What Is Ultrasonic Examination And How Does It Work – Part 4

Travis Jolliff

Ultrasonic examination comprises a range of non-destructive testing techniques that send ultrasonic waves through an object or material. These high frequency sound waves are transmitted into materials to characterize the material or for flaw detecting. Most ultrasonic examination applications use short pulse waves with frequencies ranging from 0.1-15 MHz, although frequencies up to 50 MHz can be used.

This 4 part series of articles provides information that will help the reader better understand what Ultrasonic Examination is including:

  • How ultrasonic examination works
  • Pulse-echo and Through-transmission
  • Contact and Immersion Testing
  • Why ultrasonic examination is used
  • Advantages of ultrasonic examination
  • Limitations of ultrasonic examination
  • What Materials Can Be Tested
  • Applications for ultrasonic examination

Part 1 addressed How ultrasonic examination works and Pulse-echo and Through-transmission. Part 2 addressed Contact and Immersion Testing and Why is ultrasonic examination used. Part 3 addressed Advantages of ultrasonic examination and Limitations of ultrasonic examination. Part 4 addresses What Materials Can Be Tested and Applications for ultrasonic examination.

What Materials Can Be Tested

Ultrasonic examination is used in a wide range of industries due to its suitability for many different materials. Ultrasonic examination is ideally used for inspection of dense, crystalline structures such as metals. Ceramics, plastics, composites and concrete can also be successfully inspected but with reduced resolution, since the attenuation in these materials is higher.

Applications for ultrasonic examination

Ultrasonic examination has a variety of applications across industry, including testing the integrity of a material or component. This can include testing of welds to determine if there are any discontinuities present. This testing can be performed on both ferrous and non-ferrous materials as well as for thicker sections and those that are reachable from one side only. Ultrasonic examination is also capable of detecting finer defects and planar flaws which may not be assessed as readily with radiographic testing.

Applications for ultrasonic examination include those within the aerospace, automotive, construction, rail, medical and oil and gas industries.

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