Skip to content
  • Nsirc
  • News
  • 2023
  • Magnetic Sensor for Monitoring of Ferromagnetic Structures

Magnetic Sensor for Monitoring of Ferromagnetic Structures

Mon, 20 November, 2023

NSIRC PhD student Afnan Islam has pioneered an advanced magnetic sensor for long-term monitoring of ferromagnetic structures, suitable for various industries including oil and gas, additive manufacturing, and nuclear sectors.

This project, supported by Lloyd's Register Foundation, was conducted in collaboration with the National Structural Integrity Research Centre and London South Bank University. It focuses on an optimised sensor that excels in predictive analysis of defects and delivers accurate real-time data across diverse ferromagnetic shapes and dimensions.

Utilising a variant of the Magnetic Flux Leakage (MFL) technique, the system is designed for cost-effective, remote monitoring using permanent magnets to assess corrosion in steel. Traditional methods involving Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) and Condition Monitoring (CM) techniques can be challenging under extreme conditions and often require disruptive access during operation.

Afnan's system offers an advanced magnetic sensing solution capable of detecting changes on the order of magnitude in microns. This enables precise defect analysis, facilitating autonomous fault detection, detailed diagnosis from defect data, proactive prognostics for real-time visibility, and the prediction of potential failures.

Reflecting on his PhD journey, Afnan shares, "The process was both challenging and rewarding. Working on an industrial PhD at NSIRC, alongside industry experts, enriched my understanding of industrial needs." His academic and industrial guidance came from Prof M. Osman Tokhi, Dr Maziar Shirkoohi, Dr Duan Fang, Dr Zhanfang Zhao of LSBU, and former TWI Technology Experts Dr John Rudlin, Dr Shiva Majidnia, and Dr Ryan Marks.

Afnan, an Electrical and Electronics Engineering graduate from Brunel University London, and a Nanotechnology postgraduate from University College London, completed his PhD Viva in August 2023. He also led projects at TWI Ltd, focusing on electronics development.

Now based in New York, USA, Afnan is the VP of Business Development at Botfactory Inc., a company specialising in additively manufactured PCBAs, collaborating with entities like the US government, NASA, and Defense.

For more details on Afnan's research at NSIRC, contact

More information about our industry-focused PhD programme can be found on the programme page.

The NSIRC facility in the UK, home to Brunel University and TWI (left), Afnan Islam. Photos: Courtesy of TWI Ltd and Afnan Islam.
The NSIRC facility in the UK, home to Brunel University and TWI (left), Afnan Islam. Photos: Courtesy of TWI Ltd and Afnan Islam.