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Table of Contents
1

Introduction

P. 1

Basic Principles of Sound

P. 8

The Propagation of Sound

P. 12

Modes of Propagation

P. 18

Ultrasound Generation

P. 22

Factors Affecting the Propagation of Ultrasound

P. 25

The Decibel (DB)

P. 27

Snells Law

P. 29

Equipment

P. 32

10

Calibration Blocks

P. 44

11

0 Probe Scanning

P. 50

12

Ultrasonic Equipment Checks

P. 60

13

Sensitivity Setting

P. 70

14

Flaw Location

P. 78

15

Presentation

P. 91

16

Identifying Flaws in Butt Welds

P. 94

17

Practical Weld Inspection

P. 98

18

Weld Defects

P. 101

19

Ultrasonic Testing of Castings

P. 107

20

Ultrasonic Testing of Forgings

P. 113

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1 Introduction
Non-destructive testing is the ability to examine a material (usually for discontinuities)
without degrading it.
The five principal methods, other than visual inspection, are:
Penetrant testing
Magnetic particle inspection
Eddy current testing
Radiography
Ultrasonic testing
In all the NDT methods, interpretation of results is critical. Much depends on the skill and
experience of the technician, although properly formulated test techniques and procedures
will improve accuracy and consistency.

1.1

Penetrant testing

Penetrant testing locates surface-breaking discontinuities by covering the item with a


penetrating liquid, which is drawn into the discontinuity by capillary action. After removal
of the excess penetrant the indication is made visible by application of a developer. Colour
contrast or fluorescent systems may be used.
Advantages:
Applicable to non-ferromagnetics
Able to test large parts with a
portable kit
Batch testing Applicable to small parts with
complex geometry
Simple, cheap easy to interpret
Sensitivity
Disadvantages:
Will only detect defects open to the Surface
Careful surface preparation required
Not applicable to porous materials
Temperature dependant
Cannot retest indefinitely
Compatibility of chemicals

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1.2

Magnetic particle inspection

Magnetic particle inspection is used to locate surface and slightly subsurface


discontinuities in ferromagnetic materials by introducing a magnetic flux into the material.
Advantages:
Will detect some sub-surface defects
Rapid and simple to understand
Pre-cleaning not as critical as with DPI
Will work through thin coatings
Cheap rugged equipment
Direct test method
Disadvantages:
Ferromagnetic materials only
Requirement to test in 2 directions
Demagnetisation may be required
Odd shaped parts difficult to test
Not suited to batch testing
Can damage the component under test

1.3

Eddy current inspection

Eddy current inspection is based on inducing electrical currents in the material being
inspected and observing the interaction between those currents and the material. Eddy
currents are generated by coils in the test probe and monitored simultaneously by
measuring the coils electrical impedance. As it is an electromagnetic induction process,
direct electrical contact with the sample is not required; however, the material must be an
electrical conductor.
Advantages:
Sensitive to surface defects
Can detect through several layers
Can detect through surface coatings
Accurate conductivity measurements
Can be automated
Little pre-cleaning required and Portable
Disadvantages:
Very susceptible to permeability changes
Only on conductive materials
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Will not detect defects parallel to surface


Not suitable for large areas and/or complex geometries
Signal interpretation required
No permanent record (unless automated)

1.4 Radiography
Radiography monitors the varying transmission of ionising radiation through a material
with the aid of photographic film or fluorescent screens to detect changes in density and
thickness. It will locate internal and surface-breaking defects.
Advantages:
Gives a permanent record, the radiograph
Detects internal flaws
Detects volumetric flaws readily
Can be used on most materials
Can check for correct assembly
Gives a direct image of flaws
Fluoroscopy can give real time imaging
Disadvantages:
There is a radiation health hazard
Can be sensitive to defect orientation and so can miss planar flaws
Has limited ability to detect fine cracks
Access is required to both sides of the object
Skilled radiographic interpretation is required
Is a relatively slow method of inspection
Has a high capital cost and running cost

1.5 Ultrasonic testing


Ultrasonic testing measures the time for high frequency (0.5MHz-50MHz) pulses of
ultrasound to travel through the inspection material. If a discontinuity is present, the
ultrasound reflects back to the probe in a time other than that appropriate to good material.
Advantages:
Sensitive to cracks at various orientations
Portability
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Safety
Able to penetrate thick sections
Measures depth and through-wall extent
Disadvantages:
No permanent record (unless automated)
Not easily applied to complex geometries and rough surfaces.
Unsuited to coarse grained materials
Reliant upon defect orientation

1.6 Choice of method


Before deciding on a particular NDT inspection method it is advantageous to have certain
information:
Reason for inspection. (To detect cracks, sort between materials, check assembly,
etc).
Likely orientation of planar discontinuities, if they are the answer to the above
question.
Type of material.
Likely position of discontinuities.
Geometry and thickness of object to be tested.
Accessibility.
This information can be derived from:
Product knowledge.
Previous failures.
Accuracy of critical sizing of indications varies from method to method.
Liquid penetrant inspection
The length of a surface-breaking discontinuity can be determined readily, but the depth
dimensions can only be assessed subjectively by observing the amount of bleed out.
Magnetic particle inspection
The length of a discontinuity can be determined from the indication, but no assessment of
discontinuity depth can be made.
Eddy current inspection
The length of a discontinuity can be determined. The depth of a discontinuity or material
thinning can be determined by amplitude measurement, phase measurement or both, but
the techniques for critical sizing are somewhat subjective.

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Ultrasonic testing
The length and position of a discontinuity can be determined. Depth measurements are
more difficult but crack tip diffraction or time-of-flight techniques can give good results.
Radiography
The length and plan view position can be determined. Through-thickness positioning
requires additional angulated exposures to be taken. The through-thickness dimension of
discontinuities cannot readily be determined.

1.7

History of ultrasonic testing (UT)

In Medieval times craftsmen casting bells for churches were aware that a properly cast
bell rang true when struck and that a bell with flaws would give out a false note. This
principle was used by wheel-tappers inspecting rolling stock on the railways. They struck
wheels with a hammer and listened to the note given out. A loose tyre sounded wrong.
The origin of modern ultrasonic testing (UT) is the discovery by the Curie brothers in
1880 that quartz crystals cut in a certain way produce an electric potential when subjected
to pressure - the piezo-electric effect, from the Greek piedzein, to press or strike. In 1881,
Lippman theorised that the effect might work in reverse, and that quartz crystals might
change shape if an electric current was applied to them. He found this was so and
experimented further. Crystals of quartz vibrate when alternating currents are applied to
them. Crystal microphones in a modern stereo rely on this principle.
When the Titanic sank in 1912, the Admiralty tried to find a way of locating icebergs by
sending out sound waves and listening for an echo. They experimented further with sound
to detect submarines during the First World War. Between the wars, marine echo
sounding was developed and in the Second World War ASDIC (Anti-Submarine
Detection Investigation Committee) was extensively used in the Battle of the Atlantic
against the U-boats.
In 1929 a Russian physicist, Sokolov, experimented with techniques of passing vibrations
through metals to find flaws; this work was taken up by the Germans. In the 1930s the
cathode ray tube was developed and miniaturised in the Second World War to fit small
airborne radar sets into aircraft. It made the UT set as we know it possible. Around 1931
Mulhauser obtained a patent for a system using two probes to detect flaws in solids and
following this Firestone (1940) and Simons (1945) developed pulsed UT using a pulseecho technique.

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In the years after World War II, researchers in Japan began to experiment on the use of
ultrasound for medical diagnostic purposes. The Japanese Working largely in isolation
from the rest of the world until the 1950s, the Japanese developed techniques for the
detection of gallstones, breast masses, and tumors. Japan was also the first country to
apply Doppler ultrasound, an application of ultrasound that detects internal moving
objects such as blood coursing through the heart for cardiovascular investigation.
The first flaw detector was made by Sproule in 1942 while he was working for the
Scottish firm Kelvin & Hughes. Similar work was carried out by Firestone in the USA and
by German physicists. Sproule went on to develop the shear-wave probe.
At first, UT was restricted to testing aircraft, but in the 1950s it was extensively used in
the building of power stations in Britain for examining thick steel components safely and
cheaply. UT was found to have several advantages over radiography in heavy industrial
applications:
Did not have the health hazard associated with radiography, and a UT technician
could work next to welders and other employees without endangering them or
holding up work.
Was efficient in detecting toe cracks in boilers - a major cause of explosions and
lack of fusion in boiler tubes.
Found planar defects, like laminations, which were sometimes missed by
radiography.
A UT check on a thick component took no more time than a similar check on a thin
component as opposed to long exposure times in radiography.
With the construction of nuclear power stations, UT was developed further and was
applied to construction and maintenance work in the oil industry as well as the inspection
of the huge commercial air fleets built up since the end of the Second World War. Over
the years, UT sets have been miniaturised with the availability of transistors and display
features improved and the process has automated and computerised.

1.8

Ultrasound used for testing

The main use of ultrasonic inspection in the human and the animal world is for detecting
objects and measuring distance. A pulse of ultrasound (a squeak from a bat or a pulse
from an ultrasonic source) hits an object and is reflected back to its source like an echo.
From the time it takes to travel to the object and back, the distance of the object from the
sound source can be calculated. That is how bats fly in the dark and how dolphins
navigate through water. It is also how warships detected and attacked submarines in the
Second World War. Wearing a blindfold, you can determine if you are in a very large hall
or an ordinary room by clapping your hands sharply; a large hall will give back a distinct
echo, but an ordinary room will not. A bats echo location is more precise: the bat gives out
and can sense short wavelengths of ultrasound and these give a sharper echo than we can
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detect. In UT a sound pulse is sent into a solid object and an echo returns from any flaws
in that object or from the other side of the object. An echo is returned from a solid-air
interface or any solid-non-solid interface in the object being examined. We can send
ultrasonic pulses into material by making a piezo-electric crystal vibrate in a probe. The
pulses can travel in a compression, shear or transverse mode. This is the basis of
ultrasonic testing. But a method must be found of presenting information from the
returning echoes for interpretation. It is for this purpose that the UT set, or flaw detector as
it is frequently called, contains a cathode ray tube.
In the majority of UT sets the information is presented on the screen in a display called the
A Scan. The bottom of the CRT screen is a time base made to represent a distance - say
100mm. An echo from the backwall comes up on the screen as a signal, the amplitude of
which represents the amount of sound returning to the probe. By seeing how far the signal
comes along the screen we can measure the thickness of the material we are examining.
If that material contains a flaw sound is reflected back from the flaw and appears on the
screen as a signal in front of the backwall echo as the sound reflected from the flaw has
not had so far to travel as that from the backwall.

Anything that sends back sound energy to probe to cause a signal on the screen is called a
reflector. By measuring the distance from the edge of the CRT screen to the signal, we can
calculate how far down in the material the reflector lies.
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Basic Principles of Sound

Sound is made when something vibrates. You can twang a ruler on a table or flick a
stretched elastic band to verify this. The stretched surface of the rubber band or the ruler
vibrates and sets up a series of vibrations, sound waves, in the air. As the surface of the
band or ruler pushes into the air, the air molecules are forced together and a region of high
pressure forms: compression. As the surface moves back, the air molecules move apart,
forming a low pressure area, or rarefaction. As the surface vibrates, alternate
compressions are rarefactions set up in the air and travel out from the surface to form a
sound wave. The air molecules dont move with the wave - they vibrate to and fro in time
with the vibrating surface. If we plot the displacement of the particle against time it will
produce a sine wave as shown below.

The sound wave so produced travels through the air at a speed of 332m/sec, at
0C. We hear the sound when it hits a membrane in our ear and cause it to vibrate. Sound
will travel through any medium that has molecules to move, but it travels faster in more
elastic materials because the vibrations are passed on more quickly. Sound travels faster in
water or metal than it does in air as liquids and solids are more elastic than air.

2.1 Frequency
As sound is a series of vibrations, one way of measuring it is to count the number of
vibrations per second - the frequency. Frequency is measured in Hertz. One vibration in
one second is one Hertz. Two vibrations in one second is two Hertz. Ten vibrations in one
second is 10 Hertz and 1000 vibrations in one second is 1000 Hertz or one kilohertz
(kHz). One million vibrations in a second is one Megahertz (MHz).
The higher the frequency the higher the note sounds - the higher the pitch. If you twang
the ruler or the rubber band hard, the noise is louder, it has greater amplitude, but the note
remains the same. If, however, you shorten the ruler or tighten the rubber band, they
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vibrate more quickly and the note given out is higher. The frequency is greater. To raise
the pitch of their instrument, guitar players move their fingers down the frets, thus
shortening the string and making it vibrate more quickly. We can only hear sounds
between certain frequencies - more than 20 Hertz and less than 20,000 Hertz. If you were
able to move your arm up and down 20 times a second, it would sound like a very low
hum. You cannot, so you cannot hear the vibrations in the air caused by your moving arm.
A dog whistle vibrating at 25,000 Hertz cannot be heard by humans, but it can be heard by
the sensitive ears of a dog.

The sound spectrum


It rarely occurs to us that there is a whole world of sound that we cannot hear. Some
other animals can hear sounds at higher frequencies - bats can hear sound at 100,000 Hertz
- and some animals, like snakes, have worse hearing than we have.
A sound with frequencies above the upper range of human hearing is called ultrasound.
Sound below about 16 Hertz is called infrasound. Therefore the definition of ultrasound is
sound with a frequency greater than 20 kilohertz. However, there is an advantage for the
lower frequencies. The lower the frequency, the more penetrating a sound wave is - that is
why foghorns give out very low notes and why the low throbbing notes from your
neighbours stereo set come through the wall rather than the high notes.
2.2 Wavelength
A wave in the sea is a vibration of energy. As the wave passes a fixed point it produces a
constant rise and fall of energy. A complete vibration is a change in energy from
maximum to minimum and back to maximum. The distance over which one complete
vibration of energy occurs is called a wavelength.
A wavelength is the distance between the highest points of energy. It varies with the speed
of sound and with the frequency. Wavelength is represented by the Greek letter lambda
(). We can work out wavelength if we know the speed and frequency of a sound wave.
Wavelength is the velocity in meters per second divided by the frequency.

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The wavelength of ultrasonic waves is important because the shorter the wavelength, the
smaller the flaws that can be discovered. Defects of a diameter of less than half a
wavelength may not show on the CRT. On the other hand, the shorter the wavelength the
less the ultrasound will penetrate the test material. Beam shape is also affected by
wavelength. These factors will be discussed later.

2.3 Resolution:
Resolution is the ability of an equipment/combination probe to distinguish between two
echoes from reflectors that are close together. To have good resolution a probe must
present two signals on a CRT screen from two separate reflectors: if it has poor resolution
the echoes from the two reflectors appear as one signal on the screen.
In the early days of ultrasonic testing we used the 100, 91 and 85mm steps, at the radius
end of the V1 block to test resolving power. However, today this is regarded as too crude
a test and BS 4331 Part 3 (now obsolete) recommended that we should be able to
recognise two discrete echoes less than two wavelengths apart. By discrete echoes they
mean split by more than 6dB, or to more than half the total height of the signals.

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2.4

Signal amplitude

The amplitude of an ultrasonic signal is defined as the maximum displacement of the


molecules from their equilibrium position. The energy of an ultrasonic wave is in turn
expressed as the square of the amplitude.
The relative amplitude of ultrasonic signals is expressed using the decibel, a logarithmic
unit of comparison. When we compare the height of two signals on the CRT screen, we
are in fact comparing the electric voltage that is being sent to the Y plates, and electric
voltage is proportional to the square of the current. To compare two signals we must use a
formula that takes account of this fact:
Difference in db =
For example, if we want to compare a signal of 80mm with one of 40mm on the CRT
screen:
Difference in db =

=
Find the

of 2 in tables or a calculator

20 x 0.301 = 6.02dB
So the answer is 6 decibels and this can be tested on a CRT screen. Obtain a signal from a
backwall echo on a test block and increase or decrease the gain until the signal touches the
top of the screen. Take out 6dBs with the gain control and the signal should drop to 50%
full screen height (FSH). If it does not, the vertical linearity of the UT set is out, the signal
height is not changing in accordance with energy from the probe.
Using the formula, we can discover that:
12dB difference means that one signal is 4 times bigger than another
10dB difference means that one signal is 3 times bigger than another
20dB difference means that one signal is 10 times bigger than another
Remember that dBs are only a means of comparing signals. All UT sets are different, so a
defect may be at FSH with a gain control reading of, say 36dB on one set and be at FSH
on another set with a gain control reading of only 28dB on another set. The Gain control
allows us to set sensitivities and forms the basis of ultrasonic sizing techniques.

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3 The Propagation of Sound

beam edge
(0% Intensity)

dead zone

half angle of divergence


beam centre
(((100% Intensity)
crystal
near zone
far zone

beam edge
(0% Intensity)

The Ultrasonic beam

3.1

Dead zone:

Seen on the CRT as an extension of the initial pulse, the dead zone is the ringing time of
the crystal and it is minimized by the damping medium behind the crystal. Flaws or other
reflectors, lying in this dead zone region of the beam will not be detected. The dead zone
can be seen at the start of the trace on the CRT displaying A scan, but only with single
crystal probes.

