Johns Hopkins Gazette: October 17, 1994

Hopkins Center Solves Plethora of Problems
By Ken Keatley

Bob Green is a problem solver.
    That is why, on an otherwise meticulous desk in his
Maryland Hall office on the Homewood campus, there are two
bags filled with problems waiting for solutions.           
    One, containing a black piece of composite, is from an
aircraft manufacturer seeking insights on why a bond is not
holding properly. The other, containing two thin, glass
vials, is from a research lab that needs a precise
measurement of the circumference of the vials' inner walls.
    "That's the best part of this job," said Dr. Green,
director of the Center for Nondestructive Evaluation. "If
somebody has a problem and you can solve it, it's real
    There have been plenty of exciting moments since Dr.
Green founded the center--part of the School of Engineering--
in 1984. One of two academic research centers in the United
States devoted to the development and use of nondestructive
testing techniques, CNDE has provided solutions to a plethora
of problems encountered by scientists in industry and
    The center has also been a breeding ground for academic
research and graduate student development.
    "I learn things here that I otherwise wouldn't
encounter," said Logan Hargrove, of the Office of Naval
Research in Arlington, Va., which has funded a number of CNDE
projects. "There's a lot of opportunity to feed into a pool
of ideas."
    Since its founding, CNDE--which is funded by private and
government sponsorships--has developed and employed
techniques that are useful in controlling and improving
product quality in manufacturing processes, and that assure
the reliability of materials, parts and products.
    It has also served as an "access port" for Hopkins
    "The center has provided critically needed technical
expertise to numerous industries and government agencies,"
said Don Giddens, School of Engineering dean. "It is
educating a new generation of materials engineers and
scientists through the involvement of highly qualified
graduate students in their research projects."
    About 35 graduate students and more than 40 faculty
members are currently working on some 60 projects.
Applications of their work range from using a new imaging
technique to study the corrosion of ancient pottery
fragments, to the use of optical imaging to evaluate hip
replacement implants for defects.
    Lasers, X-rays, ultrasound and holograms are among the
tools that help CNDE scientists test just about anything--
heart valves, jet engines, aircraft lap joints, refinery
walls and sealed food containers--for invisible flaws, leaks
and weaknesses.
    During a typical year, CNDE is sponsored by about 20
corporations or government agencies, who pay annual fees of
$25,000. In return for the funding, which supports graduate
student and research equipment expenses, the sponsors get
timely access to the center's work and graduates.
    Current sponsors include the Department of Energy,
Becton Dickinson, Exxon and the Federal Aviation
    Since its founding, the center's driving force has been
Green, who must be part scientist, part salesman, part
administrator and part fundraiser to keep the center
    A renowned researcher in Materials Science and
Engineering and a faculty member and frequent department
chair since arriving at Hopkins in 1960, Green finds his
administrative duties as CNDE director keep him out of the
laboratory more than he likes.
    But he still oversees eight graduate students, and is a
tireless traveler. Later this month, he will speak on
nondestructive testing and evaluation at a NATO workshop in
    "I've always had a lot of interests, or I get bored,"
Dr. Green said. "I guess that's why I've stayed in the job
this long. There's always something new going on around

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