TWI has recently purchased ultrasonic phased array equipment for use in Non-Destructive Testing. It has long been anticipated that this technology, regularly used for medical applications, would become available for industrial applications.
Although the cost of this equipment is currently expensive compared to standard systems it offers the possibility of solving a number of outstanding problems in NDT. The characteristics of a single probe can be electronically re-configured to suit many different situations. In particular, it has the capability for steering or scanning focused beams while the probe is stationary and presenting a visualisation of the whole volume of an object from one place. The potential benefits compared to standard inspection techniques are:
- Improved defect sizing capabilities
- Better visualisation in complex cracking situations - for example, SCC
- Inspection of small fillet welds for root flaws - very difficult with manual ultrasonic inspection
- Examination of turbine disc and blade fir tree components
- Faster inspection of standard components - reduced mechanical scanning
- Inspection of electron beam and friction stir welds
A project for the nuclear industry comparing the capabilities of phased array and standard UT for a number of performance characteristics is now nearly complete. TWI has also been involved in the development and qualification of an inspection of small fillet welds. Also, European funding has been received for a project concerning the inspection of friction stir welds.
TWI has the capability of designing the phased array electronic probe into configurations to suit individual applications and can offer consultancy or inspection services.
For more information, please contact us.