Ultrasonic Detection Testing

ultrasonic Ultrasonic Detection Testing

L&S Electric Field Technician performing an Ultrasonic test

The process of Ultrasonic Detection Testing is one where ultrasonic waves are used to detect surface breaking, and any internal imperfections, of the surfaces that are being tested. The use of high frequency waves, and ultra sensitive equipment removes the potential for errors in the reading. The testing is also going to determine the rejection and acceptance rates of certain test objects, determined by reference codes or standards.

Why Ultrasonic Detection Testing is Effective

There are a number of reasons why this form of UT testing is effective; some of these reasons include:

  • The fact that you get instant test results, regardless of what is being tested, or what materials you want a read out on.
  • The testing is sensitive to surface, as well as to sub surface discontinuities that occur throughout the material being tested.
  • The UT testing is capable of testing the imperfections that occur throughout the entire material thickness, and it can be used even if you only have access through the surface.
  • It can be used to complement infrared instruments, for routine checks and exams of equipment; and,
  • UT testing allows the techs that are performing the exam to hear the sounds that can’t be heard without the right equipment, and is a compliment to heat testing done with infrared equipment.

Disadvantages of Ultrasonic Detection Testing

Although there are several benefits, there are also a few drawbacks to using Ultrasonic Detection Testing methods; some of these are to include:

  • It is important that a highly qualified tech be on site to run the testing, which can be costly if you do not have someone on staff to do the testing.
  • Some parts are still difficult to inspect, if they are very small, have a weird shape, or are very thin in size, even with the best equipment; and,
  • The inspected items have to be water-resistant, if you are using water based couplets┬áthat don’t contain rust inhibitors.

So, even with the best technologies and equipment, there are a few drawbacks that you have to be aware of, if you do choose to use UT testing on your equipment. It is effective, and can get accurate and precise readings, but there are still a few things that might get in the way of you getting the results you need, and the precise reading, if you are not careful when running the testing on certain items.

In addition to these, there are also some limits that you should be aware of when using Ultrasonic Detection Testing. Some of these include the fact that the item being tested must be accessible to transmit the ultrasound. You should also know that materials like cast iron or similar coarse-grained materials might be difficult to test (even with use of a coupler), due to low sound transmission signals running through the material.

Timing for Ultrasonic Detection Testing

Although there is no set time frame for when you should, or should not run the testing, you should use your best judgment as to when testing should be done. Since the right techs are going to be able to test the equipment at any time, and while it is running, you do not have to shut down your plant or facilities in order for them to be able to test the equipment. If you do choose to use UT testing at intervals, you might want to use it with infrared testing (which uses heat waves), so you can both see, and hear what is going on, and detect all flaws,and possible issues that might arise with the equipment you are using.

Regardless of the reasons you choose to use UT testing, it is important to hire the right techs, and highly trained companies to run the testing for your business. Due to the fact that extensive training is required to learn how to use the equipment, and read the signals, you have to know the people working on and testing your equipment, know what they are doing. It can be effective, if properly done, if used in conjunction with infrared inspections, and when the testing is done at proper intervals, so all defects can be spotted, and immediately repaired if necessary.

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