Non-destructive inspection using ultrasonic sensors is widely utilized to guarantee the safety of large structures. However, there is the problem that it will take a very long time to complete. Therefore, it was decided to develop a sensor capable of testing a wide range of structures at a high inspection speed. The ultrasonic wave that the ultrasonic sensor can generate must be equally emitted in any direction and the ultrasonic wave returned from any direction be detected. To attain this objective, an electromagnetic acoustic transducer (EMAT) consisting of a circular-shaped magnet and an electric induction coil (EM) has been developed, because it is impossible to fabricate such a special ultrasonic sensor using a commercial-type ultrasonic sensor with a piezoelectric element, and it is convenient to automatically scan over the surface of the structure. First, the detail specifications of the new ultrasonic sensor have been determined by changing many of the parameters, for example, the impedance and the size of the EM coil, the size of the magnet, etc. The performance of the new sensor was then tested under different conditions. Based on the results of the experimental tests, it was demonstrated that the new sensor could generate ultrasonic waves in any direction and detect them from any direction. However, the performance was not high enough to apply the new sensor to a real structure. The new sensor has been improved to increase the performance by adding a new concept.
Nondestructive inspection of a high-temperature structure is required to guarantee its safety. However, there are no useful sensors for high-temperature structures. Some of them cannot work at temperatures over 50°C.Another concern is that it is too expensive to use. Therefore, a sensing system, which can transmit and receive an ultrasonic wave and travel a long distance using a long waveguide, has been studied. This means that an ultrasonic sensor could be driven at atmospheric temperature. We could finally confirm that a guided ultrasonic wave generated by a trial electromagnetic acoustic transducer (EMAT) with a thin Ni sheet on the surface of the pipe can travel more than 10m using a thin bar with a 2mm diameter as the waveguide. However, we had difficulty in receiving a reflected ultrasonic wave from the bottom surface of a test specimen. We tried to improve the trial inspection system using an ultrasonic horn. Finally, an experiment in which the temperature of a test block was heated to about 500°C has been done and the reflected ultrasonic wave from the bottom surface of it has been successfully detected using a long waveguide and the wave horn. Finally, we tried to transmit and receive a guided wave in a pipe using the developed system. It was determined that an additional one turn-shaped or wave-shaped waveguide attached to the surface of the pipe in the circumferential direction is useful.
Conventional non-destructive inspection of a pipe by ultrasonic wave has difficulty with inspection efficiency because it is a technique to apply by using longitudinal wave or transverse wave which propagates to the thickness direction of a pipe for smaller area than an ultrasonic sensor. However, a guide wave is provided with a characteristic of long-range propagation to the axis direction of a pipe, so it is possible to detect a lot of defects through wide range of a pipe at once. At present, there is a technique to generate a guide wave by a piezoelectric element (PZT). Such transducer has some difficulties to use in industrial application, which is required high viscosity couplant. Therefore we tried to develop a guide wave inspection system to use an electromagnetic ultrasonic transducer (EMAT) which doesn’t require any couplant. First, we could confirm that guide wave can be transmitted and received in aluminum pipe by a shear horizontal polarized-EMAT, and we have confirmed the most suitable transmission and reception EMAT-specification and the most suitable drive condition to generate for L, T and F-mode guide wave. Finally, we have evaluated the detective performance using the developed system.
This study presents the experimental results completed to compare both performance of a special ultrasonic sensor and a Hall Effect sensor under the same measurement condition in order to assess the effectiveness, the proper installation, the convenience of use, and the costs of both methods. A special ultrasonic sensor is generally called Electromagnetic Acoustic Transducer (EMAT) which consists of magnet and sensor coil. It was tuned that ultrasonic wave with 1 MHz can be injected and detected. Sensor coils were separated to the transmitter and the receiver and placed at two surfaces of the specimen (top and bottom) to set the Lorentz force in parallel direction of the specimen surfaces . This type of EMAT can generate the transverse wave (shear ware) for analyzing the wavelength from measurement. In application, the output voltage from Hall Effect sensor was then compared to the reference voltage in comparator circuit and then amplified the difference to gain 20 times and converted to frequency domain for better resolution at the specific set point of 8 kHz. From experiment, use of Hall Effect sensor exhibited high efficiency over that of EMAT method due to less complexity of the system, lower cost, as well as ease and convenience of installation. Moreover, application of EMAT method with the small size of specimen would lead the error and standard deviation by up to 4.51% and 0.279, respectively compared to that of Hall Effect sensor that can exhibit less error and standard deviation by about 0.24% and 0.013, respectively.
The conventional non-destructive inspection of a pipe by an ultrasonic wave has low inspection efficiency because it is a technique that uses a longitudinal wave or transverse wave which propagates in the thickness direction of a pipe with a smaller area than the size of the ultrasonic sensor. However, a guide wave is provided with the characteristic of long range propagation in the axis direction of a pipe, so it is possible to detect many defects over a large pipe area at once. At present, there is a technique to generate a guide wave using a piezoelectric element (PZT). Such a transducer has some difficulties in industrial applications, which requires a high viscosity couplant. Therefore, we tried to develop a guide wave inspection system that uses an electromagnetic ultrasonic transducer (EMAT) which does not require any couplant. First, we confirmed that a guide wave can be transmitted and received in an aluminum pipe by a polarized shear horizontal transverse wave-EMAT, and we have confirmed the most suitable transmission and reception EMAT’s specification and the most suitable drive conditions to generate the L, T and F-mode guide waves. Finally, the detection performance has been evaluated by the developed system.