon whereby a material under stress produces sounds. These sounds, though usually imperceptible to a human ear, can be observed with the use of special equipment; furthermore the location and intensity of these sounds can be used to measure degradation in a material. This technology, though under continuing development, has already proven useful across many engineering disciplines. AE can be used to measure the performance of medical implants, the integrity of pressure vessels, the health of steel bridges, the condition of wind turbines, or the strength of new materials.

Professor Richard Nordstrom of Portland State University, an expert in AE technology and practice, conducted lectures and tutorials on basic AE principles, then provided hands-on demonstrations and lessons using the equipment in the ITI laboratory. Students were encouraged to ask questions about their specific applications of AE technology.

The two-day short course was attended by members of the ITI team, graduate and undergraduate students in civil engineering and materials science, and a few members of private engineering firms. The course was well-received and will likely be offered
again in 2010.