When you break a bone, doctors take an X-ray so they can see the extent of the damage. But when the problem isn’t bone-related, an ultrasound scan is a much better way to see what’s going on inside you. T Ultrasonic technology is used extensively in the biomedical field for diagnostic imaging and medical research, but this amazing technology isn’t only limited to medicine. There are also many industrial applications for ultrasonic testing, including monitoring the corrosion of pipes and determining faults in steel and concrete, amongst others.
How Does Ultrasonic Testing Work?
Ultrasonic testing (UT) is a completely non-destructive method of detecting internal flaws or determining the character of a certain material, such as its thickness. In most cases, very short ultrasonic pulse-waves, with centre frequencies ranging from 500KHz to 50 MHz, are transmitted into the material being tested. The shorter (higher frequency) the wavelength used, the smaller the discontinuities and defects are that can be detected. Longer wavelengths have lower detection sensitivity.
These sound waves, which are many times higher than the limit of human hearing, are projected through the material. When these sound waves encounter a geometric irregularity, such as a break or edge, they bounce back, and a transducer picks up this signal. A computer interprets the signals from the transducer in the form of a graph, which is then displayed for a trained operator to read.
What Are The Advantages Of Ultrasonic Testing?
One of the main advantages of this type of testing is that it is completely non-destructive. The test piece doesn’t need to be cut or sectioned, or exposed to hazardous chemicals. In addition, unlike with mechanical tools such as micrometers and calipers, only one side needs to be accessed. Ultrasonic testing is also extremely safe. With radiography, for example, potential exposure to radiation poses a health hazard. With UT, if a test is properly set up, it is a safe, reliable and highly repeatable method.
Ultrasonic testing can also be used on a wide variety of materials, including metals, plastics, ceramics and composites. In fact, the only common engineering materials that are not suitable for ultrasonic testing are wood and paper products.
For over 40 years, Steelmor has been among the leading stockists and manufacturers of stainless steel products in the country. We boast the most comprehensive stainless steel stockholding and manufacturing facilities in Southern Africa, and have ultrasonic testing facilities on site, ready to help you with any diagnostic requirements you may have.
Visit us at www.steelmor.co.za for more information.