3.2

Near zone or Fresnel zone:

In this region of the beam, the sound intensity is variable owing to wave interference,
therefore, reflectors or flaws lying in this zone may appear smaller or larger than their
actual size. The signal heights displayed on the CRT are unpredictable so it is desirable to
keep the near zone length to a minimum.
Near zone length (mm) =

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or

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Where; D = diameter of the crystal (mm)


= wavelength (mm)
f = probe frequency (Hz)
v= test material velocity (mm/s) velocity sometimes denoted as c.
It can be seen from the above formula that the near zone decreased by decreasing crystal
diameter and/or decreasing the probe frequency.

3.3

Far zone or Fraunhoffer zone:

Beyond the near zone the far zone exists, in this region the beam divergence occurs,
resulting in decay in sound intensity as the distance from the crystal increased. For
example just a beam of light from torch gets weaker the further it travels. The amount of
beam divergence depends upon the crystal diameter and probe frequency.

Beam divergence

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Angle of beam divergence;


Sin /2 =

Where;

or

/2 = half beam spread angle,


Note: K factors,
K= a constant
Extreme edge (0% intensity) = 1.22
= wavelength (mm)
6dB or 50% intensity edge = 0.56
D = diameter of the crystal (mm)
20dB or 10% intensity edge =1.08
f = probe frequency (Hz)
v = material velocity

It can be seen from the above beam spread formula, that the beam divergence can be
decreased by increasing the crystal diameter or increasing the probe frequency.
Unfortunately this will extend the length of the near zone. So in probe design there is a
compromise to obtain a minimal beam spread and shorter near zone.
In the far zone of the ultrasonic beam there is no wave interference therefore the sound
intensity is predictable. The sound intensity reduces 100% in the centre to 0% at the edge
of the beam, therefore when the centre of the beam hits the reflector/flaw the amplitude of
the signal on the CRT will be at maximum. The sound intensity also decreases with
greater distance it travels.

D1

D1

D2

Large reflectors
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D2

Small reflectors
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A2 =

A2 =

In the far zone the amplitude of reflected sound from large and small reflectors follow
different laws.
Large Reflectors (larger than the width of the ultrasonic beam) follow the INVERSE
LAW The amplitude is inversely proportional to the distance, i.e. if the distance is
doubled then the signal amplitude is halved (i.e. reduced 6dB).
Small Reflectors Smaller than the width of the ultrasonic beam) follow the INVERSE
SQUARE LAW The amplitude is inversely proportional to the square of the distance. i.e.
if the distance is doubled then the amplitude from the second reflector is one quarter of
the amplitude of the nearer (i.e. reduced 12dB). It is shown in the above figure.

3.4

Side Lobes:

The side lobes are secondary lobes to the primary ultrasonic beam or main lobe that are
formed at the face of a transducer and radiate away from the main lobe. They represent
areas of high and low acoustic intensities and may cause unwanted echoes to be received
by the probe, especially on the rough surfaces, which may be mistaken for flaws on the
CRT. For shear wave probes, the minimum refracted beam angle is approximately 33 to
35, but at these relatively acute angles, side lobes may formed which, although usually
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negligible, may cause spurious indications on the CRT. For this reason it is usually safer
to set the minimum beam angle for shear wave probe in steel at 40
The narrower the main lobe, i.e. the smaller the half angle of the beam, the weaker and
more numerous the side lobes.

3.5

The Ultrasonic Pulse:

In a modern ultrasonic pulse echo flaw detector the pulse of ultrasound is created by
charging a capacitor in the circuitry then suddenly releasing this charge of electrical
energy, about 1Kv to 2Kv, in to the probe. This electrical energy is converted in to a
mechanical vibration by the piezo electric probe. The ultrasonic vibrations are formed by
the collapse of the crystal after the electrical energy removed. The behavior of the crystal,
on collapse can be linked to the behavior of a spring when it is stretched then released.
The spring will return to its former shape. This cycle of expansion and contraction is what
form ultrasonic pulse.
Maximum expansion

crystal
Original size
time

Maximum contraction
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3.6

Pulse length and Damping

A pulse of ultrasound from a piezo-electric crystal has a length or width of several


vibrations or wavelengths. When you strike a bell it continues to ring for several seconds
as the metal continues to vibrate. The vibrations get steadily weaker and the sound dies
away. If you put your hand on the bell you stop the vibrations and the sound dies away
more quickly - you dampen the sound.
A piezo-electric crystal continues to vibrate after it is hit by an electrical charge. This
affects sensitivity, as the longer the pulse length, the worse the resolution. In most probes
a slug of tungsten loaded Araldite is placed behind the crystal to cut down the ringing time
and to shorten the pulse length. Pulse length (or width) is also sometimes called wave train
length. EN 1330 Part 4 which defines it as the leading and trailing edges of a pulse
measured at a defined level below the peak amplitude.

Crystal

The length of pulse is unacceptable since in order to show separate, clear reflected signals
on the CRT then the pulses must be short and sharp. To shorten the pulses the ultrasonic
crystal must be damped with backing medium which absorbs the sound energy, for
example in much same way as a shock absorber fitted to a spring on a motor vehicle

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dampens the vibration of the suspension. In this way the pulse length can be reduced to
between 3 and 5 cycles.

3.7

Pulse Repetition Frequency (P.R.F.):

The pulse repetition frequency (P.R.F.) or pulse prepetition range (P.R.R.) is the number
of pulses ultrasonic energy that leaves from the probe in a given time (usually per second).
The P.R.F is sometimes called as time base frequency. Each pulse of energy that leaves
from the probe must return before the next pulse leaves otherwise they collides each other
and causing ghost or spurious indication appear on the CRT. The time taken between for
the pulse travel from the probe and return is known as transit time. The time taken
between pulses leaving from the probe is known as clock interval. Therefore it can be
stated that the transit time must be shorter than the clock interval or ghosting occurs.
Practically speaking the clock interval should be around five times the transit time.
Transit time (sec) =

Clock Interval (sec) =


Clock Interval;
Minimum = Transit time; Practical = 5 X Transit time

Modes of Propagation:

Sound waves propagate due to the vibrations or oscillatory motions of particles within a
material. Within a freely vibrating medium each particle is subject to both inertial and
elastic forces. These forces cause particles to exhibit oscillatory motions.

4.1 Compression or longitudinal waves:


Probes that produce compression waves will normally have an incident and
refracted angle of, or close to, 0. These waves travel through a medium causing the
particles of the material to oscillate parallel to the direction of wave propagation and
consist of alternate compression and dilation pressure waves.

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Sound travels through air in the compressional mode at 332m/sec. It travels through water
at 1480/sec, through Perspex at 2730m/sec, through steel at5920m/sec and through
aluminium at 6320m/sec. Sound can only travel through air and water in the
compressional mode. Sound can travel through Perspex, steel and aluminium in modes
other than the compressional modes.

4.2

Shear or Transverse waves:

Particles vibrate at 90 to the direction of propagation. In the shear or transverse mode,


molecules of a solid move rather like beach balls floating on the surface of the sea - they
move up and down as a wave passes. This mode travels in solids only. Because solid has
rigidity as well as elasticity. Air and water, like other gases and liquids, do not have
rigidity. Shear or transverse waves cannot travel in gases of liquids for this reason.

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The speed of sound in the shear or transverse mode is less than it is in the compression or
longitudinal mode. The Shear speed of sound in steel is3250 meters per second and in
aluminium 3130m/sec. obviously there is no shear or transverse speed for air or water.

4.3 Boundary Waves:


These forms of propagation can only occur when a solid to gas interface is
present. If the objects were immersed, these modes would be fully attenuated.

4.4 Rayleigh or Surface Waves:


Surface waves are formed when shear waves refract to 90. The whip-like
particle vibration of the shear wave is converted into an elliptical motion by
the particles changing direction at the interface with the surface.
These waves are not often used in industrial N.D.T. although they do have
some applications in the aerospace industry. Their mode of propagation is
elliptical along the surface of a material, penetrating to a depth of one
wavelength. They will follow the contour of a surface and they travel at
approximately 90% the velocity of shear waves.
Where sharp changes in contour occur, such as a corner edge, reflected
energy will return to the probe.

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4.5

Lamp or Plate Waves:

Lamb or plate waves propagate in thin plate materials when the plate thickness is about
the same as the wavelength. Lamb or plate waves travel at velocities which vary with the
plate thickness and the wavelength. Particle motion is elliptical, as with surface waves.
They are a combination of compression and surface or shear and surface
waves causing the plate material to flex by totally saturating the material

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5.

Ultrasound generation:

Sound is created when something vibrates. It is a stress wave of mechanical energy. The
first people to observe the piezo-electric effect were the Curie brothers who observed it in
quartz crystals.

5.1

The piezo Electric Effect:

The piezo-electric effect changes mechanical energy into electrical energy. It is reversible,
so electrical energy - a voltage - can be changed into mechanical energy or sound, which
is the reverse piezo-electric effect.

5.2

Piezo-electric crystals

As we have said Jacques and Pierre Curie used quartz for their first experiments. Nowadays polarised
ceramics are used instead of quartz crystals.
It was later discovered that by varying the thickness of crystals and subjecting them to a voltage they
could be made to vibrate at different frequencies. Frequency depends on the thickness of the piezoelectric crystal, according to a formula:
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t=
Where;
t = Crystal thickness; V = Velocity of sound in crystal; f = Frequency

Polarized crystals are made by heating up powders to a high temperature, pressing


them into shape allowing to cool in very strong electrical field and it will affects
the atomic structure of the crystal. The limitations of modern polarized crystals are
that they have low mechanical strength, i.e. they are brittle and they have tendency
to age. The advantage however is that they are excellent generators of ultrasound.
The most common crystal materials in use are Barium Titanate and Lead
Zirconate Titanate.
These crystals may be X-cut or Y-cut depending on which orientation they are
sliced, from the crystal material. The crystals used in ultrasonic testing are X-cut
due to the mode of vibration they produce (compressional). This means that the
crystal is sliced with its major plane (the crystal face) perpendicular to the X
axis of the crystal material.

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5.3 Advantage and Limitation of Piezo electric crystals


Crystal material

Advantages

Limitations

Quartz or Silicon
oxide (SiO3)

Good wear resistance


Resistance to ageing

Needs a lot of electrical energy


to produce small amount of
Ultrasound

Insoluble in water

Susceptible to mode change

Easy to cut all frequencies

A high voltage need to give low


frequency sound
Soluble in water.

Lithium Sulphate

(LiSO4)

Best receiver and easily


Damped.
Has very low electrical
Impedance

Break Easily and Decompose at


temperatures above 130 C

Does not age


Has very good resolution
Barium
Titanate(BaTiO3)

Lead
Zirconate(PbZrO3)

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Best transmitter and good


Piezo electric properties.

Depolarize at 100C to 120C,


although piezo electric
properties Start degrade at
May be performed to focus around 70C.
beam.
Deteriorates over a period of
Good sensitivity.
time.
Good piezo electric
properties.

Page 26

Lead Zirconate
Good transmitter and all
Titanate(PbZrO3TiO3) round properties.

6.

Poor silvering.

Factors affecting the propagation of Ultrasound:

The propagation of ultrasonic waves in a material is dependent on the


density and elastic properties of that material and the type of wave transmitted.
The practical considerations which will affect propagation will include:

a) the test material's grain size


b) attenuation (absorption and scatter effects)
c) acoustic impedance of the test material
d) characteristic impedance of inclusions
e) diffraction
f) lack of homogeneity
g) anisotropic materials (The grains are random in orientation and 10 have
different elastic properties in different directions.)

6.1 Total Attenuation Loss


Attenuation is defined as the loss in intensity of the ultrasonic beam as it
passes through a material and is dependent upon the physical properties of the
material.
The two main causes of attenuation are SCATTER and ABSORPTION
Absorption:
The attenuation resulting from transformation of ultrasonic energy into other types of
energy (e.g. thermal). Occurs as the sound pulse hits the molecules of the test material and
makes them vibrate. The energy lost in vibrating the molecules turns to heat. The rate of
absorption varies from one material to another and even from one type of steel to another.
It is very high in Perspex, nylon and lead and is low in aluminium.
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Scatter:
Randomly reflected energy caused by grain structure and/or by small discontinuities in the
beam path. Scatter occurs as sound energy is reflected from grains in the test material. The
larger the grains, the more scatter occurs. The grass at the bottom of the CRT screen is
caused by reflections from grain boundaries in the test material. You see more grass from
cast iron or brass than from small grained materials like refined steel or annealed
aluminium. The longer the wavelength of a sound pulse, the less energy is scattered.
Where the wavelength is smaller than the grain size, a sound pulse is scattered very
quickly. It is for this reason that a low frequency probe, with its longer wavelength, has
greater penetration in a given material than a high frequency probe.

6.2 Acoustic Impedance:


Acoustic impedance (Z) is the resistance of a material to the passage of
ultrasound. It is the product of the material density (p) and sound velocity (v).
i.e. Z = v
It is the acoustic impedance difference between two different materials/mediums
which governs the intensity of ultrasound reflected from the interface
between them. Conversely, the amount of ultrasound passing from one material to
another depends on this difference between the two materials. This difference is
expressed as the acoustic impedance ratio.
Theoretically if an ultrasonic wave was passed through two materials, with the
same acoustic impedance (1:1 ratio), in intimate contact, then no reflection would
occur, i.e. 100% transmission of sound would occur. In practice it is very
difficult to achieve intimate contact without a coupling medium (see next
section). The Couplant would have a different acoustic impedance to the
material and so would affect the amount of sound reflected.
The amount of energy reflected at an interface can calculated with the
following formula:
Where; Z1 and Z2 are the respective
% Reflected Energy =

acoustic impedance of the two materials

It can be seen from above formula that:


High Acoustic Impedance ratio (e.g.20:1) = More Reflected Energy
Low Acoustic Impedance ratio (e.g.1:1) = More transmitted Energy
It can also be seen from the formula that the same amount of energy is
reflected, regardless of which direction the sound is travelling across the interface.
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6.3 Couplant
Because of the very high acoustic impedance ratio of air to a solid material
almost 100% of the energy is reflected at an interface between them (the
basis of flaw detection). Therefore to enable the sound energy to transmit more
readily into the test specimen we have to exclude any air that may be present
between the probe and test surface. This is achieved by substituting the air
with a material that has a closer acoustic impedance ratio to the probe and test
material. This is known as a couplant.
Common couplants are: water, oil, grease, polycell, swarfega and glycerin The
selection of couplant is sometimes based on the post-test use of the material
being tested, e.g. water based couplants may cause rusting or corrosion but are
easier to clean off in preparation for painting or coating when compared to oil or
grease, which may actually protect the material from corrosion.
Viscosity of the couplant may also be a consideration, ideally rough surfaces
require a more viscous couplant to effectively fill the air gaps more
uniformly. Whatever couplant is used for calibration/setting the search
sensitivity, this must be used throughout the subsequent inspection.
The ideal acoustic impedance of Couplant should be in between the acoustic
impedance of the probe and the acoustic impedance of the test material. The ideal
thickness of the layer of couplant should be one quarter of the wavelength of
sound through it.

The Decibel (DB)

The decibel is a logarithmic base unit used to compare sound intensities.


Because we do not know the actual energy being transmitted by a probe, we can
only compare sound intensities being received and express them as a ratio, e.g.
twice as much, ten times as much etc..
A change in sound intensity, expressed in dB, can be measured by comparing
signal heights on a calibrated CRT. The change in dB is given by the formula:

dB = 20

Where HI and H2 are the respective signal heights.

By transposing the formula it is possible to determine the ratio of the signal


heights when the dB difference is known.
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The gain/attenuator controls on a conventional ultrasonic flaw detector are


calibrated in decibels, i.e. if we reduce the intensity of ultrasound by 6dB any
signal on the CRT will drop to half its original height. If we reduce or increase
the intensity by 20dB then the signal will reduce to a tenth or increase by ten
times its original height respectively.
It is important to note that on certain flaw detectors, if reject or suppression is
used to remove small unwanted signals from the display, then the linearity of
the amplifier, and hence the other signals will be adversely affected, i.e. a 6dB
drop will not reduce the signal by 50%.
Table of approximate dB drops:
dB

H2

Drop

H1:H2 ratio

20

10%

90%

10:1

14
12

20%
25%

80%
75%

5:1
4:1

10

33%

67%

3:1

6
2

50%
80%

50%
20%

2:1
5:4

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Snells Law:

When sound waves pass obliquely (not at 90o) between materials having different
acoustic velocities the direction of sound propagation is changed on passing through the
interface and the sound wave is said to have been refracted.
Light and sound are both refracted when passing from one medium to another with
different velocities and this means that objects seen across an interface appear to be
shifted relative to where they really are.
8.0
Reflection

Ultrasonic waves are reflected by objects or interfaces placed in their path. When striking
a spectacular (mirror like) reflector the angle at which this reflection takes place is
governed by the law of reflection, which states:
Angle of incidence (i) = Angle of reflection(r)

8.1

Refraction:

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Snells law states that the ratio between sound speed in two materials is the same as the
ratio between the sin of the incident and refracted angles (measured for the vertical angle).
It equates the ratio of material velocities v1 and v2 to the ratio of the sines of incident and
refracted angles.

