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[en] Many aging pipelines and aircraft are suffering from corrosion and the corrosion patches are often inaccessible. There is therefore a need for a rapid, accurate, long range inspection technique to measure the remaining thickness in corrosion patches. Low‐frequency guided wave tomography is a potentially attractive technique to rapidly evaluate the thickness of large sections of partially accessible structures. This paper demonstrates that in the low‐frequency regime the ray theory may not be valid which compromises the use of any straight‐ray tomography algorithm. This paper also shows, in simulations and experimentally, that the same frequency regime can be used to successfully reconstruct thickness reduction in plates with diffraction tomography.
[en] In automated NDE a region of an inspected component is often interrogated several times, be it within a single data channel, across multiple channels or over the course of repeated inspections. The systematic combination of these diverse readings is recognized to provide a means to improve the reliability of the inspection, for example by enabling noise suppression. Specifically, such data fusion makes it possible to declare regions of the component defect-free to a very high probability whilst readily identifying indications. Registration, aligning input datasets to a common coordinate system, is a critical pre-computation before meaningful data fusion takes place. A novel scheme based on a multiobjective optimization is described. The developed data fusion framework, that is able to identify and rate possible indications in the dataset probabilistically, based on local data statistics, is outlined. The process is demonstrated on large data sets from the industrial ultrasonic testing of aerospace turbine disks, with major improvements in the probability of detection and probability of false call being obtained
[en] The interaction of the fundamental antisymmetric Lamb wave (ao) with cracks and with notches of different depth and width has been investigated both experimentally and by finite element analysis. Excellent agreement between the predictions and the measurements has been obtained. It has been shown that the reflection coefficient is a function of both the notch width to wavelength and notch depth to wavelength ratios. Both the relationship between the reflection coefficient and notch, depth, and the frequency dependence of the reflection coefficient, are very different for the ao mode compared to the so mode which was studied earlier. Physical insight into the reasons for the different behavior is given by examination of the stress fields and opening displacements at the crack or notch
[en] Sonic infrared is potentially a very attractive nondestructive evaluation technique offering the possibility of rapid testing of complex components. However, at present it is difficult to be sure that sufficient excitation has been applied so that a null (no defect present) result can be trusted. This paper presents a calibration method to improve the reliability of the technique. The method uses a measurement of the vibration of the component during the test, the vibration signal being processed to give a 'heating index' which is a measure of the ability of the vibration field to generate heat at any defects of interest that are present. The calculation of the heating index and the rationale for its formulation are described. The method is then applied on two sets of beamlike specimens with cracks of different sizes. The maximum temperature rise in successive tests on a given specimen is shown to correlate well with the maximum heating index, so validating the method. The threshold heating index required to reliably detect cracks as a function of crack size is discussed and practical calibration and test procedures are proposed.
[en] Guided wave tomography offers a method to accurately quantify wall thickness losses in pipes and vessels caused by corrosion. This is achieved using ultrasonic waves transmitted over distances of approximately 1–2m, which are measured by an array of transducers and then used to reconstruct a map of wall thickness throughout the inspected region. To achieve accurate estimations of remnant wall thickness, it is vital that a suitable Lamb mode is chosen. This paper presents a detailed evaluation of the fundamental modes, S0 and A0, which are of primary interest in guided wave tomography thickness estimates since the higher order modes do not exist at all thicknesses, to compare their performance using both numerical and experimental data while considering a range of challenging phenomena. The sensitivity of A0 to thickness variations was shown to be superior to S0, however, the attenuation from A0 when a liquid loading was present was much higher than S0. A0 was less sensitive to the presence of coatings on the surface of than S0
[en] Research is being conducted at Imperial College to investigate the characteristics of acoustic wave propagation in buried iron water mains. The dispersive mode shapes and mode attenuation due to leakage have been investigated to predict what axisymmetric modes will propagate over any significant distance at low frequencies. Experiments have been conducted on buried water mains at three test sites in the UK to ascertain what modes propagate and to verify dispersion predictions
[en] Corrosion in pipe work is a major problem in the oil, chemical and other industries. Many pipes are insulated which means that even external corrosion cannot be seen without removing the insulation, which is prohibitively expensive. Particularly severe problems are encountered at road crossings where the pipe cannot be inspected without excavation. Ultrasonic guided waves in the pipe wall provide an attractive solution to this problem because they can be excited at one location on the pipe and will propagate many meters along the pipe returning echoes indicating the presence of corrosion or other pipe features. The technique has now been commercialized and this paper describes the results of an extensive set of field trials using the method, together with the results of systematic laboratory and theoretical investigations of the influence of defect depth and circumferential extent on the guided wave reflectivity. It is shown that propagation distances of over 25 meters in pipe diameters from 2 to 24 inch can be obtained using a dry coupled piezoelectric transducer system. The defect detection sensitivity is generally set to the removal of 10% of the cross-sectional area of the pipe at a single location, but it is often possible to find smaller defects if required. This technique was originally designed to work on pipes that were either uncoated or covered with, for example, epoxy paint. Recent tests have shown promising results with more attenuative coatings and these are discussed. The results show that the technique has wide application in pipe systems in the chemical and other industries. (author)
[en] The use of ultrasonic guided waves to inspect concrete reinforcing tendons is complicated by energy leakage into the embedding material. Previous work has shown that high frequency, low-leakage guided waves can be used to minimise the leakage, but the maximum inspection range has not yet been determined. This paper presents the results of experiments designed to evaluate the effect of important factors such as leakage and defect geometry, enabling conclusions on the maximum inspection range to be reached
[en] The inspection of welded austenitic stainless steel components can be challenging. Austenitic welds contain an anisotropic, inhomogeneous grain structure which causes attenuation, scattering and beam bending. The inspection of components where the weld cap has not been removed is even more difficult due to the irregularity of the surface geometry. A twin crystal membrane coupled device has now been produced containing two linear phased arrays positioned adjacent to one another within the same housing. The arrays are angled relative to one another so that the transducer provides a pseudo-focusing effect at a depth corresponding to the beam crossing point. This type of design is used to improve the signal to noise ratio of the defect response in comparison to simple linear phased array transducer designs and to remove an internal noise signal found in linear phased array devices. Experimental results obtained from the through weld inspection of an austenitic stainless steel component with an undressed weld cap using the twin crystal membrane device are presented. These results demonstrate that small lack of side wall fusion defects can be reliably detected in large complex structures.
[en] The safe operation of petrochemical plant requires screening of the pipework to ensure that there are no unacceptable levels of corrosion. Unfortunately, each plant has many thousands of metres of pipe, much of which is insulated or inaccessible. Conventional methods such as visual inspection and ultrasonic thickness gauging require access to each point of the pipe which is time consuming and very expensive to achieve. Extensional or torsional ultrasonic guided waves in the pipe wall provide an attractive solution to this problem because they can be excited at one location on the pipe and will propagate many metres along the pipe, returning echoes indicating the presence of corrosion or other pipe features. Guided Ultrasonics Ltd. have now commercialised the technique and this paper describes the basis of the method, together with examples of practical test results and typical application areas