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EngineeringPostgraduate study

Dr Rachael C. Tighe MSc PhD

Research fellow

Dr Rachael C. Tighe's photo

Miss Rachael C. Waugh was a Postgraduate research student within Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Southampton.

Rachael obtained an MPhys with honours degree in Physics at Lancaster University before going on to study for an MSc in Environmental Technology also at Lancaster University. After travelling and working for 18 months she then re-joined academia and came to the University of Southampton to study for a PhD in the Fluid Structures Interactions and Materials Engineering research groups. Her PhD work focussed on non-destructive evaluation (NDE) techniques, particularly thermography, applied to composite materials and adhesively bonded joints.

Rachael was awarded the EPSRC Doctoral Prize Fellowship Research where research focused on the development of NDE techniques for more practical applications. This was particularly related to advanced applications of pulsed and pulsed phase thermography as well as the synchronisation and correlation of thermoelastic stress analysis and digital image correlation data to extract complimentary information. Current research is focused on thermographic NDE approaches including development of the techniques to enable on-site use and the development of new approaches to enable applications to novel environments.

Rachael is a National Committee Member of the British Society for Strain Measurement (, Secretary for the Thermomechanics and Infrared Imaging Technical Division of the Society of Experimental Mechanics, has been on the organising committee of several international conferences including the International Conference of Experimental Mechanics (2014), the 10th and 11th International Conference on Advances in Experimental Mechanics (2015 and 2016) and is co-chair for the inaugural BSSM’s Postgraduate Experimental Mechanics Conference (2015).

Research interests

Research is currently being undertaken on the use of thermoelastic stress analysis in the energy industry through the RESIST project (, the adaptation of thermographic methods for the inspection of thick composites, combining optical techniques for strain based NDE ( and work is commencing to develop methodologies and calibrations to enable the use of lower cost detectors in harsh environments.

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Research group

Affiliate research group

Research project(s)

A new tool to identify defects in adhesively bonded joints

SESS3025 Marine Engineering – Lab class coordinator

SESG6045 Experimental Mechanics – Lecturer/ Lab class instructor




Dr Rachael C. Tighe
Telephone: 02380 596572
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