If we want to make a probe transmitting a shear wave at a certain angle, we have to


transpose this formula:
Sin angle incidence =
Sin I =
However, with incident angles less than 27, both compression and shear waves are
generated in the steel. This makes interpretation very confusing. To get a shear wave on its
own, the angle of incidence must be more than 27.4, called the first critical angle. This
gives a shear wave of 33 (the lowest standard angle probe manufactured is 35).

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Two sound modes


If the incident angle is above 57.14. The shear wave is replaced by a surface wave. This
angle is called the second critical angle.

Critical angles
The largest probe angle you can get from manufacturers without a special order is 80. So
shear waves on their own in steel are only possible with incident angles between 27.4 and
57.14, using a perspex wedge. This is of course worked out by the probe manufacturers
and it must be borne in mind that a probe which gives a refracted angle of 45 in steel will
give a different refracted angle in other materials.

8.2

Critical angle calculation:

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Snells law can be used for working out critical angles in non-ferrous metals. Indeed, if we
are immersion scanning the incident material is water, so a whole new set of angles need
to be worked out.
The first critical angle is the incident angle at which the compression wave in the test
material is generated at 90. So using Snells law:

Sin 90 = 1

Sin I =
The second critical angle is the incident angle at which a shear wave is generated in the
material at 90. Use Snells law again:

Sin 90 = 1

Sin I =
Sin I = 0.8425;

8.3

I = 57.4

Mode conversion:

When sound travels in a solid material, one form of wave energy can be transformed into
another. When a longitudinal wave strikes an interface at
an angle, some of the energy can cause particle movement in the transverse direction to
start a shear (transverse) wave. This phenomenon is referred to as mode conversion and
will occur every time a wave encounters an interface between materials of different
acoustic impedance and the incident angle is not at 90o to the interface. Mode conversion
can, therefore, cause numerous spurious indications to arise during an inspection which
the inspector must eliminate.

8.4 Diffraction:
This occurs when sound waves pass the tip of a narrow reflector. Some of the
sound scatters off the tip causing waves in different directions that reinforce or
cancel out the original waves. This results in a series of high and low intensity
waves radiating out from the tips, giving the impression of sound bending around
the edges of the defect.
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Equipment:

9.1 Probes:
The angle of a probe used in ultrasonic testing is measured from a line
drawn perpendicular to the test surface. This line is known as the normal. A 0
probe then is one which transmits sound at 90 to the test surface. Also known as
a normal probe, this probe usually transmits compressional or longitudinal
waves. A 60 angle probe would transmit sound at 60 to the normal, i.e. 30
from the surface. The most common angle probes transmit shear waves
(although angled compression probes do exist for special applications) and the
manufacturers quote the angle of the probe for use on mild steel.

9.1.1 Twin Crystal probe:


Electrical Connectors

Cork Separator
Backing Medium
Crystals
Casing

Perspex Shoes

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Double probes have two crystals, one transmits and the other receives
ultrasound. The cork separator in between the shoes prevents "cross-talk" or
"chatter" between the crystals. Using oil as a Couplant may eventually break
down the acoustic barrier and produce spurious standing echoes on the display.
Having separate crystals eliminates the dead zone' on the display, enabling the
detection of near-surface defects. These probes are therefore useful for
testing thin sections, e.g. thickness gauging and examining for near surface
flaws. The crystals may be focused to give a focal point at the ideal beam path
range to be examined.

9.1.2 Compressional wave probes:


Compression probes generate compressional or longitudinal waves in test materials and
are sometimes called normal degree probes. A typical compression probe comprises a
crystal in a metal or plastic housing, with wires from a connection bonded to it, which
carry the electrical pulse from the flaw detector and cause the crystal to vibrate. Behind
the crystal is mounted damping material to restrict the vibration and in front is a plastic
disc to prevent crystal wear.

9.1.3

Single crystal angle probe:

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Single crystal probes have one crystal that transmits and receives ultrasound. The
flaw detector controls the process by transmitting a pulse of energy then
switching the circuit to receive, listening for any returning sound, in between
pulses. The circuitry can be switched quicker than the crystal can be damped.
So the receiver picks up the last few vibrations of the crystal, as it switches in,
and displays them on the screen as the dead zone. This eliminates the possibility
of detecting near-surface defects.
Angle probes have a Perspex shoe, on which the crystal sits, that can be
machined to any angle. The angle of the wedge determines the angle that the
ultrasound strikes the interface (incident angle). This in turn, according to Snell's
law, controls the angle that the sound will propagate through the test material
(refracted angle). Damping material on the back of the crystal (also known as a
backing slug) controls the length of the ultrasonic pulses by absorbing the sound
energy, producing short sharp pulses. The length of the pulse is the main factor
in determining the resolution of the equipment. The most common damping
backing medium is Tungsten Araldite.
SHORT PULSE LENGTH/WIDTH/DURATION MEANS GOOD RESOLUTION.
9.1.4 Immersion probes:

These types of probes are designed for use where the test part is immersed in water. They
are typically used inside a water tank or as part of a squirter or bubbler system in scanning
applications. Immersion transducers usually have an impedance matching layer that helps
to get more sound energy into the water and in turn, into the component being inspected.
Immersion transducers can be purchased in a flat, cylindrically or spherically focused lens.
A focused transducer can improve sensitivity and axial resolution by concentrating the
sound energy to a smaller area.

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9.1.5 Delay line probes:


Delay line probe, this name implies, introduce a time delay between the generation of the
sound wave and the arrival of any reflected waves. This allows the crystal to complete its
transmission function before it begins to receive returning signals. Delay line transducers
are recommended for applications that require a contact transducer with good near-surface
resolution and are designed for use in applications such as high precision thickness
gauging of thin materials and lamination checks in composite materials. They are also
useful in high-temperature measurement applications since the delay line provides some
insulation to the piezo-electric element from the heat.

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9.1.6 Wheel type probe:


In this probe the crystal is within the axle of the wheel and the sound travels
through the soft tyre into the test material. The spring loaded joint allows the
probe to follow the contour of the surface so it can be used on rough or uneven
surfaces. It is used in 40 a similar way to the water gap probe. The main advantage
of this type of probe is that it removes the requirement of externally applied
couplant, mainly used in aerospace industries.

9.1.7 Water gap or gap scanning probe:


This consists of a water jacket with a nozzle at the end and a probe inside. Water is
fed into the jacket and flows out through the nozzle, forming a column of water, to
the test surface, through which the sound can travel. Because of the flexibility of
the coupling 90 medium, (water) the probe can be used on rough or uneven
surfaces. These probes are usually used in automated ultrasonic scanning
systems and can be set up, using a guide wheel to follow the contour of a
component. They can also be used in arrays to scan a wider area.

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9.1.8 Magnetostrictive or Electromagnetic acoustic Transducers


(EMATs):
A feature of probes using piezo-electric crystals is that they require mechanical coupling
between themselves and the solid under inspection. This is achieved either by immersing
them in a tank filled with a fluid (usually water) or directly by the use of a thin (less than
one quarter of the wavelength) fluid layer between the two. When shear waves are to be
transmitted, the fluid is also generally selected to have a significant viscosity. The acoustic
impedance of the couplant layer should also have a value somewhere between that of the
probe and the material being tested. Electromagnetic acoustic transducers (EMATs) rely
upon a totally different physical principle. When a wire is placed near the surface of an
electrically conducting object and a current of the required ultrasonic frequency is applied,
eddy currents will be induced in a near-surface region of the object. EMAT probes are
used for the detection of flaws and the determination of material properties such as precise
velocity or attenuation measurement. They do not require the use of couplant and as such
can operate without contact at elevated temperatures and in remote locations.
EMAT probes are, however, inefficient and require strong magnetic fields and large
currents to produce ultrasound that is often weaker than that produced by piezo-electric
transducers. Rare-earth materials such as samarium-cobalt and neodymium-iron-boron are
often used to produce sufficiently strong magnetic fields, which may also be generated by
pulsed electromagnets.

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Used for detecting defective bar stock, the transducer coil has a magnetic field
that is switching at ultrasonic frequency. This field causes the bar stock to
vibrate at an ultrasonic frequency and the vibrations travel along the length of
the bar. When the vibrations reach the other end of the bar, they reflect back
and are then picked up by the transducer (in receive mode) and register on
the detector. The equipment is calibrated off a defect free piece of bar stock to
register a specific value on the detector and defective bar stock is recognized by a
change in this value.

9.2

Probe Frequency, Bandwidth & Damping:

An ultrasonic probe transmits sound at a range of frequencies, not just at the


stated frequency, this is known as the bandwidth. For example a 5MHz probe
may produce a frequency range of 4 to 6MHz. The bandwidth is also an
indication of the damping factor.

Broad Band Probes


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Narrow Band Probes


Page 41

They are highly damped


A short ringing time (dead zone)
Have a short pulse length
(typically 1 to 2 cycles)
Better resolving power
Poor penetration

They have low damping


A long ringing time (dead zone)
Have a longer pulse length
(typically 3 or 4 cycles)
Poor resolution
Good penetration

9.2.1 Probe Selection


The selection of probes for ultrasonic inspection is influenced by various aspects
of the test and the particular material under test. These may include; the type
and size of defect being sought, the type of material under test and the distance
the sound has to travel through the material. Probe angle is another
consideration when searching for defects at different orientations throughout the
material.
Below is a table of properties of probes using the two criteria that we can
select, i.e. frequency and diameter.

Effects of frequency
Low Frequency

High Frequency

Long Wavelength
More beam spread
Shorter near zone
Better penetration
Less attenuation
Less sensitivity
Longer dead zone

Short wavelength
Less beam spread
Longer near zone
Less penetration
More attenuation
Higher sensitivity
Shorter dead zone

Effects of Diameter
Large Diameter

Small diameter

Less beam spread


Longer near zone

More beam spread


Shorter near zone

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Better penetration
Less attenuation
Difficult coupling on curved Surfaces
More coverage on flat surfaces

Less penetration
More attenuation
Easier coupling on Curved Surfaces
Less coverage on flat surfaces

Another consideration is whether to use a single crystal or a combined double


crystal probe. The advantages of a single crystal probe are; better penetration,
for the same size probe as a double, because the effective transmitter crystal
diameter is larger, no focal point, i.e. it works effectively over a longer range
and cost (cheaper). The main advantage of a double crystal probe, is that there
is no dead zone on the screen, this means better near surface resolution can be
achieved.
It can be seen from the tables that higher frequency probes have a higher
sensitivity. In this context, sensitivity refers to the ability to detect small defects.
The higher the probe frequency the smaller the wavelength and the smaller the
size of reflector the probe can detect. It is generally accepted that the
smallest reflector a probe can detect is half the probe's wavelength. So a
probe with a long wavelength (low frequency) will not detect small
reflectors, such as small defects or grain boundaries and so the sound will
penetrate further through the material because it is not reflected at these small
interfaces.

9.3

The Ultrasonic Flaw detector:

9.3.1 Principles
The ultrasonic flaw detector, the UT set, sends a voltage down a coaxial cable, sometimes
called the lead to a probe. The piezo-electric crystal in the probe is hit by the voltage and
vibrates. The vibration creates an ultrasonic pulse which enters the test material. The pulse
travels through the material until it strikes a reflector and is reflected back to the probe. It
re-enters the probe, hits the crystal and vibrates it, causing it to generate a voltage. The
voltage causes a current which travels back to the flaw detector along the cable. The set
displays the time the pulse has taken through the test material and back and the strength of
the pulse as a signal on the CRT screen.
This is basically how a UT set works. It transmits energy into material via a probe and
measures the time in microseconds that the sound pulse takes to return to the probe. The
controls on the UT set are almost entirely concerned with presenting a display on the CRT
screen for the operator to interpret.
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9.3.2 Cathode ray tube


The cathode ray tube is a device for measuring very small periods of time. The CRT
displays electrical pulses on a screen in a linear time/distance relationship. That is, the
longer the distance on the screen time base, the longer the time that has been measured.
How the CRT works
A filament is heated in a vacuum tube. The heat causes the particles of the filament to
vibrate and electrons start boiling out of the surface, a process known as thermionic
emission.
A positive potential electric charge in position further down the vacuum tube and the
negatively charged electrons from the filament are attracted towards it. The electrons pass
through a negatively charged focusing ring which pushes them towards the centre of the
tube, forcing them into a fine stream. This stream of electrons hits a phosphor covered
screen at the end of the tube. The electron bombardment forces the phosphor to give out
light and a green dot appears on the screen.
The X and Y plates above, below and beside the electron stream carry potentials that
move the electron stream from side to side and up and down, moving the green dot on the
screen.

The X plates control horizontal movement and the Y plates control vertical movement.
By altering the potential of the X and Y plates, the dot can be moved on the screen.

9.3.3 The Pulse Generator:


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The pulse Generator is also known as the clock or timer this circuit
controls the synchronization of the flaw detector. It sends an electrical
signal to the timebase generator and to the pulse transmitter
simultaneously.
These electrical signal frequencies are known as
PRF/PRR
(Pulse
Repetition
Frequency/Pulse
Repetition
Rate). It is usually controlled automatically by the range (coarse) control
setting, this in turn ultimately controls the maximum depth of inspection and the
ultimate scanning speed.

9.3.4 The Timebase generator:


The timbase generator is also known as sweep generator, upon receiving
the electrical signal from the pulse generator this circuit controls the voltage
or charge on the X-plates causing the electron beam in the cathode ray tube to
sweep across the screen in a linear motion.

9.3.5 The Pulse transmitter:


The pulse transmitter or pulser circuit, the electrical signal from the pulse
generator triggers this circuit to send a burst of electrical energy, about 1 to 2Kv,
to activate the probe.

9.3.6 The probe or search unit:


It converts the electrical energy, sent by the pulse transmitter, into pulses of
ultrasound by means of a piezo electric crystal (Tx). The returning
ultrasound from the test material is converted back into electrical energy by the
probe (Rx) and sent to the amplifier.

9.3.7 The Amplifier:


The receiver amplifier circuit accepts and amplifies the incoming electrical
pulses. The amplification required is about 10,000 to 100,000 times and the
output must be linear with the input. The amplifier must also be capable of
accepting a range of different frequency signals to accommodate the range of
probe frequencies used.

Broad band amplifiers, accept a very wide array of frequencies producing an


accurate representation of signal shape. This enhances defect interpretation (type)
but the signal to noise ratio will be poor, so defect detection may be
adversely affected, i.e. a reduction in sensitivity, because of high noise (or grass)
levels.

Narrow band amplifiers, on the other hand, suppress the parts of the signal
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that are outside the frequency band that it operates at (the pass frequency).
This creates a cleaner signal (although not a true representation of the input
signal), which means that the gain (amplification) can be increased which in
turn enhances defect detectability (sensitivity). The disadvantage of this is that
the altered shape of the signal means that defect interpretation is more difficult.

9.3.8 The Attenuator or gain


It controls reduces the amplification from the amplifier by
controlling the voltage or charge on the Y-plates in the C.R.T., which will
control signal heights, bringing them down to a readable level. The controls
works on a logarithmic base and it does not affect the linearity of the amplifier.

9.3.9 Suppression or reject


It reduces the grass or noise level on the display by effectively 10 raising the
time base, but in doing this it destroys amplifier linearity. Usually reserved
for taking thickness measurements. Some modem digital flaw detectors have a
"linear reject" function which does not destroy amplifier linearity and shows
the amount of reject in use as a percentage of display height, e.g. 50% reject
indicates that all signals below 50% screen height have been removed but the
remaining signals are still the same height as before.

10 Calibration Blocks:
Tolerances: Wherever practical the limits on dimensions should be 0.1
mm.
Materials: Steel blocks are made from low or medium carbon ferritic steel
killed), normalized to produce a fine grained homogenous structure throughout.
10.1 The international institute of welding (I. I.W.) block
Also referred to as Block No.1, A2, V1, DIN54/120 or dutch block.

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0 COMPRESSION PROBE USES

10.1.1 Calibration:
0 probe calibration can be set using back wall echoes (BWE) off the
various thicknesses available, i.e. 5, 10, 25, 100 and 200mm. It can also be
checked (rough) on the 23mm thick perspex insert which gives a reading of
50mm when calibrated on steel (the ratio of sound velocity in steel to the
velocity in perspex is 5960m/s to 2740m/s = 50:23). A minimum of two
echoes are required for calibration with 0 probes. The 91mm step in the
block serves to calibrate the screen for use with shear wave probes by using a
compression probe. If a 0 probe is placed over the 91mm and the echoes placed
at 5 and 10 on the graticule then the screen is calibrated for a range of 0 to
182mm compressional. This is equivalent to 0 to 100mm shear, the ratio of the
velocities of compression to shear waves is 1.82:1 (5960m/s:3240m/s).

10.1.2 Dead zone measurement (single crystal probe):


Place the probe over the 5mm section. If the signal is visible outside the dead
zone then the dead zone is less than 5mm. If the signal is not visible then place
the probe on the I Omm section. If the signal is now visible then the dead zone
is greater than 5mm but less than 10mm. If the signal is still not visible then go
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on to the 15mm deep hole. This procedure can be carried out with an
uncalibrated screen. An alternative method would be to calibrate the screen
and read the length of the dead zone off the flaw detector graticule.

