Nondestructive evaluation (NDE) modeling and analysis codes have traditionally been developed for oversimplified geometries such as flat plates. This is partly because simple geometries are easier to work with, but also partly because the tools needed for NDE scientists and engineers to easily work with real geometries have not been available. Modeling and analysis in physical geometric contexts can be more accurate because the geometry can be included in the analysis. In addition, the models naturally align with emerging “digital thread” and “digital twin” concepts for maintaining parallel digital models of entire structures. In this paper we describe an analysis process for pulse (flash) thermography NDE that operates in the physical 3D computer-aided design (CAD) geometry of the underlying part. We also discuss how the thermography problem motivated the development of a new open-source library (“spatialnde2”) designed to facilitate the use of 3D CAD geometry in NDE modeling and analysis. Using pulse thermography as an example, we discuss the benefits and challenges of performing data analysis in the 3D CAD domain.
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