Dr Rachael C Tighe

Rachael Tighe

Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering

Qualifications: MPhys (Hons) Physics; MSc Environmental Technology; PhD University of Southampton

Research Interests

Rachael is continually looking for new collaborations with both academia and industry to work with her in the field of non-destructive evaluation looking at advancing existing techniques, finding new applications and tackling current inspection challenges.

Rachael is a member of the Waikato Robotics, Automation and Sensing (WaiRAS), Centre for Advanced Materials and Manufacture (WaiCAMM) and Resilience, Infrastructure and Sustainable Construction (WaiRISC) Research Groups.

Rachael’s research interests are in the fundamentals of non-destructive evaluation of materials, components and structures. Such inspection applications range from online manufacturing quality control to in-service through life inspections. Research to date has largely focused on the use and development of using imaging techniques such as pulse phase thermography (defect detection), thermoelastic stress analysis (stress distributions) and digital image correlation (displacements/strain) to gather such information. Looking forward it is envisaged that such imaging techniques could be coupled with other sensing systems to reveal complimentary information to build more complete understanding. The overall aim is to build from detecting defects towards assessing the impact of those defects on the component, i.e. there is a defect, now do we care? Work encompasses a variety of traditional and advanced materials, manufacturing and structures.

Stress distributions around a weld under vibration loading, measured using TSA [click here for more info].

Current projects:

Non Destructive Evaluation of adhesive bonds in composite aircraft using thermography

Thermographic assessment of additive manufactured materials

Online inspection of reinforced 3D printing filament

Inspection of seals in multi layer packaging

Mixed plastic recycling and reuse




Recent Publications

  • Seabright, M., Streeter, L., Cree, M., Duke, M., & Tighe, R. (2018). Simple stereo matching algorithm for localising keypoints in a restricted search space. In 2018 International Conference on Image and Vision Computing New Zealand (IVCNZ) (pp. 6 pages). Conference held Auckland, New Zealand: IEEE. doi:10.1109/IVCNZ.2018.8634791 Open Access version:

  • Tighe, R. (2018). Thermographic inspection {Report from the Workshop on NDT Requirements for Marine Composites]. UK: British Institute of Non Destructive Testing. doi:10.1784/book.2018.002

  • Olafsson, G., Tighe, R. C., & Dulieu-Barton, J. M. (2018). Improving the probing depth of thermographic inspections of polymer composite materials. Measurement Science and Technology. doi:10.1088/1361-6501/aaed15

  • Tighe, R. C., Dulieu-Barton, J. M., & Quinn, S. (2017). Infrared techniques for practical defect identification in bonded joints in liquefied natural gas vessels. Experimental Techniques, 42(2), 121-128. doi:10.1007/s40799-017-0200-7

Find more research publications by Rachael Tighe


Engineering; Materials and Processing; Mechanical; Physics; Remote Sensing

Contact Details

Room: EF.2.01
Phone: +64 7 838 4109