10.1.3 Resolution:
The resolution of a 0 probe can be checked by using the three different
thickness sections around the slot below the centre of the 100mm radius. Place
the probe above the slot and with a calibrated screen note the separation between
the 85, 91 and 100mm signals.

10.1.4 Probe output:


Place the 0 probe on the perspex insert and note the number of BWEs. A good
probe should give three BWEs.

10.1.5 Finding the probe index


The point at which the centre of the beam leaves the probe and enters the test material is
called the probe index or emission point. It should be marked on each side of the probe
and checked regularly. As the probe surface wears down, the probe index can change.
Stand-off measurements are taken from the probe index and are used to check the probe
angle, another check that the UT technician must perform regularly, so it is the master
reference point or datum.
To find the probe index place the probe on a V1 block and obtain an echo from the
100mm radius and establish at more than 50%FSH using the gain control. Maximise the
echo by moving the probe backwards and forwards. Mark a line on each side of the probe
directly above the slots which indicate the centre of the 100mm radius. This is the probe
index, where the axis of the beam leaves the perspex shoe.

10.1.6 Checking the probe angle


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For a 45 or 60 probe place it on the V1 block approximately adjacent to where the


appropriate angle is inscribed, and directed at the plastic insert. Obtain a signal on the
screen from the plastic insert and maximise it. Find the position where the probe index
coincides with the angle indicated on the side of the V1 block and this will tell you the
probe angle.
This procedure can be repeated for a 70 probe but reflecting the energy
from the plastic insert radius is unreliable. Therefore we suggest you use the 1.5mm hole
as a target.

10.1.7 Shear probe output:


Maximise the signal from the 100mm radius and adjust to full screen height,
using the gain, and note the dB figure indicated on the controls. This figure
can be used to compare different probes or to check the probe in use, daily, for
deterioration.

10.2 BLOCK No.2, A4, V2, DIN54/122 OR KIDNEY BLOCK

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COMPRESSION PROBE USES


10.2.1 Calibration:
This block can be obtained in various thicknesses, although the current standards in
use for ultrasonic calibration blocks may only mention 12.5, 20 or 25 mm.
The repeat signals secured from this through thickness can be used to calibrate the
0 probe.

10.2.2 SHEAR PROBE USES:


Probe calibration: With the probe aiming towards the 25mm radius,
signals occur at; 25mm, 100mm, 175mm, 250mm, 325mm, 400mm, etc.
With the probe facing the other way, toward the 50mm radius, the signals
occur at; 50mm, 125mm, 200mm, 275mm, 350mm, 425mm, etc.
To calibrate; the radius which gives the easiest signals, within the range
selected, to align on the graticule should be selected.

10.2.3 Index or sound exit point:


Using the 25mm or the 50mm radius, maximise the reflected signal and
mark the position of the central graduation (the centre of the radiuses) onto
the probe. (It is recommended however that block no.1 is more accurate for this
check).

10.2.4 Probe angle check:


Maximise the echo from the drilled hole and check the angle from the position of
the index point.

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10.3 INSTITUTE OF WELDING (I.O.W.) /A5 BLOCK:


This block contains four transverse holes of 1.5mm dia. drilled at depths
of 13, 19, 25 and.43 mm from the tap, each one drilled 22mm deep

Dead zone measurements, resolution and shear probe angle checks can only be
approximated on the A2/A4 blocks, Specific blocks such as the A5, A6 and
A7 should be used for more accurate reproducible results as quoted in associated
standards, i. e. BS EN 12668: Part 3.
This block can be used as a calibration block with a compression probe,
however, its main use is as a reference block with either compression or shear
wave probes. Its two most common uses are for plotting the beam profile and
for setting test sensitivity, using the various individual side drilled holes as
reference reflectors.
The five side drilled holes on one side of the block that are drilled close
together may be useful to check the resolution capabilities of angle probes.

10.3.1 Beam spread


Example: 20 dB drop beam spread (vertical)
Although the beam spread can be calculated, it is usually plotted out practically
using the A5 block and a range of different depths of reference holes. Before
plotting the beam profile the probe index point should be checked. The probe is
placed above one of the holes, then by moving the probe back and forth, the
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signal from the hole is maximised and the gain adjusted to give a signal at
100% full screen height. The position of the index point is then marked onto
the block. The probe is then moved forward until the signal falls to 10% screen
height and again the position of the index point is marked onto the block. The
hole is now in the 10% (-20dB) intensity trailing edge of the beam and the
distance between the two marks on the block represents the
distance from the centre to the 20dB trailing edge of the beam at the depth of the
hole. The procedure is then repeated in the opposite driection (backwards) to
find the leading edge of the beam.
This is repeated on several (a minimum of three) different depths of hole to
find the profile of the beam. The marks on the block can be transferred to a
graph to give a pictorial representation of the beam and/or transferred to a
plotting system for use in plotting and sizing defects.

11.0 0 PROBE SCANNING


11.1 CALIBRATION
The initial pulse or main bang is a test signal that the flaw detector creates
and has no significance for calibration. It usually lies just off to the left of a
calibrated screen.

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When an ultrasonic probe is placed on to a piece of steel, some of the ultrasound


in the probe reflects off the interface between the probe shoe and the steel
and some is transmitted through into the steel. When the transmitted
energy strikes the back surface of the steel it virtually all reflects off the steel
to air interface and returns to the steel to perspex interface. Here some energy
transmits into the probe and creates the first signal (1) and the rest reflects
back inside the steel and the process repeats itself, creating the repeat signals,
(2 etc.) until the energy decays away. The spacing between the echoes represents
the thickness of the steel, so if we place the probe on a A2 block on the 25mm
thickness, then the echoes are 25mm apart. Note. If we are using a single crystal
probe then the initial energy that reflected back into the probe will create a
signal at the start of the screen (F) which will be very close to the initial
pulse and there will also be a dead zone visible on the CRT. If we are using
a double crystal probe (separate transmit and receive crystals) then there
will be no signal from the front surface and no dead zone visible.
F

1 2

1
2

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11.1.2 To CALIBRATE A 0 PROBE TO A RANGE OF: 0 TO 100 MM


Apply couplant to the A2 block and place the probe on the 25mm thickness to
obtain multiple echoes. We require a range of 100mm on the screen so four
echoes would fit in to this range, so we adjust the coarse range control to give
us about four echoes on the screen. We then adjust the delay control to
position the first backwall echo a quarter of the way along the screen and the
fine range control to position the fourth echo at the end of the screen. This
procedure is repeated until all four echoes take up their respective positions
(see sketch). The same basic procedure applies to different ranges using
different thicknesses. By dividing the range by the thickness we can
obtain the number of echoes required and by evenly spacing the echoes on the
screen the desired range is achieved.

CALIBRATION EXERCISES
Using the VI block:
Calibrate the timebase for:
100 mm range using the 25 mm thickness Method: Multiple BWE
200 mm range using the 25 mm thickness Method: Multiple BWE
400 mm range using the 25 mm thickness Method: Multiple BW
100 mm range using the 100 mm thickness Method: Delay technique
200 mm range using the 100 mm thickness Method: Multiple BWE
400 mm range using the 100 mm thickness Method: Multiple BWE
20 mm range using the 10 mm thickness Method: Multiple BWE
10 mm range using the 5 mm thickness Method: Multiple BWE
10 mm range using the 10 mm thickness Method: Delay technique
1000 mm range using the 200 mm thickness Method: Multiple BWE

11.1.3 ACCURATE MEASUREMENT


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For accurate beam path measurement, such as thickness surveying using a


flaw detector, the achievable accuracy is determined by the range selection. For
example if the range is set to 100 mm full screen, then each large graticule division
is 10 mm and each small division is 2 mm. This means that the most accurate that
you could read the screen, by judging the halfway distance between the
divisions, would be 1 mm. However, the manufacturers of analogue flaw
detectors using a C.R.T., can only guarantee the horizontal (time base)
linearity of the display to be within 2% of the whole time base. This means that
an echo could be one small division (or 2 mm on the 100 mm range scale) out of
position, so the guaranteed accuracy would normally have a tolerance of d2% of
the range (the same size as one small division).
Timebase range

Large division

Small division

Read accuracy

500 mm
200 mm
100mm

50 mm
20 mm
10 mm

10 mm
4 mm
2 mm

5 mm
2 mm
1mm

50 mm
20 mm

5 mm
2 mm

1mm
0.4 mm

0.5 mm
0.2 mm

10 mm

1 mm

0.2 mm

0.1mm

11.1.4 MULTIPLE BACK WALL METHOD


Another method of reading accurate thickness measurements is to use the
multiple backwall method. This involves calibrating the screen to a larger
range then reading the nth repeat signal from the thickness and dividing the
reading by n, where n is the clearest signal that you can read the furthest along
the screen.

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In this example the third signal read off


the screen at a beam path of 45mm
The thickness can be calculated by:
45/3 = 15mm

11.2

Different materials

When testing materials other than steel, the velocity of the sound wave may
be different. If this is the case, then the difference in velocity between the material
under test and the calibration block must be taken into consideration and used to
compensate for the difference in readings obtained. Alternatively, a calibration
block made of the same material as the test material must be obtained. The
following formula can be used to compensate when the CRT is calibrated using a
steel calibration block
Actual Thickness = Material Velocity x Timbase Reading
Calibration Block Velocity
If the sound velocity in a material is not known but the actual thickness can
be physically measured, then the velocity can be calculated by transposing the
above formula thus:
Velocity = Actual Thickness x Calibration Block Velocity
Timebase Reading

11.2.1 DEFECT DETECTION


When using a 0 probe to search for defects we must consider the following.
Which range should be used, for accuracy and through thickness coverage?
Probe selection, is taking into account material attenuation and defect size. What
level of test sensitivity to use to ensure that defects which are considered
harmful to the product (not necessarily all flaws are considered harmful),
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are located and to assure that reproducible test results can be obtained, by
different operators, using different manufacturers equipment. Probe and
range selection have been covered in previous sections' of these notes, setting
sensitivity is as follows

11.3 SENSITIVITY
There are various methods of setting the test sensitivity these
include:
Back wall echo level method (0 probes only)
Grass level
Using a reference reflector
Using a graph or curve plotted from reference reflectors

11.3.1 Back wall echo (B.W.E.)


The backwall echo method involves coupling the probe to the test
material and increasing the gain until the back wall echo is at the predetermined level. The level can be varied in several ways, e.g. if the second
back wall echo (B.W.E) is set to full screen height (FSH) this would be
more
sensitive
than
setting
the
first
B.W.E
to
FSH.
Another way is to set the B.W.E to a lower level (less sensitive) or to
set it to a percentage of FSH and add a pre-determined number of dBs to
the gain (increase sensitivity). The B.W.E method can obviously only be
used with 0 probes since reflections off the back surface, when using angle
probes, do not return to the probe.

11.3.2 Grass
The grass or grain interference method involves coupling the probe to the test
surface and increasing the gain until the reflections from the grain structure of
the material reach a pre-determined level. This is often quoted as 2 mm
3
mm in height at the maximum test depth but ideally should be referenced as a
percentage of full screen height as not all flaw detectors use the same
dimension screen The sensitivity can be adjusted by increasing or decreasing
the level or by adding or subtracting dBs to or from the gain.

11.3.3 Reference reflectors


A common method of setting sensitivity is to set a maximised signal from a
reference reflector, at target depth, to a predetermined level, for example full
screen height. The reference reflector could take the form of a known reflector,
e.g. A transverse side drilled hole, a flat bottom hole, a slot or a vee notch, or it
could be a real, or simulated, defect of known size and type.
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11.3.4 Distance amplitude curve


All reflectors in the reference block are scanned before the test, their maximum echo
heights marked on the attachment scale of the display and joined by a curve, The curve
produced is called the Distance Amplitude Curve, or DAC for short. When a
discontinuity echo appears, an immediate assessment can be made whether or not the
discontinuity echo exceeds the DAC. In addition to this a determination is made, by a
corresponding gain change, to see by how many dBs an echo exceeds the curve. This
excess recording echo height (EREH) is our reproducible measure for the evaluation and
reporting of the discontinuity.

Reference block with side drilled holes and resulting echoes

The advantages of the reference block method with a DAC are:


1. That it is no longer necessary to compare each discontinuity echo with the
corresponding reference echo from the reference block but to directly make the evaluation
with the DAC.
2. That the heavy reference block need not be transported to the testing location.
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3. That the recording of a DAC for certain applications is only required once becausethe
curve is documented on a transparency or in the memory of a modern ultrasonic test
instrument.
By recording the curve using reflectors in a test object comparable to the work piece, this
curve contains all the influences in the test object (distance law, sound attenuation, and
surface losses). Corresponding corrections are therefore not necessary. Regarding the
evaluation results, we must understand here that the effect of the discontinuity (geometry,
orientation and surface quality) is not taken a great deal into account the same as the DGS
method. Therefore, the result of a discontinuity evaluation with the reference block
method has the same uncertainty as the DGS method.
The preference regarding which method to use is subjective. The corresponding national
test specifications normally state the test method to be used so that the operator is not able
to make his own decision. If no data is available, the test situation should be analyzed in
order to decide which method be best used:
Firstly, it must be established whether a reference block exists which corresponds to the
test object. If yes, then the test can be carried out simply and reproducibly with the
reference block method. If no reference block is available then the DGS method can be
used, or a reference block must be subsequently produced comparable to the test object.
However, in many cases the DGS method can be used without difficulty, namely when the
test object is made of low alloy steel, has a simple geometry, a low sound attenuation and
an even surface quality. The test should be carried out with a narrow band standard probe
with a frequency between 1 MHz and 6 MHz for which there is a DGS diagram or a DGS
scale.
The new computer controlled instruments normally support the program controlled
recording of DACs. With the USD 10 the recorded DAC is automatically converted to a
horizontal line. This is known as time corrected gain (TCG).
The recording curve is therefore an horizontal line so that the evaluation can be visually
and acoustically supported using a monitor gate (flaw alarm), Fig. 70a-c. At the same
time for each echo, the excess recording echo height is displayed in dB (DBR value in the
measurement line of the USD 10) in addition to the data for discontinuity location.

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Of course, the recorded curves, including the complete instrument settings, can be stored.
It is therefore guaranteed that any later tests can be carried out with the same settings. By
storing the instrument settings, including the active A-Scans with the discontinuity echo,
the operator has all the data available for producing a test report at any time.

11.4 SCANNING PATTERNS 0 PROBE


When scanning for defects the scanning pattern to be used is sometimes
dependant on the size of defect sought. The two main factors to consider are
the pitch (distance between scans) or overlap (the amount, if any, that the each
scan overlays the next) and the pattern or direction of scanning. If the pitch is
less than the size of the probe then the scans will overlap. If the pitch is greater
than the size of the probe then there will be a gap between the scans.
Whether there is a gap between the scans or not may
depend on the size of defect sought and the size of the test piece. For
example on a large test piece looking for defects over 100mm the pitch may
be 75mm between scans, regardless of the probe size, because scanning every
75mm will locate defects over 100mm in size. The pattern may require
scanning in one direction or in two directions at 90 to each other.

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11.5 SIZING METHODS 0 PROBE


There are four main sizing techniques used with 0 probes:

6dB drop
Equalisation
Maximum amplitude
DGS

11.5.1 dB drop technique


Used to size large defects, i.e. defects that are bigger than the beam spread,
such as laminations, this is where the probe is moved off the edge of the
reflector until the signal amplitude is reduced by 50% (6dB). The position of
the centre of the probe is then marked onto the material surface. The probe is
now in a position where the beam is half on and half off the defect. If this is
repeated along the edge of the reflector the reflector's size and shape will be
marked out onto the material's surface.

11.5.2 Equalisation technique


The equalisation technique is very similar in operation to the 6dB drop except
that the probe is moved off the edge of the reflector until its signal is equal in
amplitude to the rising B.W.E. At this position the centre of the probe is
marked onto the surface, again continuing along the edge of the reflector to map
out the shape and size

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Equal amplitude

Both the 6dB drop and the equalisation methods only work accurately on
large reflectors and will grossly oversize small ones. The flaw must also be
along the centre line of the plate or again sizing accuracy will be adversely
affected.

11.5.3 Maximum amplitude (max. amp) technique:

This is used to size areas of small defects, such as inclusions, or to size multi faceted defects, such as cracks. The technique involves moving the probe off
the defect area until the signals disappear, then slowly bringing the probe back,
watching the whole signal group, to the first position where one of the signals
maximises. The probe position is then marked as in the other methods to mark
out the edge of the defect area. This technique will pick out the last individual
inclusion of a group or the last facet of a crack giving the overall size of the defect
or area.

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11.5.4 Distance gain sizing (D.G.S.)


