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Unit information: Imaging for mechanics and non-destructive evaluation of composite structures in 2021/22

Unit name Imaging for mechanics and non-destructive evaluation of composite structures
Unit code AENGM0077
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Barton
Open unit status Not open

A basic understanding of mechanics is required up to level 6. Some experience with a high-level programming language, such as Matlab/Python would be desirable but not essential.



School/department Department of Aerospace Engineering
Faculty Faculty of Engineering

Description including Unit Aims

Imaging techniques are being used in a wide range of industrial applications to assess the mechanical behaviour of engineering structures and systems. Digitised images are now the basis of many destructive and non-destructive evaluation processes. The techniques are being used to replace and augment traditional measurements such as those obtained from strain gauges. The advantages are that images can capture a large area and can produce maps of strain and deformation in a similar format to that obtained with computer simulations such as Finite Element Analysis. The measurements can be obtained rapidly and from the system in operation, often revealing inaccuracy in the simulations. The techniques can be deployed in service giving a new perspective to non-destructive evaluations. Although the techniques can be employed on a variety of materials the focus is on application to fibre reinforced polymer composites. The imaging techniques described are being used for validation and assurance in industries such as automotive, energy and aerospace, helping reduce material usage by producing more efficient and sustainable designs.

The aims of units are to:

  • Provide an in-depth understanding of imaging approaches used in mechanics and non-destructive evaluation as applied to composite materials and structures.
  • Introduce students to mechanical testing procedures and the application of point measurement techniques such as electrical resistance strain gauges.
  • Provide a detailed knowledge of current non-destructive evaluation approaches, to include X-ray computed tomography and other X-ray techniques, ultrasound, thermography, eddy current and shearography.
  • Provide a detailed knowledge of modern full field imaging techniques in mechanics such as Thermoelastic Stress Analysis (TSA) and Digital Image Correlation (DIC).
  • Understand how the data from experimental techniques are manipulated for analysis purposes, and how to integrate and fuse the data to use in applications such as validating numerical models.

Intended Learning Outcomes

  1. Be able to apply testing procedures, non-destructive evaluation techniques and full-field imaging to composite structures and components.
  2. Be able to devise bespoke analysis tools to synthesise and fuse data using high level languages such as Python and Matlab.
  3. Report, present and communicate experimental results from complex components.

Teaching Information

The module will be taught online – recorded lectures will be available throughout the teaching block, with one online live lecture per week. There will be 3-days of laboratory classes and hands on experience with software.

Assessment Information

The summative assessment (100%) will comprise a technical report on a detailed analysis of a composite component using the techniques presented in unit. The assessment will include data manipulation, analysis and validation. The report will cover all the learning outcomes.

4 short formative assessments in the form of Blackboard quizzes will provide instant feedback on understanding. Discussions in the live online lectures and laboratory classes will provide informal feedback.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. AENGM0077).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.