Flaw detection is the process of identifying and sizing sub-surface defects in materials. One of the most common techniques to identify defects is ultrasonic inspection where sound waves, propagated through the material, are used to identify such anomalies. The high frequency sound behaves predictably when interacting with surfaces and internal defects.
Flaw detection can be applied in almost any industry from composites and metals used in aerospace, to petrochemical oil and gas pipelines and storage tanks, to power generation including nuclear power. The most common anomalies detected include cracks, voids and porosity in metals, ceramics and plastics in addition to delaminations and disbonds in composites.
Advantages of ultrasonic testing include:
- Access is only required from one side for pulse-echo mode
- The depth of penetration is superior to other methods
- Highly accurate flaw sizing and shape
- Minimal part preparation is required
- Results are in real-time
Modern portable flaw detectors interpret the distinctive sound echoes given off by the anomalies. Imaging flaw detectors provide color and manual or automated scanning ability to generate comprehensible, full-field, C-scan images of the material, reducing inspection time dramatically.
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