Visiting ISQ Representatives Assess Developing Technologies

Instituto de Soldadura e Qualidade (ISQ) representatives, Liliana Silva and Rui Louro, have spent this fall attending Civil and Environmental Engineering classes and project meetings to learn more about technologies that are being developed on the Carnegie Mellon campus.

 Liliana Silva (ISQ)

ISQ, an Applied Research Institute partner of the Carnegie Mellon | Portugal Program, is a private organization that works on technical inspection, training, consulting, research and develop-ment. Silva works for ISQ‟s Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) Technologies Department, which employs technologies like ultrasounds and digital radiography to inspect a structure without having to take it apart. Louro works in the Calcu-lation Department, which he describes as “design evaluation.” Areas in this department include Engineering Consulting, Checking of Projects, and Evaluation of Structures.

The goal of the ISQ representatives has been to observe and assess new technologies, and determine whether they might be of use to Portuguese industry. As part of their visit, Silva and Louro have sat in on classes in data management, data acquisition, and probability and statistics.
To get a first-hand perspective of different early-stage technologies, Louro and Silva have also attended many project meetings. One project, called “Instrumental Pipeline Initiative,” headed by José Fonseca de Moura, involves the development of a new application of time reversal techniques to the in-spection of natural gas pipelines. This project directly relates to Silva‟s work in Non-Destructive Testing technologies, and both Silva and Louro find it promising. “It will probably be a standard in 20 years,” says Louro of the novel application. Early in the semester, Louro had also been following another project, led by Lúcio Soibelman, that relates to the standardization of computational implementation of building norms. Different nations and organizations have different building norms, which can become a problem in international projects where structures have to satisfy different criteria. “This is not easy,” says Louro, “because the norm has hundreds of pages and there is no expert in all the building standards; there are experts in portions [of the building stan-dards]. This can be a serious problem.”

Computational format, he explains, makes it easier to see differences between standards and verify designs against those codes. Although this project is in the very early stages of development, Louro says that it has huge potential.

 Rui Louro (ISQ)

“I think it will have a world-wide impact if it comes to fruition,” says Louro. As part of this initiative, Silva and Louro have sent monthly reports on their observations, and will be debriefed for their opinions upon return to Portugal. Most projects are still in the very early stages of development, but Louro and Silva are hopeful of their eventual benefit to Portuguese industry. “While the technology is being developed,” says Louro, “you cannot pick it up and implement it right away. At a later date, we may end up using these technologies.”

December 2009