DGS uses the reflections from flat bottom holes or disc reflectors, of different
sizes and over a range of depths, plotted on a graph. Signal amplitudes
from defects are compared to the graph to give the minimum size or, more
correctly, the minimum reflective size to the defect. These graphs are
provided by the manufacturer of the probe, are illustrated in some reference
standards or can be plotted.
To size a reflector with the DGS diagrams: With a calibrated screen and the
DGS diagram for the type of probe being used, maximise the signal from the
reflector and set the amplitude to a pre-determined reference level, using the
gain control, and record the gain setting. Move the probe to an area of the
material, where the back wall is the same distance as the previously recorded
reflector, there are no reflectors and the surface condition and curvatures are the
same as the previous area. Set the B.W.E to the same pre-determined reference
level as before and note the difference between the previous and the new gain
settings. Using the DGS diagram look on the infinity line, at the B.W.E
distance, for the dB figure and add this figure to the previously noted dB
difference. Read the total dB figure (the two just added), at the reflector
beam path (depth), off the graph, to give the equivalent size of the reflector.

12.0 Ultrasonic Equipment Checks


12.1 Linearity of time base
General
This check may be carried out using a standard calibration block e.g. A2 and a
compressional wave probe. The linearity should be checked over a range at least equal to
that which is to be used in subsequent testing.

Method
a) Place the probe on the 25mm thickness of the A2 block and adjust the controls to
display ten BWEs.
b) Adjust the controls so that the first and last BWEs coincide with the scale marks at
1 and 10.
c) Increase the gain to bring successive backwall echoes to 80% FSH. The leading
edge of each echo should line up with the appropriate graticule line.
d) Record any deviations at approximately half screen height. Deviations should be
expressed as a percentage of the range between the first and last echoes displayed
(i.e. 225mm).

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Tolerance
Unless otherwise specified by the testing standard, a tolerance of 2% is considered
acceptable.

Frequency of checking
This check shall be carried out at least once per week.

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12.2 Linearity of equipment gain


General
This is a check on both the linearity of the amplifier within the set and the calibrated gain
control. It can be carried out on any calibration block containing a side-drilled hole and
should be the probe to be used in subsequent testing. Reject/suppression controls shall be
switched off.

Method
Position the probe on a calibration block to obtain a reflected signal from a small
reflector eg 1.5mm hole in the A2 block.
Adjust the gain to set this signal to 80% FSH and note the gain setting (dB).
- Increase the gain by 2dB and record the amplitude of the signal.
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- Remove the 2dB and return the signal to 80% FSH.


- Reduce the gain by 6dB and record signal amplitude.
- Reduce the gain by a further 12dB (18 in total) and record signal amplitude.
- Reduce the gain by a further 6dB (24 in total) and record signal amplitude.

Tolerance
Gain, dB

Expected
amplitude, %

Recorded
amplitude

Acceptable limits

100%

Not less than

80%

N/A

-6

10%

8-12%

-18

40%

35-45%

-24

5%

Visible above base line

Frequency of checking
The check shall be carried out at least once per week.

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12.3 Probe index and beam alignment


Index point
General
The check for probe index applies only to shear wave proves, and is the first probe
characteristic to be checked on a shear wave probe. The probe index may be checked on
the standard A2 calibration block.

Method
a) Position the probe on the appropriate side of the block to obtain a reflection from
the quadrant.
b) Move the probe backwards and forwards to maximise the amplitude of the reflected
signal.
c) When the signal is at maximum, the probe index will correspond to the engraved
line on the block. Mark this position on the side of the probe.

Tolerance
Tolerance will depend on application but for plotting of defects it is recommended that
probe index is accurate to within 1mm.

Frequency of checking
When a probe is in continuous use, it is recommended that the check be carried out every
few hours; otherwise, a daily check is recommended.

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Beam alignment (squint)


With the probe still in position, a check on beam alignment can be performed. If the probe
beam is correctly aligned, the edge of the probe will be parallel to the edge of the block. If
this is not the case, measure the squint angle between the two edges. Tolerance depends
upon the accuracy of defect plotting required. The check should be carried out once per
week.

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12.4 Beam angle


General
Beam angle can be checked on several calibration blocks eg A2 or A5. The beam angle
check shall preferable be made on a probe in conjunction with the flaw detector to be used
in subsequent testing.

Method
a) Place the probe in such a position as to receive a reflected signal from the selected
transverse hole in the calibration block (eg 19mm deep hole in the A5 block).
b) Maximise the signal from the hole and mark the index point of the probe on the
block.
c) Measure the distance from the marked point on the block to the edge of the block.
Knowing the position of the drilled hole will allow the beam angle to be calculated
(see below).
Note If only a rapid check is required, maximise the signal from the 50mm hole in the A2
block. The angle can then be assessed by visual interpolation between the reference
markings on the block.

Tolerance
The accuracy by the described method is 1.5.
The accuracy in this case can only be assumed to be 3.

Frequency of checking.
When a probe is in continuous use, it is recommended that the check be carried out at least
every few hours; otherwise, a daily check is recommended.

12.5 Sensitivity and signal-to-noise ratio


General
The main objective of this check is to provide the operator with a simple method which
will identify deterioration in sensitivity of the probe and flaw detector in combination.

Method
a) Place the probe on the A2 calibration block and adjust its position to maximise the
signal from the 1.5mm diameter hole.
b) Adjust the gain control to set this signal to 20%FSH and note the dB setting.
c) Increase the gain until the overall system noise (electronic noise and grain structure
grass) at the same range as the target hole reached 20%FSH and note the new dB
setting.
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d) The first gain measurement noted provides a check on the sensitivity of the probe
and flaw detector, and the difference between the first and second measurements
(dB) gives the S/N ratio.
Note 1 A demonstration of the sensitivity of probe and flaw detector on a calibration
block does not guarantee that the same size of reflector could be detected in the
workpiece.
Note 2 If it is desired to check the sensitivity as a function of range, the use of the
standard A5 block is recommended for longer ranges.

Tolerance
Tolerance will depend on application. Any deterioration in the sensitivity value will
indicate a problem with the probe or flaw detector. A low S/N ratio would be typical of a
coarse-grained material.

Frequency of checking
Unless otherwise agreed, the check shall be carried out once per probe per day.

12.6 Pulse duration


General
This check on the probe and flaw detector in combination, measures the effect on the
displayed signal of probe damping, amplifier bandwidth, builtin suppression and
smoothing circuits. The standard A2 calibration block may be used for this check.

Method
a) Calibrate the time base in millimetres to a range that is to be used in subsequent
testing.
b) Maximise the signal from the 1.5mm side-drilled hole for shear wave probes or a
BWE for compression wave probes and set its peak to 100% screen height.
c) Measure the width of the signal in millimetres at the 10% screen height position.
d) If desired, the measurement in millimetres can be converted into microseconds by
dividing it by the relevant sound velocity.

Tolerance
Tolerance will depend upon application. A long pulse duration will limit range resolution
and indicate the need for a resolution check (A resolution check is described in Clause
No.7), and a short pulse duration may indicate the flaw detector has built-in suppression
that could prevent the observation of small signals.

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Frequency on checking
Unless otherwise agreed, the check should be carried out daily.

12.7 Resolving power (resolution)


General
This check determines the ability of an ultrasonic flaw detection system to give separate
indication of discontinuities situated close together and simultaneously within the sound
beam.

Method
a) Calibrate the time base to a range of 0-100mm for either the compression or the
shear wave probe.
b) Place the probe so that the axis of the beam impinges upon the 2mm step in the A7
calibration block for shear wave probes, or the 3mm step for compression wave
probes.
c) Adjust the position of the probe so that the echoes from the two targets are of the
same height and approximately half full graticule height.
d) The steps are said to be resolved when their echoes are clearly separated at half
maximum echo height or lower.
Note The 3mm step between the 9 and 3mm drilled holes in the A6 calibration block may
also be used when checking compression probes.

Frequency of checking
The check shall be carried out monthly, or when too long a pulse duration is suspected.
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13.0

Sensitivity Setting

Setting a sensitivity level is essential to provide reproducible results from the same
inspection carried out by different operators using different probe set combinations and
maybe working in different locations. They must all see the same flaw giving the same
signal height and therefore have the same data on which to base their accept/reject
decisions. There are several systems for setting sensitivity. We have already met one of
them, first backwall echo (BWE) to FSH for lamination checks. However, when checking
plate adjacent to a weld, the second BWE should be to FSH. When setting sensitivity we
must be sure that a signal from a defect will be visible on the CRT screen and that we will
be able to distinguish the defect signal from background noise or grass. All UT sets differ
slightly, so we cannot say, Set the sensitivity to xdB, as different probes and equipment
will give entirely different signals from the same reflector. It is to attain some uniformity
that the different methods have evolved. Different methods are used in different places.
The IOW block is used and it is the recommended method for PCN examinations. On
North Sea contracts the distance amplitude correction curve (DAC) method or ASME
curves is used. The DAC method is recommended in EN 1714, and in Germany the
distance gain size (DGS) system is usually applied, especially when evaluating small
reflectors.
The purpose of sensitivity setting is to find a gain level sufficient to find a flaw and
depends on the:
a) Probe used, in particular its frequency
b) Flaw detector
c) Properties of the test material
d) Ratio of noise to BWE or flaw echo
13.1 The Institute of Welding (IOW) block
We met the Institute of Welding block when studying beam profiles. The block contains
1.5mm side-drilled holes at different depths and allows the holes to be detected from
different angles with angle probes. To use it is simple and straightforward.
Find a hole on the block that approximately coincides with the thickness of the material
you are testing. Double the thickness if you are examining at full skip, i.e. bouncing your
sound beam off the backwall.
Obtain a signal from the hole and turn the gain control until the signal is at FSH.
Work out transfer correction. You have now set sensitivity and can be assured that flaws
having the equivalent reflectivity of 1.5mm side-drilled holes will appear on the screen.

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This method has several advantages


Simple to use
Provides a uniform system of reference
A fairly large and visible echo is assured from small flaws
Side-drilled hole reflectors are independent of angle
But some disadvantages
Block is heavy and expensive
Only refers to 1.5mm side drilled holes
Not a reliable method for sizing defects
Sensitivity will be higher for ranges shorter than the SDH used

13.1.1 Distance amplitude correction (DAC) curves


EN 1714 and all US specifications recommend this method. A special reference block of
the same material as the test object is usually necessary, though the curves can be
constructed from an IOW block.

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The type of block recommended by EN 1714 and an ASME block is shown below

The procedure described in EN 1714 for constructing a DAC curve is as follows:


Calibrate the time base for the maximum sound path length to be used.
Adjust the gain so that the amplitude from the series of reflectors falls between 20 and
80% FSH
Without altering the gain setting, maximise the amplitude of each reflector in turn and
mark the tip of the signal, either on the screen or on a transparent overlay.
Record the gain setting used for plotting the DAC curve and reference this to some other
reflector such as the radius in a V calibration block. This later action enables gain to be
reset without the reference block.
Note: Should the difference in height between the largest and the smallest echoes exceed
the range of 20 to 80%FSH the line shall be split and separate curves plotted at different
gain settings. The difference in gain between the two curves shall be noted. Examine the
test material as instructed in the specifications, comparing the signals from discontinuities
to the curves on your screen. Any signal above the curve shows a reflector larger than the
reference hole. Accept or reject discontinuities as instructed in the specification you are
working to.
Advantages
A quick way of accepting or rejecting discontinuities without too much time consumed
in sizing reflectors.
Some idea can be gained of the discontinuities size in relation to reference holes.
Uniformity provided by all technicians constructing their curves from the same test
block.
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Disadvantages
Curves must be constructed for each probe in conjunction with each set.
Transfer correction must be worked out.
13.2 Flat-bottomed holes (FBH)
Blocks are drilled with flat-bottomed holes to precise diameters and set distances from the
top of the block. These diameters and distances are stamped on the side of the block.
When setting sensitivities the specification or technique will specify the block to be used
and the amplitude of signal to be obtained from the FBH. Blocks are cut for use with 0
probes or angle probes in different materials and this method is mostly used in aerospace.

Advantages
Easy to use
Uniformity assured when different technicians use the same blocks
Blocks can be made from different materials
Disadvantages
Fairly rigid system for specific applications
Large number of blocks needed for different settings
Transfer correction usually needed
Blocks for angle probes are rarely cut exactly normal to the beam. You may hear these
blocks called HITT or ALCOA blocks, after the originators.
Using noise
Work out the maximum range at which you will be examining test material. Place the
probe on the material with couplant applied. Turn up the gain until you have 2mm grass
on the screen at the maximum range. You will now have the assurance of knowing that
any discontinuity larger than the grain size will show up on the screen.
Advantages
Quick and easy
No reference block is needed
Any defect larger than the material grains will show up
No transfer correction needed
Disadvantages
No accurate sizing of the defect
Discontinuities near the surface of the test material may be hidden in the grass

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Transfer correction
Reference blocks usually have smooth machined surfaces while test objects frequently
have rougher, more uneven surfaces. Also the attenuation of sound in the reference block
might be different to that in the test material. Usually attenuation in the reference block is
less than the test material but not always. This means that allowance must be made for the
differences in sound energy transfer between probe and test material and probe and
reference block. More energy can be passed into a reference block than into a rougher
surfaced component. Hence the artificial defects in a reference block may give higher
amplitude signals (anything up to 6dB or even more) than signals from similarly sized
discontinuities in the test materials. Allowances have to be made for this and corrections
made for different surfaces. This allowance is named transfer correction or transfer loss.
There are several methods of determining transfer correction, some requiring the
construction of separate DAC curves and some requiring calculation according to
formulae. We explain two simple methods.

Compression probe method


Place the probe on the reference block and turn the BWE up to FSH. Note the gain
settings. Now place the probe on the test material and at a similar range bring the BWE to
FSH. Again note the gain setting. The difference between them is the transfer correction.

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Angle probe method


As you cannot get a BWE with angle probes from a plate or pipe wall, you have to use
two probes with the same angle. Place the two probes opposite each other on the reference
block with one probe transmitting and the other receiving, so that the sound energy is
bounced off the backwall and caught by the receiving probe (pitch and catch). Maximise
the signal and adjust the gain until it is at FSH. Place the two probes on a piece of test
material of the same thickness as the reference block and repeat the process. Note the
difference between the two gain settings. This is the transfer correction needed. Other
methods of transfer correction are described in EN 1714 and in literature concerning the
distance gain size (DGS) system.
13.3 The distance gain size (DGS) method
The DGS system relies on the laws of large and small reflectors in the far zone and was
developed to relate the amplitude of a signal to various sizes of perfect disc reflectors, flatbottomed holes, so it does not actually size flaws but relates them to an equivalent
reflector. The relative heights of signals from different sizes of flat-bottomed holes at
different distances were plotted as curves. Reflector sizes are expressed in terms of the
probe diameter and distances from the probe are expressed as multiples of the near zone.
Now if you have a signal from a flaw at a certain depth, you can compare the signal size to
what the signal of a BWE should be at that depth and estimate the size of flat bottomed
hole that would give such a signal at that depth. The defect can then be sized according to
a flat bottomed hole equivalent. The attenuation factor for the test material must be taken
into consideration when using the DGS system.
Example: You are using a 5MHz 10mm diameter compression probe on 100mm steel
plate and you find a defect at 60mm depth which gives a signal at FSH with a 30dB gain
setting. What is its flat-bottomed hole equivalent? First, work out the probe near zone. It is
21mm, so the defect is at a distance of three near zones. Now get a BWE and find what
the dB reading is. Say it is 20dB when the BWE is at FSH. 100mm is five near zones.
What will it be at 60mm, three near zones? Refer to the DGS curves. If the BWE is FSH
with 20dB at 100mm, by the law of large reflectors and according to the BWE line on the
DGS curves a BWE at 60mm should reach FSH at 16dB, 4dB less than at 100mm. The
signal height from the flaw is 30dB, 14dB more than the BWE. Look down the scale 14dB
at 3 near zones from the BWE and you find that the nearest line is 0.5 of the probe
diameter. The probe diameter is 10mm so the nearest equivalent flat bottomed hole to the
flaw had a diameter of 5mm.
By similar working, a sensitivity setting can be worked out for a flat bottomed hole of a
certain diameter at a given range to a given screen height and the flaw detector gain set
accordingly.

