Ultrasonic Testing (UT) uses high frequency sound energy to conduct examinations and make measurements. Ultrasonic inspection can be used for flaw detection/evaluation, dimensional measurements, material characterization, and more.

The sound energy is introduced and propagates through the materials in the form of waves. When there is a discontinuity (such as a crack) in the wave path, part of the energy will be reflected back from the flaw surface. The reflected wave signal is transformed into electrical signal by the transducer and is displayed on a screen.

Ultrasonic Inspection is a very useful and versatile NDT method for detecting both surface and subsurface volumetric defects and is widely used in pipeline, oil and gas and processing industry.

Some of the advantages of ultrasonic inspection that are often cited include:
  • It is sensitive to both surface and subsurface discontinuities.
  • The depth of penetration for flaw detection or measurement is superior to other NDT methods.
  • Only single sided access is needed when the pulse echo technique is used.
  • It is high accuracy in determining reflector position and estimating size and shape.
  • Minimal part preparation required.
  • Electronic equipment provides instantaneous results.
  • Detailed images can be produced with automated systems.
  • It has other uses such as thickness measurements, in addition to flaw detection.
As with all NDT methods, ultrasonic inspection also has its limitations, which include:
  • Surface must be accessible to transmit ultrasound.
  • Skill and training is more extensive than with some other methods.
  • It normally requires a coupling medium to promote transfer of sound energy into test specimen.
  • Materials that are rough, irregular in shape, very small, exceptionally thin or not homogeneous are difficult to inspect.
  • Cast iron and other coarse grained materials are difficult to inspect due to low sound transmission and high signal noise.
  • Linear defects oriented parallel to the sound beam may go undetected.
  • Reference standards are required for both equipment calibration, and characterization of flaws.
For more information on how ARGYLL can meet your NDT inspection needs using UT, please contact us at ndt@argyll.co.ke