“One example of nondestructive testing is ultrasonic testing. When conducting ultrasonic testing, an ultrasonic pulse can be emitted from a probe and passed through a test object at the characteristic sound velocity of that particular material. The sound velocity of a given material depends mainly on the modulus of elasticity, temperature and density of the material. Application of an ultrasonic pulse to a test object causes an interaction between the ultrasonic pulse and the test object structure, with sound waves being reflected back to the probe. The corresponding evaluation of the signals received by the probe, namely the amplitude and time of flight of those signals, can allow conclusions to be drawn as to the internal quality of the test object without destroying it.
Generally, an ultrasonic testing system includes a probe for sending and receiving signals to and from a test object, a probe cable connecting the probe to an ultrasonic test unit, and a screen or monitor for viewing test results. The ultrasonic test unit can include power supply components, signal generation, amplification and processing electronics, and device controls used to operate the nondestructive testing device. Some ultrasonic test units can be connected to computers that control system operations, as well as test results processing and display. Electric pulses can be generated by a transmitter and can be fed to the probe where they can be transformed into ultrasonic pulses by ultrasonic transducers. Ultrasonic transducers incorporate piezoelectric ceramics which can be electrically connected to a pulsing-receiving unit in the form of an ultrasonic test unit. Portions of the surfaces of the piezoelectric ceramics can be metal coated, forming electrodes that can be connected to the ultrasonic test unit. During operation, an electrical waveform pulse is applied to the electrodes of the piezoelectric ceramic causing a mechanical change in ceramic dimension and generating an acoustic wave that can be transmitted through a material such as a metal or plastic to which the ultrasonic transducer is coupled. Conversely, when an acoustic wave reflected from the material under inspection contacts the surface of the piezoelectric ceramic, it generates a voltage difference across the electrodes that is detected as a receive signal by the ultrasonic test unit or other signal processing electronics.
The amplitude, timing and transmit sequence of the electrical waveform pulses applied by the pulsing unit can be determined by various control means incorporated into the ultrasonic test unit. The pulse is generally in the frequency range of about 0.5 MHz to about 25 MHz, so it is referred to as an ultrasonic wave from which the equipment derives its name. As the ultrasonic pulses pass through the object, various pulse reflections called echoes occur as the pulse interacts with internal structures within the test object and with the opposite side (backwall) of the test object. The echo signals can be displayed on the screen with echo amplitudes appearing as vertical traces and time of flight or distance as horizontal traces. By tracking the time difference between the transmission of the electrical pulse and the receipt of the electrical signal and measuring the amplitude of the received wave, various characteristics of the material can be determined. Thus, for example, ultrasonic testing can be used to determine material thickness or the presence and size of imperfections within a given test object.
Many ultrasonic transducers are phased arrays comprising single or multiple rows of electrically and acoustically independent or isolated transducer elements. A linear array of independent transducer elements can form what is referred to as a transducer pallet comprising a plurality of independent transducer elements. In these types of transducers, each transducer element may be a layered structure comprising a backing block, flexible printed circuit board ("flex circuit"), piezoelectric ceramic layer, and acoustic matching layer. This layered structure is often referred to as an acoustic stack. The various components of the acoustic stack can be bonded together using an adhesive material (e.g., epoxy) and high pressure in a lamination process. Typically, one or more flex circuits can be used to make electrical connections from the piezoelectric ceramic to the ultrasonic test unit, or to a bundle of coaxial cables that ultimately connect to the ultrasonic test unit or other signal processing electronics.
Ultrasonic testing systems typically employ a variety of probes depending on the test object, test object material composition, and environment in which the testing is being performed. For example, a straight-beam probe transmits and receives sound waves perpendicular to the surface of the object being tested. A straight-beam probe can be particularly useful when testing sheet metals, forgings and castings. In another example, a TR probe containing two elements in which the transmitter and receiver functions are separated from one another electrically and acoustically can be utilized. A TR probe can be particularly useful when inspecting thin test objects and taking wall thickness measurements. In yet another example, an angle-beam probe that transmits and receives sound waves at an angle to the material surface can be utilized. An angle-beam probe can be particularly useful when testing welds, sheet metals, tubes and forgings.
[Desai, US Patent 8,192,075 (6/5/2012)]
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Roger D. Corneliussen
Maro Polymer Links
Tel: 610 363 9920
Fax: 610 363 9921
Copyright 2012 by Roger D. Corneliussen.
No part of this transmission is to be duplicated in any manner or forwarded by electronic mail without the express written permission of Roger D. Corneliussen
* Date of latest addition; date of first entry is 6/18/2012.