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Advantages
You can choose a gain level for sizing
Tells you the smallest defect you can find at a given range
Provides the basis for an accept/reject system
It gives a rough equivalent to the size of a flaw
Uniformity between results from different technicians
Disadvantages
Operators must keep referring to a chart and making calculations
Attenuation must be taken into account
No account is taken of flaw orientation
Most effective on small defects
An equivalence system not a sizing system
Flaw surfaces and shapes are not ideal reflectors, therefore signal amplitudes are not the
same as a comparative flat-bottomed hole
For angle probes, plastic slides have been manufactured by Krautkramer to fit over the
CRT screen. The set is calibrated and gain setting is made by bringing the BWE or the
echo from the 1.5mm hole on the V2 block up to marks on the slide. Flat bottomed hole
equivalents for flaws can then be read straight off the slide. The DGS system is widely
used in Germany.
13.4 Signal-to-noise ratio
It has been mentioned elsewhere that frequency and wavelength have a major influence on
flaw detection. In fact, however, the detection of a defect is influenced by many other
factors. The amount of sound that reflects from a defect is, for example, dependent on
acoustic impedance mismatch between the flaw and the surrounding material. A gas filled
defect such as a lack of fusion is generally a better reflector than a metallic inclusion
because the difference in acoustic impedance is greater between air and metal than
between metal and another metal.
The nature of the surrounding material also greatly affects the detection of defects with
coarse-grain structure reducing defect detectability. A measure of detectability of a flaw
and the effect of the many factors involved is its signal-to-noise ratio (S/N). The S/N ratio
is a measure of how the signal from the defect compares to other background reflections
(categorised as noise). A S/N ratio of 3 to 1 is often required as a minimum. The absolute
noise level and the absolute strength of an echo from a small defect depends on a number
of factors:
Probe size and focal properties.
Probe frequency, bandwidth and efficiency.
Inspection path and distance (water and/or solid).
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13.5

Notches:

For evaluating incomplete penetration in welds or discontinuities forming a


comer, such as a surface crack or weld undercut, machined surface notches
may be employed for sensitivity calibration and size comparison, since they
more nearly represent the actual discontinuity. A Vee shaped notch is an
useful reference for evaluating side wall lack of fusion in vee welds.
Square notches are useful for evaluating Lack of penetration.
These notches are best produced by Electric Discharge Machining process.
The notches are usually at least one inch long [min two times the probe
crystal width is recommended], with a depth [ c ] of 2 to 10 % of thickness
of the part for weld inspection. The width [w] of the cut is usually 1/16".

For base material examination of tubular products, axial and circumferential


notches on the outside and the inside surfaces, in a calibration block made
from the product being examined is used. For base material pipe body, the
Notches used are lesser of the 0.004 "or 5% of material thickness deep,
with an width of two times the depth of cut. For plates, 3% of thickness is
used. [always refer applicable test procedure for notch Details]

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14.0 Flaw Location:


You can calculate the location of a flaw by using trigonometric formulas as shown below.
You need to know the angle of the probe and the stand-off measured from the centre of a
weld.
Depth = Cos x range
Stand-off = Sin x range A general rule of thumb used to calculate the depth of an
indication from the range on the screen is
45 probe - range is approximately 1.5 x depth
60 probe - range is exactly 2 x depth
70 probe - range is approximately 3 x depth
It is quicker and easier, however, to use a flaw location slide and a beam plot or even a
piece of clear plastic film with the probe angle drawn on it. Use the slide as follows:
Draw a cross section of the weld on the transparent outer envelope of the slide. Draw a
mirror image of the weld cross section immediately under it if the sound energy is going
to bounce off the backwall, i.e. using full skip. Use the printed datum line on the plastic
envelope as the centre of the weld and measure all stand-offs from it. Maximise the echo
from a defect and mark where the index point falls on the parent metal. Measure its
distance from the centre of the weld.
Note the defect on a sketch and note the stand-off and range of the centre of the defect.
Move the datum line on the plastic envelope to the stand-off distance. Look along the
centre of the beam plot until you come to the range shown on the screen. Make a mark on
the envelope, this represents the centre of the defect. It shows the defects position in the
weld body.

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14.1 THE IRRADIATION FACTOR


When testing tubular materials around the circumference with angle probes, it is
possible that due to the curvature, wall thickness and probe angle, that the beam will
not strike the inside surface of the material. We can calculate the minimum probe
angle that will strike the inside surface of the material (at a tangent). This is known as
the irradiation factor. A probe angle that will reach the bore is calculated by the
following formula.

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14.2 Flaw Sizing:


SIZING METHODS ANGLE PROBES
There are three main sizing techniques used with angle probes:

6dB drop

20dB drop
Maximum amplitude

14.2.1 6dB Drop technique


Used to size defect dimensions which are larger than the beam, such as the length
of a lack of sidewall fusion in a weld. The probe is moved off the end of the
defect until the signal amplitude is reduced by 50% (6dB). The position of the
centre of the probe is then marked onto the material surface. The probe is now
in a position where the beam is half on and half off the defect. If this is repeated
at the other end of the defect then the distance between the marks represents its
length.

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14.2.2 20dB Drop technique


This technique is used for defects that are less than the width of the beam, such
as the cross-sectional size of a lack of sidewall fusion in a weld. It requires the use
of a 20dB beam profile, plotted out for the probe in use, drawn onto a plotting
system. The signal from the defect is first maximised and the position of the defect
plotted down the main beam on the plotter as in fig. 1. The probe is then moved
forwards, off the defect, until the signal drops to 10% of its original height. As
the probe has moved forward the defect is now in the trailing edge of the
beam, so we now plot the signal down the trailing edge on the plotter, see
fig.2. This should give a point plotted just above the previous plot and this
represents the top edge of the defect. If we now move the probe backwards, past
the maxim, to a position where the signal is again 10% of the maxim, then plot
the signal down the leading edge of the beam, as in fig.3, this should give us the
bottom edge of the defect and thus the overall size.
fig.1

fig.2

fig.3

14.2.3 Maximum amplitude (max. amp) technique


This is used to size areas of small defects, such as inclusions or porosity, or to
size multi-faceted defects, such as cracks. The technique involves moving the probe
off the defect area until the signals disappear, then slowly bringing the probe back,
watching the whole signal group, to the first position where one of the signals
maximises. The defect is then plotted using the main beam on the plotting system.
If this is carried out in both directions then the cross-sectional extremities of the
defect are plotted out. The technique is repeated moving the probe laterally to
size the length of the defect by marking the position of the centre of the probe.
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This technique will pick out the last individual inclusion of a group or the last
facet of a crack giving the overall size of the defect or area. It can also be used
to plot the shape of a defect and for condition monitoring where critical sizing
is required by plotting each individual signal in the group as it maximises.

14.3 Pulse echo


Ultrasonic inspections are largely performed by the pulse echo technique in which a single
probe is used to both transmit and receive ultrasound. In addition to the fact that access is
required from one surface only, further advantages of this technique are that it gives an
indication of the type of defect, its size and its exact location within the item being tested.
The major disadvantage is that pulse echo inspection is reliant upon the defects having the
correct orientation relative to the beam in order to generate a returning signal to the probe
and is not therefore considered fail safe. If the sound pulse hits the flaw at an angle other
than 90 much of the energy will be reflected away and not return to the probe with the
result that the flaw will not show up on the screen.
14.4

Through-transmission

Through-transmission was used in the early days of UT and is still used in plate and bar
production. A probe one side of a component transmits an ultrasonic pulse to a receptor
probe on the other side. The absence of a pulse coming to the receiver indicates a defect.

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No Defect

Defect

The advantages are


Less attenuation of sound energy
No probe ringing
No dead zone on the screen
Orientation of a defect does not matter as it does on the pulse echo display.
The disadvantages are
Defect cannot be located
Defect cannot be identified
Component surfaces must be parallel
Vertical defects do not show
Process must be automated
Must be access to both sides of the component

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14.5

Tandem scanning

Tandem scanning is used mainly to locate defects lying perpendicular to the surface. It
involves the use of two or more angle probes of the same angle of incidence and facing
the same direction with one probe acting as the transmitter and the other(s) as receivers

14.6 Contact scanning


Contact scanning is defined by EN 1330 as scanning by means of an ultrasonic probe(s) in
direct contact with the object under examination (with or without couplant). Normal a thin
film of couplant between the probe and the test surface serves to both transmit ultrasound
and to lubricate the surface and reduce wear on the probe face. Ideally the acoustic
impedance of the couplant should be between that of the probe (perspex) and the material
under test

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14.7 Gap scanning


In accordance with EN 130 gap scanning is a technique in which the probe is not in direct
contact with the surface of the specimen but is coupled to it through a column of liquid,
not more than a few wavelengths thick.

14.8 Immersion testing


Immersion testing involves the test object being submerged in a liquid, usually water and
the probe being scanned at a fixed distance above the component. The water serves to
provide constant coupling conditions and amounts to a long fluid delay line. Although the
probe itself must be a compression wave, shear waves can be produced within the sample
by angulations of the probe. This technique frequently uses high frequency probes (25-50
MHz) and focused probes for automated inspections and is suited to the inspection of
complex components. The use of wheel probes, squirter and bubbler systems are also
considered to be immersion systems.

Defect

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14.9

Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing

An array transducer is simply one that contains a number of separate elements in a single
housing, and phasing refers to how those elements are sequentially pulsed. A phased array
system is normally based around a specialized ultrasonic transducer that contains many
individual elements (typically from 16 to 256) that can be pulsed separately in a
programmed pattern. These transducers may be used with various types of wedges, in a
contact mode, or in immersion testing. Their shape may be square, rectangular, or round,
and test frequencies are most commonly in the range from 1 to 10 MHz.

Phased array systems pulse and receive from multiple elements of an array. These
elements are pulsed in such a way as to cause multiple beam components to combine with
each other and form a single wave front traveling in the desired direction. Similarly, the
receiver function combines the input from multiple elements into a single presentation.

Because phasing technology permits electronic beam shaping and steering, it is possible to
generate a vast number of different ultrasonic beam profiles from a single probe assembly,
and this beam steering can be dynamically programmed to create electronic scans:

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This enables the following capabilities:


1. Software control of beam angle, focal distance, and beam spot size. These
parameters can be dynamically scanned at each inspection point to optimize
incident angle and signal-to-noise for each part geometry.
2. Multiple-angle inspection can be performed with a single, small, multi-element
probe and wedge, offering either single fixed angles or a scan through a range of
angles.
3. These capabilities provide greater flexibility for inspection of complex geometries
and tests in which part geometry limits access.
4. Multiplexing across many elements allows motionless high-speed scans from a
single transducer position. More than one scan may be performed from a single
location with various inspection angles.
Advantages
Ultrasonic phased array systems can potentially be employed in almost any test where
conventional ultrasonic flaw detectors have traditionally been used. Weld inspection and
crack detection are the most important applications, and these tests are done across a wide
range of industries including aerospace, power generation, petrochemical, metal billet and
tubular goods suppliers, pipeline construction and maintenance, structural metals, and
general manufacturing. Phased arrays can also be effectively used to profile remaining
wall thickness in corrosion survey applications.
The benefits of phased array technology over conventional UT come from its ability to use
multiple elements to steer, focus and scan beams with a single transducer assembly. Beam
steering, commonly referred to sectorial scanning, can be used for mapping components at
appropriate angles. This can greatly simplify the inspection of components with complex
geometry. The small footprint of the transducer and the ability to sweep the beam without
moving the probe also aids inspection of such components in situations where there is
limited access for mechanical scanning. Sectorial scanning is also typically used for weld
inspection. The ability to test welds with multiple angles from a single probe greatly
increases the probability of detection of anomalies. Electronic focusing permits optimizing
the beam shape and size at the expected defect location, as well as further optimizing
probability of detection. The ability to focus at multiple depths also improves the ability
for sizing critical defects for volumetric inspections. Focusing can significantly improve
signal-to-noise ratio in challenging applications, and electronic scanning across many
groups of elements allows for C-Scan images to be produced very rapidly.
The potential disadvantages of phased array systems are a somewhat higher cost and a
requirement for operator training, however these costs are frequently offset by their
greater flexibility and a reduction in the time required to perform a given inspection.
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14.10 Time of Flight Diffraction


Introduction
The Time-of-Flight Diffraction (TOFD) technique is rapidly gaining importance as a
stand-alone inspection technique. The TOFD technique is an advanced ultrasonic
inspection technique that fulfils a need for reliable inspections. It is a powerful technique
because it can simultaneously detect and size defects. TOFD is now routinely used in a
wide range of applications such as inspection of piping and pressure vessels.
What type of information will TOFD generally provide? A routine inspection provides the
operator with the following information:




location of indications along the weld


position of indications with respect to the scanning surface (depth
information)
through thickness extent, if exceeding a certain value (typical 2-mm), which
means that porosity and slag will generally be detected as "indications
without measurable height"
information on "embedded" or "surface breaking" character of a defect

Information on the type of defect is limited, similar to both manual and mechanised
ultrasonic inspection. This is not necessarily a problem, because from a fracture
mechanics point of view, many defects that are normally regarded as volumetric, such as
slag inclusions, may be sharp enough to be able to act as crack initiators. Also, this aspect
is compensated, to a certain extent, by the ability of TOFD to distinguish between "defects
without measurable height" and "defects with measurable height".
This, in combination with the high probability of detection (POD) and a low false call rate
(FCR), makes TOFD a valuable tool for routine NDT, in the sense of "Good
Workmanship evaluation supported by fracture mechanics considerations".Recent
developments of codes and defect acceptance standards for use with the technique support
this tendency and is resulting in a wider acceptance every year. Apart from the growing
realisation by the market that TOFD offers unique advantages, these developments are
also stimulated by the realisation of the five main topics:






Equipment improvement
Transducer performance improvement
Initiatives to establish the qualification of TOFD operators
Acceptance of TOFD in weld and vessel inspection
Implementation of new codes and standards

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Short introduction to the technique


The principle of the TOFD technique is based on mapping of the position of the edges of
defects. This is in marked contrast with conventional ultrasonics, which relies on the
amplitude of specular reflections received from defects. To determine the position of the
defect edges, a wide-beam transmitter probe is placed on one side of the weld under
inspection. An identical receiver probe is placed on the other side of the weld (figure 1). In
the case of a flawless weld, the relevant ultrasonic signal will consist of a so called
"lateral wave", corresponding to the direct surface path between transmitter and receiver,
and a back wall echo. Between the lateral wave and the back wall echo there will be no
signals. If defects are present in the weld, however, the ultrasonic waves will be diffracted
by the edges of the defects. The depth of the defect edge can be calculated from the time
of flight of the corresponding ultrasonic wave. Defect height can be readily measured by
subtraction of the depth of lower and higher defect edge.

the principle of TOFD inspection on a


welded plate

Like any other technique, TOFD also has its limitations. In general the technique is less
suitable for coarse grained materials such as many types of austenitic steel. Inspectability
with TOFD is usually assessed on a case-by-case basis. In addition, inspection reliability
close to the scanning surface is hampered by the presence of the lateral wave, which may
obscure defects present in this area. Specialised software algorithms can be used to
minimise this effect. Similarly, small defects located very close to the root of the weld
may sometimes be obscured by irregular-ities in the root such as mismatch.
General acceptance of the TOFD technique will only be possible if it is also properly
embedded in codes and standards. With more and more experienced gathered the potential
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for the technique is rapidly increasing. Present developments in the codes, defect
acceptance standards and personnel qualifications support this tendency.
The following main principles describe TOFD:

Two angle beam probes (usual 45) are placed as a transmitter-receiver arrangement
and are connected together ( fig ). The distance of the probes is calculated according
to the wall thickness.
Longitudinal waves are usually applied. The sound beam spread is large to maximize
the extent of the scan.
The A-scan in the above figure shows the so-called lateral wave, the back wall echoes
and between both signals other signals can possibly appear, which can occur due to
inhomogeneity. The A-Scan is not rectified in the TOFD technique.
TOFD technique is always applied with imaging methods (Figure attached above).

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15.0 Presentation
The flaw detector or UT set sends ultrasound energy into test materials and some of this
return to the set to be presented as information on a CRT screen. This is an A scan display
with the amplitude of signals displayed as a function of time or distance. There are other
ways of presenting the information.
A, B, C& D SCANNING SYSTEMS
15.1 A-scan
This is one of the most common systems in use for manual ultrasonic
inspection. It displays the reflected energy as signals on a CRT. The
horizontal axis on the CRT represents elapsed time or distance and the vertical
axis represents signal amplitude or sound energy returning to the probe. This
system can provide an indication on the size of a defect from signal amplitude,
the defect location, from the position of the signal on the timebase, and the
signal shape and behavior, on movement of the probe, can indicate defect type.
The disadvantages of this system are that the signals require interpretation,
which means that more skill is required for operation. The advantages of this
system are its portability and less time involved in setting up.

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15.2 B-scan system


The B-scan system provides us with a cross-sectional view of the material under
test by scanning the probe across the surface (sometimes at high speed). The
image is retained using digital recording, giving a permanent record of the
ultrasonic data. The amplitude of the receiver received signal is represented by
the brightness of the image and the synchronisation of the movement of the
probe and the display can give a true representation of the size of the defect.

15.3 C-scan system


This system gives us a plan view of the scanned area, showing defects as
contrasting areas, on a printout or plotting system that is synchronised with the
probe's movement as it traverses over the material. The big advantage of the system is
an instant permanent record. The disadvantages are there is no indication of defect depth
or orientation and setting up the system can be time consuming
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15.4The D scan
The D scan gives a side view of the defect seen from a viewpoint normal to the B scan. It
is usually automated, and shows the length, depth and through thickness of a defect. The
D scan should not be confused with the delta technique.

