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ATTENUATION COEFFICIENT ESTIMATION USING EQUIVALENT DIFFRACTIONPOINTS WITH MULTIPLE INTERFACE REFLECTIONS

T.P. Lerch 1 and S. P. Neal 2

Industrial and Engineering Technology Department, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, MI 48859 2 Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, University of Missouri - Columbia Columbia, MO 65201

ABSTRACT. The ultrasonic attenuation coefficient of a fluid or solid material is an acoustic parameter routinely estimated in nondestructive evaluation (NDE) and biological tissue characterization. In this paper, a new measurement and analysis technique for estimating the attenuation coefficient as a function of frequency for a fluid or solid is described. This broadband technique combines two established concepts in attenuation coefficient estimation: (1) frequency spectrum amplitude ratios of front surface, first back surface, and second back surface reflections from interfaces of materials with plate-like geometries, and (2) equivalent diffraction points within the transducer wave field. The new approach yields estimates of the attenuation coefficient, reflection coefficient, and material density without the need to make diffraction corrections. This simplifies the overall estimation process by eliminating the transducer characterization step, that is, by eliminating experimental characterization of the effective radius and focal length of the transducer which are required when careful calculated diffraction corrections are applied. In this paper, attenuation coefficient and reflection coefficient estimates are presented for water and three solids with estimates based on measurements made with two different transducers.

INTRODUCTION

The ultrasonic attenuation coefficient of a medium is an acoustic parameter routinely estimated in nondestructive evaluation (NDE) and biological tissue characterization. Knowledge of the ultrasonic attenuation of a given material is useful to the NDT field inspector searching for flaws in various structural materials, the material scientist characterizing the mechanical properties of the material, and the biologist investigating the acoustic properties of various types of biological tissue. One of the challenges associated with making accurate attenuation coefficient measurements is to separate the energy loss due to absorption and scattering within the medium from other possible sources of energy loss including those due to reflection and

transmission at interfaces, diffraction

inefficiencies, and misalignment of the transducer and specimen. In this paper, we will consider four attenuation coefficient estimation approaches (see Table 1): 1) a Classical

of the transducer's wave field, measurement system

Approach driven by the ratio of magnitude spectra from two interface reflections; 2) the Papadakis Approach which eliminates the need to make explicit corrections for reflection

CP657, Review of Quantitative Nondestructive Evaluation Vol. 22, ed. by D. O. Thompson and D. E. Chimenti © 2003 American Institute of Physics 0-7354-0117-9/03/$20.00

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TABLE 1. Summary of attenuation coefficient estimation approaches.

System

Solid

Wavespeed

Solid

R & T

Water

Diffraction

Effects

Thickness

in Solid

Density

Coefficient

Attenuation

Corrections

Classical

cancel

input

input

input

input

cancel

input

Papadakis

cancel

input

input

output

output

cancel

input

Equal

cancel

input

input

input

input

input

cancel

Diffraction

New

cancel

input

input

output

output

input

cancel

Approach

and transmission losses by utilizing three interface reflections [1]; 3) an Equal Diffraction

Point Approach

which adjusts

the water path to eliminate the need for diffraction

corrections [2-4]; and 4) and a New Approach which combines the Papadakis and Equal

Diffraction Point approaches to simultaneously estimate reflection, transmission, and

attenuation coefficients without making diffraction corrections. Corrections are, however,

required for water attenuation due to variable water path lengths. The water attenuation

coefficient is easily calculated based on the widely accepted work of Pinkerton [5].

Conversely, correcting for transducer diffraction requires full characterization of the

transducer's parameters (radius and focal length) across the transducer's useful bandwidth.

Transducer characterization can be a very time- and labor-intensive process. Since each

transducer has its own unique set of parameter values, the characterization process must be

implemented for each transducer used to make a measurement. This paper will proceed with a model-based review of three existing attenuation coefficient estimation approaches introduced above. Models which describe the New

Approach for the estimation of solid and fluid attenuation coefficients will then be

presented. Results will be shown for attenuation and reflection coefficient estimation for

water and for three solids. The paper concludes with a brief discussion section.

