Phased Array

Phased Array ultrasonic testing (PAUT) is an advanced NDT method used widely in several industry sectors, such as construction, pipelines, and power generation. Phased Array is used to detect discontinuities such as cracks or flaws and thereby determine component quality. Due to the possibility to control parameters such as beam angle and focal distance, this method is very efficient regarding the defect detection and speed of testing. Apart from detecting flaws in components, phased array can also be used for wall thickness measurements in conjunction with corrosion testing.

Applications

Phased Array ultrasonics has many different applications such as weld inspection, corrosion mapping, bolt and nozzle inspection. Glacier Energy specialises in the use of Phased Array for the construction of new piping, pipelines, vessels, and structural welded members. This technique can also be used in petrochemical plants for “in service” applications, when quick and accurate inspections are necessary due to time constraints during outages.

Methods

Phased Array ultrasound inspection methods use a probe with one transducer effectively “sliced” up to create multiple small transducers that are pulsed individually to control the focus and sweep of the beam. Software controls the timing of the pulses. The reflected pulses are processed and combined to create an image of any flaws or defects found in the material being inspected. Optimised beam focus and angle enable rapid scanning without transducer positional movement, i.e. from a fixed distance or position, allowing inspection from multiple angles, and the ability to inspect materials with complex geometries.

Benefits

Phased Array has several advantages in comparison to other non-destructive techniques. 

  • Suitable for a wide range of materials and complex test piece geometries.
  • Phased arrays can reduce inspection times by eliminating or reducing the need for mechanical scanning and by taking advantage of the ability to perform electronic scanning.
  • Information can be displayed in multiple display formats which help in more accurate interpretation of flaws. 
  • The data can also be captured and stored where a permanent record of data is a requirement so it can be reviewed by the inspector and used for future reference and inspections.
  • There is no radiation or environmental hazards compared to radiography.
  • With phased array there is no need to shut down operations due to radiation exposure so there is less wasted man hours and increased production.

Phased Array Versus Radiography

Phased Array ultrasonic testing is rapidly replacing radiography as the preferred method of testing pipe welds. Portability, convenience, inspection speed, and safety are four compelling advantages of the technology and the technique. In comparing phased array vs radiography, the evidence weighs heavily in favour of PAUT, especially where safety is concerned.

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