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16.0

Identifying flaws in butt welds

It is not always easy to identify a defect, but by noting its position in the weld and moving
the probe around the defect and watching the changing signal on the screen you can come
to a reasonably accurate conclusion. Knowledge of the welding process is essential, as is
knowledge of the weld preparation, weld dimensions, size of the gap and other factors.
Slag is unlikely in a TIG weld and lack of sidewall fusion is not likely in the middle of the
weld metal. Cracks are more likely in thicker welds than in thinner welds and fusion
defects are more likely in automatic welding processes than in manual. In addition the
shape, amplitude and time-spread of a reflector as represented on the screen, can give
clues as to the identity of a flaw. We talk of a Specular reflector, that is with a mirror like
face, where all the sound is reflected back to the source of energy. Providing that is, the
probe and flaw are correctly orientated. A sidewall fusion flaw is nearest to this ideal.
However, at the other extreme, porosity can be considered as a large number of small
spherical reflectors which cause the energy to reflect everywhere. Rather like the light
reflecting from a disco ball hanging from the ceiling. Porosity is a diffuse reflector. By
combining these movements and watching the movement of the signal on the screen you
can draw conclusions. Characteristics of different defects are shown in the accompanying
diagrams, with explanations adjacent.
Guidance in the classification of ultrasonic indications can be found in:
EN 1713 Ultrasonic testing Characterisation of indications in welds
EN 583 Part 5 Ultrasonic examinations Characterisation and sizing of discontinuities
EN 1713 contains a flowchart to be followed in order to determine the exact nature of any
indications. The stages involved are:
Echo amplitude
Directional reflectivity
Echostatic pattern (A scan)
Echodynamic pattern
The first stage of assessing echo amplitude involves comparing the amplitude of an
indication to DAC level and classifying it into one of the four categories shown in the
table below.

S1

S2

S3

S4

DAC 10dB

DAC +6dB

DAC 6dB

9/15dB

Indications falling into the S1 category would be immediately discounted. All other
indications would then proceed to be assessed for directional reflectivity, which is defined
as the variation in echo amplitude from a discontinuity in relation to the angle at which the
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ultrasonic beam is incident upon it. An spherical indication would show the same echo
amplitude over a wide range of incident angles; 45, 60 and 70for instance, and is said to
have low directional reflectivity. A large smooth planar reflector would show a great
variation in echo amplitude and would therefore be said to have high directional
reflectivity.
The next two stages of the process analyze firstly the shape of the signal as displayed on
the A scan equipment and finally the behaviour of the signal when the probe is scanned at
90 to the discontinuity, traversing.
Echostatic patterns are categorised as:
Single and smooth
Single and jagged
Multiple

With respect to echo dynamic patterns indications fall into one of five categories
dependant upon the changes observed in the signal on the A scan in response to probe
movement. To aid the identification of defects there are four basic probe movements:

16.1 SCANNING PATTERNS


For angle probes the scanning patterns describe the way the probe is
manipulated as well as the way it is moved. The most common patterns, referred
to in some standards and application procedures are:

Orbital scan
Where the probe is manipulated through an arc movement whilst maintaining the
beam focused on a fixed reflector. Used often to identify porosity, where the
signal can be maintained on an orbital scan.

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Swivel scan
This is where the probe is rotated on the spot, effectively scanning the beam
around it. Used to identify multi-faceted, planar or multiple defects and to
ensure complete coverage when performing a limited transverse scan on a
weld where the weld reinforcement is still present.

Lateral scan
The probe is moved sideways along a fixed line. Used in the critical root scan
of a single vee weld or for sizing the length of a defect longitudinally.

Depth scan
This is where the probe is moved back and forth in the direction of the beam. As
in locating the position of a defect when plotting or when maximising the
signal off a transverse hole to set sensitivity. Other "scans" referred to such as
"root scan", "transverse scan" etc. are scans for a particular type of defect or in
a particular area (root scan, in the root area, transverse scan, for transverse
defects).

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16.2 The Five Echo Dynamic Patterns are Given Below


Echo Dynamic Pattern:

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17.0 Practical Weld Inspection:


Technique:
When searching for defects in welds you should have, as a minimum, the
following information, which is usually written on a technique or
instruction sheet (see the appendices for an example).
o
o
o
o
o
o

The test component identification and area to test.


Actions to be taken when defects are found.
The purpose of the test (defects sought and acceptance criteria).
Equipment required.
What method and level of test sensitivity to use (preparations).
The method of scanning.

The instruction sheet would also contain sections giving details of any relevant
safety procedures and post test procedures such as the cleaning of the test area
afterwards. It would also have the company name, a unique technical
reference number, the originator's name and signature and an authorising
signature.
Test area
The test may involve examining the whole, of a component, or just the weld and
heat affected zone, this must be specified.
Actions to be taken
When defects are found it may be required that the defects are reported, e.g.
on a diagram or as a written description, or the weld, may be accepted or rejected
based on the defects found. If defects are to be reported then the defect
information that needs reporting would be contained in this section, i.e.
Defect type, size, lateral and longitudinal position in relation to datums, etc.
Purpose of the test
This section tells us the accept/reject criteria for particular defects, i.e. what size
and type of defects to report, or which defects render the weld, or parent metal,
rejectable. Note: Defects in the parent metal, adjacent to the weld, could limit the
weld scans with the angle probes.
Equipment
The type of flaw detector, types, sizes, angles and frequencies of probes,
type of couplant and calibration or reference blocks to be used, should be stated.
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Sensitivity
Method of setting and level of sensitivity need to be quoted for each scan, e.g.
using an 80% F.S.H. DAC curve, plotted from 3 mm diameter side drilled holes, add 14
dB to the gain. This information may be contained in a section on preparation
for the test, along with things like; lighting conditions, surface cleanliness etc.
Scanning method
The method of scanning the material is either a written, step by step,
instruction or technique sheet, or involves following the steps laid out in the
relevant national standard.

An example written step by step instruction, for a single vee butt weld, could
be:
Visually inspect the parent metal and weld surfaces, reporting the
surface condition and the presence of any weld cap defects.
Scan the parent metal with a 0 probe, check and report the thickness and
any defects. Where the cap is dressed flat scan the weld metal with the 0
probe for defects and record on a rough report.
Draw up full size working diagrams and cursors (plotting systems), noting
surface distances and beam paths for each angle probe on half skip and full skip
positions.
Mark the centerline of the weld and the surface distance for each probe onto
the scanning surface.
using a guide strip behind the probe, perform a critical root scan by
scanning laterally on a fixed line parallel with the weld axis, with the probe
index point at the half skip surface distance, with each probe (access
permitting). Make a note, on a rough diagram, of any suspected defective
areas of the root, as they are located with each probe. Assess each suspect
area individually to ascertain whether the area is a defect, whether the defect
is in the root, if so, what type of defect and its size and position. Record the
defects on the rough report.
Scan the weld body on full skip, with each angle probe in turn (access
permitting), by moving the probe back and forth between the half and full
skip surface distances, whilst gradually traversing the length of the weld.
Assess each signal that falls within the half skip to full skip beam path range as
it is located. Record the defects on the rough report.
Scan the weld body on half skip, with each angle probe in turn (access
permitting), by moving the probe back and forth between the half skip surface
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distance and the weld cap, or past the weld centre line if the cap has been
removed, whilst gradually traversing the length of the weld. Assess each signal
that falls within the zero to half skip beam path range (except the dead zone), as
it is located. Record the defects on the rough report.
Scan the weld for transverse defects by scanning down the axis of the weld,
where the cap is removed, using sufficient scans and different angle probes to
ensure full coverage of the weld body, on half and full skip where necessary.
Assess and record the defects on the rough report.
Transfer the noted defects from the rough report to a pro-forma report sheet
and make a note of signal amplitudes in comparison to the DAC curve at the
test sensitivity level.
All noted indications should be assessed, using the plotting system and
changing probes as necessary, as to whether they are in fact defects, not
spurious indications. If they are defects then the type, size and position in
relation to the datum and the centre line of the weld should be assessed. (The
sizing of defects to be carried out as in the "0 scanning" or "angle probe
scanning" section of these notes, as appropriate, or as in a relevant national
standard)
The finished report should be signed and dated by a level two operator.

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18.0 Weld Defects:


Root Flaws
The signal from a root flaw will appear on the time base while you are scanning laterally
along a straight edge, at a fixed position from the root. Once the signal is maximised by
getting the best reflection from the flaw it can be assumed that the centre of the beam is
hitting the bottom of the flaw. Fine adjustment of the straight edge will perhaps be
necessary.

Lack of penetration
High amplitude corner signals both sides of the weld, rapidly decreasing in
amplitude on rotational scan. Plotting at plate thickness depth, the width of with no
cross-over.
Lack of
penetration

Lack of
penetration

Excess penetration
Echo amplitude between 10 and 90%, dependent on depth and probe angle.
Multi-range signal - echo falls rapidly when traversed with 70 probe, also range
increases.
Probe movement - echo falls rapidly when angle probe traversed forward.

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Measurement - it is not possible to measure depth with angle probe. Length difficult but
usually by 6dB.

Root concavity
Echo sharp and large, with reduced range. Often mode conversion with60 probe.
Probe movement - traverse backwards echo falls more rapidly than lack of penetration.
Measurement - use centre of beam and 20dB drop (trailing edge) for height. Not always
possible to measure height.

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Root crack
Usually high amplitude response with fir tree appearance.
Probe movement - orbit, echo held over large angle. Lateral, echo held with multi-range
signals and variations on time base.
Measurement - 6dB for length. Traverse forward with 20dB for height.

Lack of Root fusion


Similar to corner reflector with large, narrow echo from both sides.
Probe movement - confirm with 70 probe, when traversed. Large movement for 20dB
drop. Orbit, echo falls rapidly.
Measurement - lateral use 6 or 20dB drop. Traverse use 20 or 10dB for70 probe.

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Misalignment
Large single echo from one side. No echo from opposite side.
Probe movement -traverse back echo falls rapidly.
Measurement - lateral for 6dB drop.

Face and Body Flaws


A degree of extra flexibility can be applied when flaws are located at the face or in the
body of a weld. The diagrams illustrate the characteristic shape of the screen presentation
but are ideal rather an actual.

Lack of Sidewall fusion


Echo large, single, narrow at time base when sidewall. Poor echo from opposite side.
Confirm by skip scan. Probe movement Rotate or orbit, echo falls rapidly. Lateral or
traverse echo height held .Measurement: For depth use 20dB. For length use 6 or 20dB.

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Crack
Multiple peak reflector usually high amplitude, but dependent on type of crack and size,
echo with fir tree appearance.
Probe movement. Orbit - echo over larger angle than with fusion defects. Lateral - signal
held with varying height.
Measurement. For length use 6 or 20db. For depth use 20dB.
The below fig. is a example for a centre line crack

Gas pore
Spherical even reflector single peak echo, narrow profile, similar to drilled hole or radius
of calibration block intensity approximately 50% CRT.
Probe movement. Rotate, lateral and traverse echo falls rapidly. Orbit echo height
remains.
Measurement. Impractical to measure height and length. Report as isolated reflector.
Equate reflectivity against disc area or DGS.

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Porosity
Multiple peak echo. Low intensity 20% CRT broad at time base due to numerous ranges.
Probe movement. Orbit - echoes held with amplitude variations.
Measurement. Indicate area by pin-pointing last maximum signal from traverse and
lateral scans.

Linear inclusion (slag)


Echo may be wide at time base and will be multi-faceted, due to more than a single range.
Height will vary between 20 and 90%. Probe movement. Orbit, echo held with various
maxima and minima. Similar with traverse. Rotational, echo will drop quickly. Lateral,
will produce large variations in height. Perhaps with total loss of signal for short distances
less than beam width.

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19.0

ULTRASONIC TESTING OF CASTINGS

GENERAL
The ultrasonic testing of cast products is limited, to some degree, by the
scattering effects of the coarse grain structure and the rough surfaces produced on
most casting processes. This scattering effect can be overcome by using lower
frequency probes, but this results in a reduced sensitivity.
TECHNIQUE
When searching for defects in castings you should have, as a minimum, the
following information, which is usually written on a technique or instruction sheet (see
the appendices for an example).

The test component identification and area to test.


Actions to be taken when defects are found.
The purpose of the test (defects sought and acceptance criteria).
Equipment required.
What method and level of test sensitivity to use,
The method of scanning.
The instruction sheet would also contain sections giving details of any relevant safety
procedures and post test procedures such as the cleaning of the test area
afterwards. It 50 would also have the company name, a unique technical
reference number, the originator's name and signature and an authorising signature.
Test area
The test may involve testing the whole of a casting, or just sections of it, this should
be specified.

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Actions to be taken
When defects are found it may be required that the defects are reported, e.g. on a
diagram or as a written description, or the casting may be accepted or
rejected according to the defects found. If defects are to be reported then the
defect 70 information that needs reporting would be contained in this section, i.e. defect
type, size, lateral and longitudinal position in relation to datums etc.
Purpose of the test
This section tells us the accept/reject criteria for particular defects, i.e. what size and type
of defects to report or which defects render the casting rejectable.
Equipment
This section should give information on; the type of flaw detector, type, size and
frequency of probes, type of couplant, calibration blocks and reference blocks to use.
Sensitivity
Method of setting and level of sensitivity need to be quoted for each scan, e.g. For the 0
probe set the response from the 3 mm flat bottom hole reference reflector to 40% fsh and
scan at this level. For the angle probes; increase the gain until 2 mm to 3 mm of grass is
obtained at the full skip beam path.
Scanning method
The method of scanning the material is either a written, step by step,
instruction or technique sheet, or involves following the steps laid out in the
relevant national standard. An example written step by step could be:
Prepare the material surface by removing any loose sand, rust, dirt or other debris
and visually inspect for surface defects or damage.
Calibrate the screen on the flaw detector, using a 0 probe and the A2
calibration block, for a range of 0 to 200 mm.
Set the sensitivity (as quoted in the relevant section above) and apply
couplant to the test area.
Scan the designated test area, with a probe overlap between scans of at
least 20% of the probe's diameter and at a maximum probe movement rate of
150mmtsec.
When defects meeting the criteria in the "Purpose of the test" section are found,
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record the relevant defect data as in the "Actions to be taken" section.


Defects larger than the ultrasonic beam, i.e. where there is no bwe present,
should be sized using the 6 dB drop or equalisation methods. Defects
that are smaller than the ultrasonic beam should be sized and positioned
using the 20 dB drop method. Multiple or multi-faceted defects should
be sized using the maximum amplitude technique.
Prepare a neat concise report giving details of the casting's identification,
test
area,
equipment used, sensitivity method and settings and a drawing with the
defect details as recorded in section 5 above. Sign and date the report
and state your relevant qualifications.
Post test procedures
This would involve cleaning any remaining couplant and dirt from the test area and
covering the surface with protective coatings according to client's requirements.
DEFECTS IN CASTINGS
The interpretation of defects in castings involves knowledge or experience of
the expected types of defect and the possible signals from them. In some
situations it is a case of reading the signal, evaluating which defects do not give this
type of signal, then choosing from the remaining possibilities as to which type
of defect is most likely, Here are a few of the types of defects found in castings:
Inclusions
Inclusions are formed from lumps of trapped solid non-metallic material in the
casting, of various shapes, sizes, orientations and depths. In large groups of small
inclusions, the variation, in orientation and shape, has the effect of scattering the
sound beam, as it passes through. When using a 00 probe on parallel sided castings, if the
sound reaches the back wall and reflects back, then it scatters again on the return
journey, This causes a significant drop in the amplitude of the bwe, compared to a
defect free area. The amplitudes of the signals from the defects also vary because of the
differences in sizes and orientations. The signals we see from multiple inclusions are, a
cluster of signals, of various amplitudes and depth, from the defects and a low
bwe, or no bwe. The cluster of signals from the defects has a constantly
changing pattern when you move the probe across the surface. Larger inclusions
will give stronger signals dependant on the shape, size and orientation.
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Segregation
When alloys are added to the molten material in a cast ingot, some of them may
not mix thoroughly and get left as segregated material in the centre of the
ingot after solidification. If the acoustic impedances of the alloys and the base
metal were different enough ultrasonic reflections may occur. In steel casting they
generally have acoustic impedance that is similar to the steel, so they are not
usually found ultrasonically unless the sensitivity of the equipment is high.
A flake
This defect occurs in the casting process by the material splashing up the sides of
the mould, this defect is on but not fused to the surface. This usually leaves a visible
"flake" of material on the surface of the casting. Using a 0 probe, scanning from the
opposite side of the casting shows a signal appearing just before the bwe. On
the defect side of the casting this defect is very easily missed because it is very near the
surface and if using a single crystal probe the signals will be in the dead zone.If a
double crystal 0 probe is used, in 'B" the defect signal will be near zero on the
CRT. In both cases, if the defect is larger than the beam then the bwe will not be
present.

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Scabs
These are pieces of foreign material, from the inside of the mould that have
stuck to the surface of the casting and give signal responses similar to a flake if smooth or
may just scatter the beam if rough..
Cold shuts
A lack of fusion resulting from splashing (a flake), surging, interrupted pouring or the
meeting of two streams of molten metal coming from different directions. This
defect gives a good signal response ultrasonically when favourably orientated to the
beam.
Pipe or Shrinkage cavities
Internal or surface voids in the material, caused by shrinkage during
solidification or insufficient filling of the mould. The signal response from this
defect varies according to the shape, size and orientation of the defect. The normal
rules of ultrasonic testing apply to the signals received, i.e. Perpendicular
orientation and large defect area give a good signal, oblique orientation and/or
small defect area gives poor signals and larger defect area than the beam causes a
loss of bwe, etc...
Hot tears
Surface or near surface cracks in the material due to different cooling rates at
changes in section in a casting. Ultrasonic testing gives low amplitude multiple
signals from multiple cracks or may give a high amplitude "ragged" signal from
a large crack with the orientation of its major plane favourable to the beam.

