An introduction to Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing

Non-destructive testing (NDT) methods have revolutionised the way we inspect and evaluate materials without causing any damage. One of the most advanced and versatile techniques in the world of NDT is Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing (PA). 

This cutting-edge technology has gained immense popularity in various industries due to its precision, efficiency, and ability to detect flaws in materials. 

In this blog, we will dive into the fundamentals of Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing and explore how it works its applications, and the benefits it offers. First, let’s get an idea of what NDT is. 

Understanding NDT

NDT stands for Non-Destructive Testing. It is a range of inspection methods used to evaluate materials and structures without causing damage. 

NDT techniques include ultrasonic testing, radiography, magnetic particle testing, and more, offering valuable insights into flaws and defects in various industries.

Interested? Read more about what NDT Group has to offer with our NDT services. 

What is Phased Array?

Phased Array (PA) Ultrasonic Testing is a sophisticated ultrasonic testing method that uses multiple elements to generate and receive ultrasonic waves. 

These elements are organised in an array, and each element can be controlled independently, enabling the manipulation of the ultrasonic beam’s direction and focus. As the probe can be moved electronically, PA takes less time to perform than manual ultrasonic testing. 

By adjusting the timing and amplitude of the individual elements, the ultrasonic wave can be steered, scanned, and focused with great precision. This ability allows us to inspect complex geometries and improve defect detection. 

PA is portable and collects a huge amount of data which is useful for monitoring and maintenance. This data can be stored to create a permanent record of the internal structure of a component. 

What is Phased Array used to detect? 

Phased Array is used to detect various flaws and defects in materials and structures. It is particularly effective in identifying cracks, lack of fusion, porosity, corrosion, and thickness variations. PA is used for inspecting welds, pipework, storage tanks, pressure vessels, forgings, castings, heat exchangers and boilers. 

Applications of Phased Array 

PA is used in a wide range of industries, including aerospace, automotive, oil and gas, power generation, and manufacturing. Some common applications include:

1. Weld Inspection

PA is extensively used for weld inspection to detect various types of flaws, such as cracks, lack of fusion, and porosity. It provides a fast and accurate assessment of weld quality, ensuring the structural integrity of critical components.

2. Corrosion Mapping

In industries where corrosion poses a significant threat, such as oil and gas, PA is employed for corrosion mapping. It helps identify areas of metal loss and assess the severity of corrosion without the need for destructive testing.

3. Bonding Quality Evaluation

PA is used to evaluate the bonding quality of adhesively bonded materials. It can detect disbonds or delamination between layers, ensuring the structural integrity of composite structures.

5. Thickness Measurement

PA can accurately measure the thickness of various materials, making it useful for assessing the health of pipes, tanks, and pressure vessels.

Advantages of PA

PA offers several advantages over conventional ultrasonic testing methods:

1. Faster Inspections

PA can inspect larger areas in less time due to its ability to scan multiple angles simultaneously. This speed enhances productivity and reduces downtime.

2. Enhanced Detection Capabilities

The flexibility to control and manipulate the ultrasonic beam improves defect detection, especially in challenging geometries.

3. Digital Data Storage and Analysis

PA systems produce digital data that can be stored and analysed for future reference, making it easier to track changes over time and compare inspection results.

4. Safer and Environmentally Friendly

Since PA is a non-destructive testing method, it does not cause damage to the inspected components, ensuring their continued safe operation.

Phased Array: efficient and effective 

Phased Array is a powerful and versatile non-destructive testing method that has transformed the way we inspect materials. Its precise and efficient defect detection capabilities have made it a valuable asset across various industries. 

As technology evolves, its potential to ensure safety, improve quality control, and enhance productivity continues to expand.

Responsive testing that delivers assurance that your equipment is safe.

Contact us for a quality testing service with a fast report turnaround. We can respond to any challenge.


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