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Professor builds special issue of industry magazine

The American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT) wanted a special issue of its magazine, Materials Evaluation, dedicated to an infrastructure topic. When the issue needed a guest editor, they knew a University of Missouri College of Engineering professor was the right person for the job.

Glenn Washer, professor of civil and environmental engineering, edited the January issue of the magazine, which focused on nondestructive testing techniques for infrastructure projects, such as bridges, culverts and roads. Nondestructive testing is a catch-all term for the ability to test the strength and resiliency of a structure without having to damage it in any way — for instance, by using ultrasound, ground-penatrating radar or infrared technology.

Washer headshot

Glenn Washer, professor of civil and environmental engineering, edited the January issue of Materials Evaluation, which focused on nondestructive testing techniques for infrastructure projects, such as bridges, culverts and roads.

Washer’s long, accomplished career in the field of nondestructive testing in infrastructure led to his second selection as guest editor of Materials Evaluation, with his first coming in the late 1990s. His work with ASNT, an organization in which he’s achieved the rank of fellow, also led to his selection. Washer has contributed to several technical write-ups, handbooks and has chaired its infrastructure committee.

“When they want to produce a technical focus issue on infrastructure, I suppose I’m one of the people they would call,” he said.

Washer helped identify subject matter for the issue, tracked down contributors and helped ensure submissions were received on time. He said the issue took roughly a year and a half to put together, and he wanted to make sure it had a different flavor than previous infrastructure-based special issues.

“I wanted to have different people that hadn’t been in previous issues and different technologies,” Washer said. “One of the things I thought about while coming up with it was I wanted to put in stuff the people who read the magazine had probably never heard of but could easily understand.”

To ensure that, Washer also contributed to two pieces in the issue. The first dealt with a partnership he’s involved in with the Steel Bridge Research, Inspection, Training and Engineering Center at Purdue University. The other was a primer on the use of thermal imaging to look for defects in concrete bridge decks.

In the end, one of the biggest rewards was seeing quality infrastructure work presented in a news-style format, Washer said.

“It’s nice because they’re more polished than a technical journal, so you see your work in a more publicity-focused way, and that’s kind of neat to see that,” he explained. “It’s closer to a news publication.”