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How the Acoustic Field Tool in TOPAZ Helps Operators Maximize Coverage and Detection Capability of PA UT and TFM Inspections

By Guy Maes, Zetec Sales Engineer Director – UT

The data-processing power and storage of the latest phased array instruments give technicians a wide range of techniques to improve the effectiveness of ultrasonic inspections, including the use of Full Matrix Capture (FMC) and advanced algorithms like the Total Focusing Method (TFM).

Yet the effectiveness of phased array ultrasonic testing (UT) depends a lot on one of the most basic and vital aspects of the inspection technique: the determination of the acoustic field.

A simple interface

Zetec’s TOPAZ family of phased array instruments has a new Acoustic Field Tool integrated with the onboard calculator that helps the operator optimize coverage and performance during phased array and TFM inspections. The tool appears as a simple button in the calculator’s user interface. Calculation of the acoustic field is fast—typically a few seconds—but it is not implemented as a mandatory step that could potentially slow down the inspection workflow.

For a standard phased array configuration, the acoustic field can be calculated and visualized for a single focal law or for a subset of laws in the azimuthal or linear sweep. Using this simple interface, the operator can select the number of beams to be visualized on the instrument screen.

For a TFM configuration, the various reconstruction modes, L-L, LL-LL, T-T, TT-TT, LL-L, TT-T, and LL-T waves, can be calculated and visualized as well.

Effective coverage with confidence

Compared to the more common ray tracing image, the Acoustic Field Tool gives a much better assessment of effective coverage and detection capability during azimuthal sweeps. It also supports field calculation for linear and compound sweeps.

TFM is a promising new inspection technique, and phased array operators are looking for guidance on how to fully exploit its capability. For a given probe and wedge connected to the TOPAZ64 unit, the acoustic field can be calculated and visualized for different TFM wave modes. The operator simply needs to select the construction path and then proceed with the calculation.

The UltraVision Touch software on TOPAZ32 and TOPAZ64 supports the setup of dual matrix array probes for inspection of austenitic components and welds. The Acoustic Field Tool is also available for such probe configurations both in phased array and in TFM mode, and can be applied for both flat and cylindrical components and welds.

Finally, the user interface can provide the value of the maximum acoustic field amplitude for the sweep of beams or for each individual beam.

Maximum benefits

While several factors affect the quality of ultrasonic testing, the Acoustic Field Tool can help operators maximize the benefits of FMC and TFM, ensure adequate coverage, and improve detection capability. You can see a demonstration of the Acoustic Field Tool in Zetec’s webinar on the use of phased array UT for a code-compliant, high-quality inspection. Available now, the presentation includes a discussion of the benefits of FMC and TFM; and case studies on challenging damage mechanisms. Click here to learn more about the webinar.

Zetec is a global leader in nondestructive testing (NDT) solutions for the critical inspection needs of industries the world counts on every day. To learn more, contact Zetec today!