Porosity
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This volumetric defect gives a multiple low amplitude signal from all directions, access
permitting.
Blowholes
These are small holes in the surface of a casting caused by the gas evolving from
decomposing grease, moisture, etc. This defect is not readily found ultrasonically
because it can be confused with rough surface signals normally obtained on
some castings.
Airlocks
Air trapped in the mould during pouring can be located ultrasonically and gives
signal responses dependant on its shape, size and orientation.
ACCEPT AND REJECT CRITERIA
When defects are found it may be required that the defects are reported or the
casting may be accepted or rejected according to the defects found. The
accept/reject criteria tell us what size and type of defects to report or which
defects render the component rejectable, The criteria can be found in a procedure, a
written instruction sheet or in a national standard.

REPORTING
A report should give details of the casting identification, test area, surface condition,
equipment used, sensitivity settings and a drawing showing the defects and details
such as; defect type, size, lateral and longitudinal positions in relation to datums,
etc.. The report should be signed and dated and there may be a requirement
to state your relevant qualifications. Alternatively, if accepting or rejecting the
casting, instead of a drawing you may be asked to give a written statement of
conformity to the relevant acceptance level, or reasons for rejection, to the standard
employed.

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20.0

ULTRASONIC TESTING OF FORGINGS

GENERAL
The ultrasonic testing of forgings of simple geometry, such as bar and billet, there
are few limitations, When testing general forgings, such as crankshafts, etc., then the
most limiting factor is the shape. On complex shapes, the surface curvatures may not
allow good contact or coupling, the angles of the surfaces may prevent back wall
echoes with 0 probes and some forgings, simple or complex, may be anisotropic
in grain structure (different grain sizes in different directions).
TECHNIQUE
When searching for defects in forgings you should have, as a minimum, the
following 30 information, which is usually written on a technique or instruction sheet
(see the appendices for an example).
The test component identification and area to test.
Actions to be taken when defects are found.
The purpose of the test (defects sought and acceptance criteria).
Equipment required.
What method and level of test sensitivity to use.
The method of scanning.
The instruction sheet would also contain sections giving details of any relevant
safety procedures and post test procedures such as the cleaning of the test area
afterwards. It would also have the company name, a unique technical reference
number, the originator's name and signature and an authorising signature.
Test area
The test may involve testing the whole, of a component, or just parts, this
must be specified.

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Actions to be taken
When defects are found it may be required that the defects are reported, e.g. on a 70
diagram or as a written description, or the component, or material, may be accepted or
rejected according to the defects found. If defects are to be reported then the defect
information that needs reporting would be contained in this section, i.e. defect
type, size, lateral and longitudinal position in relation to datums, etc.
Purpose of the test
This section tells us the accept/reject criteria for particular defects, i.e. what size
and type of defects to report or which defects render the component rejectable.
Equipment
This section should give information on; the type of flaw detector, type, size and 90
frequency of probes, type of couplant, calibration blocks and reference blocks to use.
Sensitivity
Method of setting and level of sensitivity need to be quoted for each scan, e.g. Set the bwe
from the DGS block to 80% fsh and note the gain setting, Still on the DGS block, maximise
the signal from the flat bottom hole at target depth (test material thickness) and set that to
80% fsh and note the difference in dBs between the new gain setting and the previous
one. Set the bwe from the test material to 80% fsh and add the difference noted in
the first two gain settings to the present gain and scan at this level.
Scanning method
The method of scanning the material is either a written, step by step, instruction
or technique sheet, or involves following the steps laid out in the relevant
national standard. An example written step by step could be:
Prepare the material surface by removing any loose scale, rust, dirt or other
debris and visually inspect for surface defects or damage.
Calibrate the screen on the flaw detector, using a 0 probe and the A2 calibration
block for a range of 0 to 200 mm.
Set the sensitivity (as quoted in the relevant section above) and apply
couplant to the test area.
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Scan the designated test area, with a probe overlap between scans of at least 20% of
the probe's diameter and at a maximum probe movement rate of 150mm/sec.
When defects meeting the criteria in the "Purpose of the test" section are
found record the relevant defect data as in the "Actions to be taken" section.
Defects larger than the ultrasonic beans, i.e. where there is no bwe present,
should be sized using the 6 dB drop or equalisation methods. Defects
that are smaller than the ultrasonic beam should be sized and positioned
using the DGS diagram for the probe in use. With a calibrated screen,
maximise the signal from the defect and set the amplitude to 20% fsh and
record the gain setting. Move the probe to an area of the material, where the
back wall is the same distance as the previously recorded defect, there are no
defects and the surface condition and curvatures are the same as the
located defect area.
Set the bwe to 20% fsh and note the
difference between the previous and the new gain settings. Using the
DGS diagram look on the infinity line, at the bwe distance, for the dB
figure and add this figure to the previously noted dB difference. Read the total dB
figure (the two just added), at the reflector beam path (depth), off the graph,
to give the equivalent size of the reflector.
Prepare a neat concise report giving details of the component
identification, test area, equipment used, sensitivity method and settings
and a drawing with the defect details as recorded in section 5 above.
Sign and date the report and state your relevant qualifications.
Post test procedures
This would involve cleaning any remaining couplant and dirt from the test area
and covering the surface with protective coatings according to client's
requirements.
DEFECTS IN FORGINGS
The interpretation of defects in forgings involves knowledge or experience of
the expected types of defect and the possible signals from them. In some
situations it is a case of reading the signal, evaluating which defects do not give this type
of signal, then choosing from the remaining possibilities as to which type of
defect is most likely. Here are a few of the types of defects found in forgings:
Inclusions
Inclusions, in forgings, are formed from lumps of trapped solid non-metallic
material in the original cast ingot and when forged out the shapes, sizes, orientations and
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depths of the defects vary. The varying orientation and shape have the effect of
scattering the sound beam, as it passes through. When using a 0 probe on parallel sided
forgings,
if
the sound reaches the back wall and reflects back, then it scatters again on the return
journey. This causes a significant drop in the amplitude of the bwe, compared to a
defect free area. The amplitudes of the signals from the defects also vary
because the differences in sizes and orientations. The signals we see then on the
screen are a low or no bwe and a cluster of signals, of various amplitudes and
depth, from the defects. The cluster of signals from the defects has a constantly
changing pattern when you move the probe across the surface.

Banding
When alloys are added to the molten material in a cast ingot, some of them may not mix
thoroughly and get left as segregated material in the centre of the ingot after
solidification. These segregations get elongated and reduced in section in the
rolling and forging processes, this is known as banding. If the acoustic impedances of
the alloys and the base metal were different enough ultrasonic reflections may
occur. In steel casting they generally have an acoustic impedance that is similar
to the steel, so they are not usually found ultrasonically unless the sensitivity of the
equipment is high.
A forging lap
This defect occurs in the forging process by the material folding over onto itself
and it is flattened, but not fused onto the surface. This usually leaves a visible seam on the
surface of the forging. Using a 0 probe, scanning from the opposite side of the
forging shows a signal appearing just before the bwe. On the defect side of the
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forging this defect is very easily missed because it is very near the surface and
if using a single crystal probe the signals will be in the dead zone. (However,
evidence of this problem would be a total loss of back wall echo, providing the
surface area of the lap is larger than the beam).

If a double crystal 0 probe is used, for the defect near surface, the defect signal
will be near zero on the CRT. In both cases, if the defect is larger than the
beam then the bwe will not be present.
Slugs
These are pieces of foreign material that have been pressed into the surface and
give signal responses much the same as a lap.
Bursts
Internal or surface ruptures of the material, caused by processing at too
low a temperature or excessive working during forging. The signal response from
this defect varies according to the shape, size and orientation of the defect. The
normal rules of ultrasonic testing apply to the signals received, i.e. Perpendicular
orientation and large defect area give a good signal, oblique orientation and/or
small defect area gives poor signals and larger defect area than the beam
causes a loss of bwe, etc.. Deciding whether the defect is a burst or not
requires careful plotting of the responses received to determine the shape and position,

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ACCEPT AND REJECT CRITERIA


When defects are found it may be required that the defects are reported, or the
material or component may be accepted or rejected according to the defects
found. The accept/reject criteria tell us what size and type of defects to report
or which defects render the component rejectable. The criteria can be found in
a procedure, a written instruction sheet or in a national standard.
REPORTING
A report should give details of the component identification, test area,
surface condition, equipment used, sensitivity settings and a drawing showing the
defects and details such as; defect type, size, lateral and longitudinal positions in
relation to datums, etc.. The report should be signed and dated and there may be a
requirement to state your relevant qualifications. Alternatively, if accepting
or rejecting the component or material, instead of a drawing you may be
asked to give a written statement of conformity to the relevant acceptance level,
or reasons for rejection, to the standard employed.

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TABLE OF ACOUSTICAL VELOCITIES IN DIFFERENT MATERIALS

Material

Compressional or
longitudinal wave
velocity (m/s)

Shear or transverse
wave velocity (m/s)

Aluminum

6,400

3,130

Brass

4,372

2,100

Cast iron

3,500

2,200

Copper

4,769

2,325

Gold

3,240

1,200

Iron

5,957

3,224

Lead

2,400

790

Oil

1,440

Perspex

2,740

1,320

Mild steel

5,960

3,240

Stainless steel

5,740

3,130

Water

1,480

Tungsten

5,174

2,880

Zinc

4,170

2,480

Zirconium

4,650

2,300

The velocity in a medium depends upon the medium's density and elasticity.

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Medium

Compressional

Shear

velocity

velocity

(m/s)

(m/s)

Density
g/cm

Acoustic
Impedance

330

Aluminum

6,400

3,130

2.7

17.2

Barium titanate

5,260

5.7

30

Beryllium

1,289

888

1.8

23.2

Brass

4,370

2,100

8.45

37

Cast iron

3,500

2,200

7.2

25

Copper

4,760

2,330

8.93

42.5

Glass (plate)

5,770

2.5

14.5

Gold

3,240

1,200

19.3

63

Iron

5,960

3,220

7.85

46.8

Lead

2,160

700

11.4

24.6

Lithium sulphate

5,450

2.1

11.2

Magnesium

5,790

3,100

1.74

10.1

Mercury

1,450

13.55

19.6

Molybdenum

6,250

3,350

10.2

63.7

Nickel

5,480

2,990

8.85

48.5

Oil

1,440

0.9

1.3

Perspex

2,740

1,320

1.2

3.2

Platinum

3,960

1,670

21.4

85

Quartz

5,730

2.65

Silver

3,700

1,700

10.5

Air

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Density

Compressional

Shear

velocity

velocity

(m/s)

(m/s)

Tin

3,380

1,610

7.3

Titanium

5,990

3,120

4.5

5,170

2,880

19.3

Tungsten araldite

2,060

10.5

Tungsten carbide

6,650

3,980

10

Uranium

3,370

2,020

18.7

Water

1,480

4,170

2,480

Medium

Tungsten

Zinc

Rev 0 December 2010

g/cm

Acoustic
Impedance

1
7.1

Page 124

Formulas Used in Ultrasonic Testing:


Where, = Wavelength of the sound (mm)

Wavelength

v = Velocity (m/sec)
f = frequency (MHz)

Nearzone N =

D = Diameter of the crystal (mm)

= Wavelength of the sound (mm)


Half Beam angle =

K= constant
D = Diameter of the crystal (mm)

= Wavelength of the sound (mm)


Snells law

Where, i = angle of incident ()


=

r = angle of refraction ()
v1 = velocity of I medium (m/sec)
v2 = velocity of II medium (m/sec)

Decibel dB = 20

Crystal thickness t =

dB= Decibel
H1=

signal height (%)

H 2=

signal height (%)

t= Crystal thickness (mm)


V=Sound velocity in crystal material
(mm/s)
f=Fundamental frequency that the

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crystal vibrates at (Hz)

Material Velocity V =

V=Unknown velocity (m/s)


T=Material actual thickness
(mm)
TB = Time base reading (mm)
CV = Calibration block velocity (m/s)

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British Standard related to Ultrasonic Examination


BS EN 1714: 1998
Ultrasonic examination of welded joints (superseding BS 3923: Part 1)
BS EN 1712: 1997
Ultrasonic examination of welded joints Acceptance levels
BS EN 1713: 1998
Ultrasonic examination of welded joints - Characterisation of indications in welds
BS EN 583
Ultrasonic testing
Part 1: 1999:
General principles
Part 2: 2001:
Sensitivity and range setting
Part 3: 1997:
Transmission technique
Part 4: 2002:
Ultrasonic examination for imperfections perpendicular to the surface
Part 5: 2001:
Characterisation of sizing of imperfections
Part 6:
Time of flight diffraction technique as a method for detecting and sizing of
imperfections
BS EN 10160:1999
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Ultrasonic testing of steel flat products of thicknesses of > 6 mm (reflection


method) (superseding BS 5996)
BS EN 10079: 1993
Definition of steel products
BS EN 10228: Part 3: 1998
Ultrasonic testing of ferritic and martensitic steel forgings (superseding BS 4124)
BS EN 10228: Part 4 : 1999
Ultrasonic testing of Austenitic stainless steel forgings (superseding BS 4124)
BS EN 12668: 2000
Verification of UT equipment: Part 3: combined equipment (superseding BS
4331 Part 1)
BS EN 12223: 2000
Non-destructive-testing - Ultrasonic examination - Specification for calibration
block no. I (superseding BS 2704)
BS EN 27963: 1992
Calibration block no. 2 for ultrasonic examination of welds (superseding BS 2704)
BS EN 1330: Part 1: 1998 List of general terms
BS EN 1330: Part 2: 1998
Terms common to NDT methods
BS EN 1330: Part 4: 2000
Non-destructive-testing terminology: Part 4: Ultrasonic testing (superseding BS
3683)
BS 3923: Part 2: 1972 (obsolete)
Automatic ultrasonic examination of welds
BS EN 12680-1: 2003
Founding ultrasonic examination Part1: Steel castings for general purposes
BS EN 4570: 1985
Fusion welding of steel castings
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BS 6208: 1990 (obsolete)


Ultrasonic testing of ferritic steel castings including quality levels.
BS 3923: Part 1: 1986 (obsolete) Ultrasonic examination of welds
BS 5996: 1993 (obsolete)
Acceptance levels for internal imperfections in steel plate, strip and wide flats,
based on ultrasonic testing.
BS 4124: 1991 (obsolete)
Ultrasonic detection of imperfections in steel forgings.
BS 4331: 1978 (obsolete)
Assessing the performance characteristics of ultrasonic flaw detection equipment.
Part 1:
Overall performance: on-site methods.
BS 2704: 1978 (obsolete)
Calibration blocks for use in ultrasonic flaw detection.
BS 3683: Part 4: 1985 (obsolete)
Terms used in non-destructive testing: Part 4: Ultrasonic flaw detection.
DD 174 (obsolete)
Calibration of time of flight diffraction

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EXAMINATION SCHEMES
PCN Examinations
General
The PCN (Personal Certification in Non-Destructive Testing) is an International Scheme for the
certification of NDT technicians and supervisors and meets EN473 and ISO 9712 requirements.
Level of Qualification
See EN473 for a full description for levels of competence.

Level 1
The level qualifies personnel to carry out NDT operations according to written instruction under the
supervision of a Level 2 or Level 3 person. A level 1 person has demonstrated competence to:

Set up equipment and carry out tests;


Record and classify the results in terms of written criteria

Level 2
This level qualifies personnel to perform and direct NDT according to established or recognized
procedures and has demonstrated competence to:

Choose the technique for the test method used;


Perform and supervise the test
Interpret, evaluate and report results according to applicable standards, codes or specifications;
Define the limitations of the testing method for which the qualification covers;
Understand and transform NDT standards and specifications into practical testing instructions
adapted to the actual working conditions.

Level 3
This level qualifies personnel to direct any NDT operation for which they are certificated and:

Assume full responsibility for a test facility and staff;


Establish and/or validate NDT instructions or procedures;

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Interpret codes, standards, specifications and procedures;


Designated the particular test methods, techniques and procedures to be used.

Pre-examination Requirements
Level 1 and Level 2: There are mandatory minimum pre-approval training requirements which are given in
the PCN requirements documents.

Pre-examination training courses must be validated by the British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing
and need to cover the syllabus over a designated minimum number of hours.

Documented in-house training may account for up to one third of the required training hours. The
candidate also has to demonstrate practical experience in line with the requirements of PCN.

Level 3: The candidates have two access routes available which are shown in the PCN requirements
documents. Both training and experience requirements depend upon academic background. Note: A
mature candidate route is available

Examinations
The examination consists of general theory, specific theory and practical parts dependant on level and
type of examination.

By holding other PCN qualifications candidates may be eligible for exemptions.

Following an examination, a results notice will be issued: this counts as evidence of PCN certification for a
period of 42 days. The certificate will follow the results notice within 21 days.

Where the candidate is unsuccessful, one retest may be allowed providing the percentage grades are not
lower than the grades required by PCN.
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