Ultrasonic Testing or UT as it is known has applications inside a range of industries, from aerospace, automotive, to chemical, petroleum, bulk storage, power generation and offshore. UT is part of a variety of techniques referred to as NDT (Non Destructive Testing) methods. Their purpose in industry is to permit the inspection of parts and equipment without damaging or interfering with the trouble. This allows testing and knowledge of degradation/problems to occur without further degrading the part or interfering with highly calibrated processes.
Ultrasonic Inspection can be used on all metals and a few non-metals, including concrete and wood, though with less resolution. In standard UT a piezoelectric probe operates over the object to be inspected, as electricity runs from the probe, it’s converted through the piezoelectric material within the probe into ultrasonic waves. These waves run with the material and therefore are either received on the reverse side by way of a separate probe, or reflected back and received from the original probe.
These two various ways of detection correspond with different modes of operation. When non destructive testing equipment are reflected back and received through the same probe this is known as “Reflection Mode” unsurprisingly. When the waves are received for the opposite side by way of a separate probe, it’s called “Attenuation Mode”. Both use various ways to interpret the results, however both require highly trained technicians to analyse and interpret the outcome, and report corresponding flaws.
Using standard UT a couplant is necessary between the transducer (the part emitting the ultrasonic waves) and the material being tested, that is commonly a gel, oil or water and is done to improve the resolution of the images received. Ultrasonic works poorly across air in general. Somewhat despite nevertheless this, is often a type of ultrasonic testing that could be employed in situations every time a couplant can not be used. A transducer called an Electromagnetic Acoustic Transducer (EMAT) works extremely well instead, this functions generating the sound directly inside the material, instead of inside probe and projecting it at the fabric. EMAT is surely an emerging technology but has found use within many industries already.
Ultrasonic as well as other NDT methods are employed in industry to analyse materials, often for safety and legal reasons, though sometimes for other uses for example inspecting challenging to reach places before spending more income and/or effort to inspect the area comprehensive.
Cases where regular and liberal using NDT may be beneficial become apparent when confronted with a method failure that could be highly detrimental to production or revenue. An example recently involved employment where a power station were required to take turbine offline expectantly, causing not only hassle, wasted time, but in addition a huge loss in production and added expense for repair.
Had NDT been applied more liberally prior to the event, a dysfunction such as this has been prevented, and the cost is a fraction of the the organization found themselves incurring.