REVIEW OF ATTENUATION COEFFICIENT ESTIMATION APPROACHES

Classical Approach

Consider a solid material sample of plate-like geometry interrogated at normal

incidence in an immersion mode in water. A Classical Approach for estimation of the

attenuation coefficient for the solid involves measurement of a first back surface reflection

along with a front surface reflection and/or a second back surface reflection. Using a linear time-invariant system modeling approach, the Fourier transform of the measured front

surface reflection can be modeled as:

= p(f)R ws c(2 Zwf ,f)exp(-2 Zwf a w (f))

(1)

We adopt a simplified notation throughout the remainder of the paper with frequency

dependence implicit and with each symbol representing the absolute value of its associated

complex quantity. The Fourier transform of the front surface reflection, F(f) , becomes:

F =j3Rc(2z wf y

(2)

where fi , the system efficiency factor, accounts for

effects, R —R ws

all transducer and electronics related

is the water path length

is the water-to-solid reflection coefficient, z w f

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for the front surface reflection experiment, C\2z w f J accounts for beam diffraction in the

water, and a w is the attenuation coefficient in the water.

can be written as l-R

transmission coefficients,

Noting that the product of

r\

, the first and second back

T^ S T SW ,

surface reflections can be modeled as:

B l = /?(l - R 2 ]RC(2z wbl } e ~ 2z ^ a ™ C(2z s >T 2z ^

(3)

B 2 =j3l-R 2 R 3 C(2z wb2 )e- 2z ^ a -C(4z s )e^ z ^

(4)

where z s is the plate (solid) thickness, a s is the attenuation coefficient in the solid, and z wbl and z wb2 are the water path lengths for the first and second back surface reflections. In

Equations (1) - (4), we assume that (3- fif - fi^i - fib2 •

The solid attenuation coefficient can be estimated using any two (or all three) of the measured signals. The diffraction terms are often calculated for the water/solid case by

replacing the two diffraction terms in (3) or (4) by a single diffraction term, C(2z we ) , with

the equivalent water path length, z we , calculated

as follows:

z \ve ~ z w ~*~

c

cu

w

z s

c

^ z \vebl ~ ^ z wbl "•" ^ z s

c*

u w

^ Z web2

=

c

^ Z wb2 ~^~^ z s u w

c

v^/

where z w = z^ = z w ^; - z w ^2 f° r fixed water path, c s and c^ are the wave speeds in the

solid and water, respectively, and z we - z w since z 5 = 0. We can now solve for a s using

F and BI or using BI and B 2 as follows:

F

C(2z

-

w

)

2 ——

or

C(2z wM )(l-R 2 )

<*

=

1

l

,

D

.Oi

C(2z wM ]

n

C(2z web2 )R 2

The front surface reflection is corrected for diffraction in the water, and the back surface

reflections are corrected for interface losses and for diffraction in the water and solid.

Papadakis Approach

The Papadakis Approach uses the front surface and the first two back surface

reflections to eliminate fi

and simultaneously

estimate R and a s . The ratio of spectra

corrected

for diffraction is used to yield two new quantities denoted Ml

and M2

by

Papadakis.

l-R 2

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Motor

Controller

T

2V

1

F

it ii

transducer

f

r

Hi

(

T

1 2Az w

1

WiiKi

t

?

water

?

m

ill

J|

Hill

i

FIGURE 1. Typical immersion system depicting the measurement approach for the New Technique. The

transducer is not translated laterally as the figure implies.

These two equations are then solved

for R and a s as follows:

R =

M1-M2

1 +M1-M2

a, =- 1

2z p

In-

Ml

1 + M1-M2

(8)

Equal Diffraction Point Approach - Solid Attenuation Coefficient Estimation

The Equal Diffraction

involves adjusting the water path (see Fig.

