Engineering science and mechanics graduate student receives fellowship award

Tessa M. Woodring
November 26, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Prabhakaran Manogharan, a doctoral candidate in the Penn State Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics, was granted the 2019 American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT) Fellowship Award for his proposed research using ultrasonic techniques. 

Manogharan’s academic and research adviser, Parisa Shokouhi, associate professor of engineering science and mechanics and acoustics, was recognized as the award recipient and project principal investigator. Jacques Rivière, assistant professor of engineering science and mechanics and acoustics, was recognized as an award recipient and faculty adviser for the project.

The ASNT is the largest technical society for nondestructive testing (NDT) — testing that does not destroy or cause damage to the materials or components being analyzed — professionals in the world. The ASNT Fellowship Award is given to NDT-focused graduate-level engineering and science research projects conducted by graduate students from across the country. This award provides financial support for the continuation and completion of a recipient’s research. 

Five graduate students from five universities received the 2019 ASNT Fellowship Award. Fellowships were awarded based on graduate-level research project proposals submitted by faculty advisers. 

“The ASNT Fellowship is a prestigious award, and it is surely going to help me in many ways,” Manogharan said. “I will be able to connect with the huge network of professionals in ASNT and advance my research.” 

Manogharan will use linear and nonlinear resonance ultrasonic spectroscopy, a resonance-based NDT used for materials characterization and to detect crack-like flaws in 3D-printed components. This method can be implemented using a laser Doppler vibrometer, which takes non-contact vibration measurements of test material’s surface to inspect the parts, making it an ideal candidate for efficient process and quality control. 

Three-dimensional printing, also known as additive manufacturing, has become more prominent in the biomedical and aerospace industries because it offers flexibility in the design and build of the components, parts and structures used in the fields. However, according to Manogharan, one of the disadvantages of using 3D-printed materials is the lack of established control of quality and process methodologies. 

Manogharan’s solution to these challenges uses a form of non-destructive testing to check the components for defects and irregularities. This testing could allow for the inspection of irregular shapes, complex geometries and compositions that are often seen in additive manufacturing. 

Under this approach, Manogharan will test a set of standard components of complex geometry with a range of built-in defects. The test provides not only proof of concept, but also allows him to pinpoint the detectability thresholds in relation to different types of defects. The proposed approach will be used to inspect samples at various stages of manufacturing in order to find the optimum test procedure for on-site, real-time inspection. 

These project results, estimated to be completed in two years, will be used to develop a test protocol for real-time process control of 3D-printed parts. 

Manogharan, an international student from India, has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Pondicherry Engineering College and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras. Before starting his doctorate at Penn State in the fall of 2018, he worked as an engineer for General Electric Aviation in Bangalore, India, for three years. There, he completed the Edison Engineering Development Program.  

This award provides Manogharan with the financial support to expand his research in applying nonlinear resonance ultrasound testing to 3D-printed metals. Beyond the research the ASNT award will fund, Manogharan also uses nondestructive testing to understand how ultrasonic waves interact with discontinuities and defects, such as fractures and cracks, in all materials.  

“We have an exciting idea to use different ultrasound techniques to monitor the quality of additively manufactured parts when they are constructed into a final product,” Manogharan said. “This award will help us to demonstrate the feasibility of the approach.”


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Last Updated November 26, 2019