Henrique Reis receives Robert C. McMaster Gold Medal Award

August 1, 2023

Cassandra Smith

The use of Nondestructive Testing and Evaluation (NDT&E), as well as Structural Health Monitoring (SHM), methods can be the difference between life and death when it comes to product safety. One Grainger professor was recognized for his contributions to this vital topic and for educating students on it. 

 Industrial & Enterprise Systems Engineering professor Henrique Reis received the Robert C. McMaster Gold Medal Award from the American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT). This award was named for Robert C. McMaster, who is known as a pioneer of NDT&E. 

 Dedication to this subject is what led ASNT to bestow this honor upon Reis. “The main spirit of the ASNT Robert C. McMaster Gold Medal Award is to recognize individuals for their outstanding contributions, exceptional meritorious service, or significant contributions towards advancement in any area of NDT&E and/or the Society,” said a colleague of Reis in a nomination letter. “Professor Henrique Reis embodies these qualities.”  Reis said he was flattered to receive this award. “Very pleasant...It’s a nice thing to be recognized.”  

 NDT&E looks at testing/evaluating products in situations where there is no room for error. These include situations involving aircraft, space vehicles, submersibles, as well as civil structures where failure is also not acceptable such as bridges, dams, etc. If something were to go wrong with an aircraft, people could get hurt. NDT&E engineers look at how to test/evaluate for safety without destroying the product/component, thus making sure it does not fail while in service. 

 Reis’s work covers many areas ranging from evaluation of the civil infrastructure, such as inspection of bridge decks for corrosion, to manufacturing process control. One example of his research covers monitoring the time degradation of asphalt concrete roads. He figured out how to extend the life of pavements and to lessen the amount of potholes using cost-effective and practical methods. 

 While this subject is incredibly vital, Reis said that it is currently not required for graduation at engineering schools in the USA. He was one of the first to develop an NDT&E course that undergraduate students can take as an elective. Currently, approximately half of the students in his class are from Europe where NDT&E is required for graduation. Reis said he would like to see this topic taught to engineering undergraduate students as part of their design/manufacturing curricula. This would facilitate engineers to inspect/monitor components during operation for safety and would prevent designing components that can only be inspected at great expense when simple design changes would make the same components easily inspected and monitored. 

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