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SIMPLIFIED CALIBRATION FOR PHASED ARRAY INSPECTION

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000248545D
Publication Date: 2016-Dec-15
Document File: 9 page(s) / 186K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

An automated phased array ultrasound calibration is disclosed for corrosion and composite inspections or thickness measurements in general. Measurements on different thickness steps are performed, and then calibrations are automatically performed on the recorded values, without user interaction. This results in faster inspection times and reduction in the required level of training for an operator of the measurement instruments and the equipment inspected using the phased array.

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This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 33% of the total text.

No: 285632

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SIMPLIFIED CALIBRATION FOR PHASED ARRAY INSPECTION

Anandamurugan Subramanian

Ralf Ratering

BACKGROUND

[0001] Phased array technology is now widely used across industries for Non-Destructive

Evaluation (NDE). A common example is ultrasonic thickness measurement, which tests the

thickness of the test object, for example, to monitor pipework corrosion. When phased array

probes are used for ultrasonic inspection it is necessary to ensure that consistent performance is

achieved. Common processes utilize one or more of Distance

Amplitude Correction (DAC), and Time Corrected Gain (TCG)

to record inspection data.

[0002] Referring to Figure 1, an ultrasonic test device 100 includes an ultrasonic pulser 102,

an ultrasonic receiver 104, a digital signal processor 106, a waveform display 108, and data

logger 110, a memory 112, a controller 114, and analytic logic 116.

[0003] In a phased array embodiment of ultrasonic test device 100, there would be a number

of pulsers and receivers arranged in various ways, including linearly, or in a two dimensional

matrix, or variations that depend on the particulars of the application to which the ultrasonic

test device 100 is most closely adapted.

[0004] The ultrasonic pulser 102 provides an excitation pulse into the material to test, and the

ultrasonic receiver 104 provides amplification and filtering for the returning echoes. Pulse

amplitude, shape, and damping can be controlled to optimize performance of the ultrasonic

pulser 102, and gain and bandwidth of the ultrasonic receiver 104 can be adjusted to optimize

signal-to-noise ratios.

[0005] The data logger 110 stores the return pulse digitally (digital to analog converter not

illustrated) in the memory 112 and the digital signal processor 106 and analytic logic 116

perform various measurement and analysis functions on the digital waveforms. A clock or timer

(not illustrated) may be used to synchronize pulses and provide distance calibration. Signal

processing may be as simple as generation of a waveform on the waveform display 108 that

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shows signal amplitude versus time on a calibrated scale, or as complex as sophisticated digital

processing algorithms that incorporate distance/amplitude correction and trigonometric

calculations for angled sound paths. Alarm gates are often employed to monitor signal levels at

selected points in the wave train to flag echoes from flaws.

[0006] The data logger 110 may record full waveform and setup information associated with

each test, if required for documentation purposes, or selected information such as echo

amplitude, depth or distance readings, or presence or absence of alarm conditions.

[0007] One challenge for phased array calibrations is that they involve multiple steps that are

error prone to the operator and require a long setup time before the actual inspection

measurements may commence. The setup time and complexity of calibrations are thus an

undesirable feature of existing phased array inst...