Improvements in 500-kHz Ultrasonic Phased-Array Probe Designs for Evaluation of Thick Section Cast Austenitic Stainless Steel Piping Welds

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PNNL has been studying and performing confirmatory research on the inspection of piping welds in coarse-grained steels for over 30 years. More recent efforts have been the application of low frequency phased array technology to this difficult to inspect material. The evolution of 500 kHz PA probes and the associated electronics and scanning protocol are documented in this report. The basis for the probe comparisons are responses from one mechanical fatigue crack and two thermal fatigue cracks in large-bore cast mockup specimens on loan from the Electric Power Research Institution. One of the most significant improvements was seen in the ... continued below

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Crawford, Susan L.; Cinson, Anthony D.; Moran, Traci L.; Anderson, Michael T. & Diaz, Aaron A. February 2011.

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PNNL has been studying and performing confirmatory research on the inspection of piping welds in coarse-grained steels for over 30 years. More recent efforts have been the application of low frequency phased array technology to this difficult to inspect material. The evolution of 500 kHz PA probes and the associated electronics and scanning protocol are documented in this report. The basis for the probe comparisons are responses from one mechanical fatigue crack and two thermal fatigue cracks in large-bore cast mockup specimens on loan from the Electric Power Research Institution. One of the most significant improvements was seen in the use of piezo-composite elements in the later two probes instead of the piezo-ceramic material used in the prototype array. This allowed a reduction in system gain of 30 dB and greatly reduced electronic noise. The latest probe had as much as a 5 dB increase in signal to noise, adding to its flaw discrimination capability. The system electronics for the latest probe were fully optimized for a 500 kHz center frequency, however significant improvements were not observed in the center frequency of the flaw responses. With improved scanner capabilities, smaller step sizes were used, allowing both line and raster data improvements to be made with the latest probe. The small step sizes produce high resolution images that improve flaw discrimination and, along with the increased signal-to-noise ratio inherent in the latest probe design, enhanced detection of the upper regions of the flaw make depth sizing more plausible. Finally, the physical sizes of the probes were progressively decreased allowing better access to the area of interest on specimens with weld crowns, and the latest probe was designed with non-integral wedges providing flexibility in focusing on different specimen geometries.

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  • Report No.: PNNL-20238
  • Grant Number: AC05-76RL01830
  • DOI: 10.2172/1012296 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1012296
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc845094

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  • February 2011

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • June 3, 2016, 1:22 p.m.

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Crawford, Susan L.; Cinson, Anthony D.; Moran, Traci L.; Anderson, Michael T. & Diaz, Aaron A. Improvements in 500-kHz Ultrasonic Phased-Array Probe Designs for Evaluation of Thick Section Cast Austenitic Stainless Steel Piping Welds, report, February 2011; Richland, Washington. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc845094/: accessed October 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.