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Ultrasonic Plant Inspection Project Findings Published

Thu, 20 January, 2022

The outcome of a project to use high sensitivity ultrasonic NDT to detect early stage creep damage in power plant steels has been published in a paper by the International Journal of Pressure Vessels and Piping, which is available via Science Direct.

TWI worked alongside project partners INETEC of Croatia, Kaunas University of Technology of Lithuania, and the Public Power Corporation (PPC) of Greece on the ‘CreepUT’ project to use ultrasound technology tests to determine the soundness of critical power plant components.

The pipes used in power stations can be subjected to harsh operating conditions and a failure to detect damage can lead to dangerous failures and blackouts. To prevent this, TWI and the project partners worked to develop non-destructive testing with novel ultrasound technologies to accurately detect creep damage at an early stage.

Creep, the thermally-assisted deformation of a component under stress, has been shown to begin on the inside of a material and propagates outwards, meaning that by the time it is noticed the pipe is almost ready to fail. This can begin in the middle of an asset’s remaining service life and develops faster as time goes on, meaning that early detection can help extend the life of a component considerably.

Ultrasound technology was deemed to be ideal for this task as it can adequately monitor below the surface to detect sub-surface creep damage at an early stage, with the CreepUT project managing to demonstrate accurate measurement of creep deformation in the micrometre range.

TWI assisted with the project by developing a scanning system for field applications as well as specimens for calibrating the highly sensitive inspection system.

You can find out more by reading the journal paper here, which describes the theoretical and validation work done during the project.


The CreepUT project received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 760232

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