The penalty is

known, and a correction of form exp(2z w a w ) must be applied to each

With the water path for the front surface reflection used to dictate the value for

can be used to solve for the

Point Approach

1) so that the equivalent water path length is the same for each reflection.

that the a w must be

reflection.

z we (that is, z we =z w f),

the equalities given in Equation (5)

as

Z wb2 ~ z wf ~( c s/ c w)^ z s • The * superscript is introduced to indicate that the water paths are associated with an equal diffraction point approach. The change in water path (Fig. 1)

required

water

path

for

B\

as

z

wb i =z w f-(c s /c w )z s

*

and

for

B 2

between

*

w

/

/

\

= ( c s / c w) z s

successive

reflections,

*

wf

= z wf

-

-

wbl = z wbl ~ Z \vb2 -

z

z

wbl

= -

*

*

*

Az,,

Incorporating

is

these

given

ideas,

the

attenuation terms for the back surface reflections can be re-written as follows:

-2z* wb2 a w =

-2

by

water

(9)

The key to this approach is that the diffraction terms, C\2z we ], are equivalent for each of

the three measured reflections.

(3), canceling the common diffractions terms, and solving for a s yields:

Folding the equalities in Equation (9) into Equations (1) -

2z -In-

F

or

2z,

(10)

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Note that the relatively difficult to implement diffraction corrections in Equations (6) and

(7) are replaced by water attenuation corrections in Equation (10).

Equal Diffraction Point Approach - Fluid Attenuation Coefficient Estimation

The same basic approach used for estimation of a s can be used to estimate the attenuation

coefficient in a fluid using a quartz specimen as the solid with known, essentially zero,

attenuation. With a s = a q « 0 and exp(2z q a q )-^

0 , solution for a w yields:

I

D

^log———LT-

o

A

2Az w

F(l-R

)

r-'/i

r»/ \

or

17

?

a w =——^log—2y

^

A

2Az w

(ii)

A NEW ATTENUATION COEFFICIENT ESTIMATION APPROACH

Application to Attenuation Coefficient Estimation for a Solid

By using the front surface reflection and the two back surface reflections, with

measurements made at equal diffraction points, we can eliminate J3 and simultaneously

estimate

R

and a s

without making diffraction

corrections.

We start with the three

reflections, each corrected for water attenuation. With slight notational changes to indicate that equal diffraction point measurements are being used, we then follow the Papadakis

approach as given in Equations (7) and (8) to reach the new estimation form for a s :

BI

l-R*

"*

-2z^h'ya va

B,

V

Z

7?

- = ^r -

02)

 

Ml

-Ml

1

Ml*

1-R 2

\l + Ml*-M2*

'

2z s

1

+M1*-M2*

The New

Equation (7) are replaced by water attenuation corrections in Equation (12).

Approach yields estimates of R and a s ; however, the diffraction corrections in

Application to Attenuation Coefficient Estimation for a Fluid

The same basic approach can be used to estimate the attenuation coefficient in a fluid given

a solid sample with known attenuation. Again, for illustrative purposes, we use water and quartz with the following equations yielding estimates of R and a w :

M1 » = ^

*——^ -

M2 *=^ = ———,——

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(14)

i, i

M7

»,<,

-M2

=———-

D

M1*-M2*

JR = J————*———sr

*

*

EXPERIMENTS AND DATA ANALYSIS

1+ M1*-M2*

a w =———In———————— ,

I

W

Ml *

(15)

The New Approach was used to estimate the reflection and attenuation coefficients for water and three solids of plate-like geometry: stainless steel (z s = 1.28 cm), fused quartz (z s = 0.64 cm), and plastic (z s = 0.73 cm). The apparatus employed for these measurements is typical of most ultrasonic immersion inspection systems (see Fig. 1). All equipment is commercially available. The transducer is driven by a pulser/receiver unit and positioned with the motor controller. The rf signals are captured by the data

acquisition card on the PC and ultimately transferred to a work station for data analysis. Three wave trains, each containing the A-scan time pulses from the front, first back, and second back surface reflections, are digitally captured. The measurement process begins by setting the water path at the desired length for the front surface reflection. At this

water path, the wave train is digitized and stored on the data acquisition PC.

The

transducer is then axially translated toward the specimen a distance equal to Az w to place

the first back surface reflection at an equivalent diffraction point to that of the front surface

reflection. The resulting wave train is digitally captured and stored. The transducer is

again axially translated a distance of Az w toward the specimen in order to place the second

As

back surface reflection at the equivalent diffraction point for the first two reflections.

before, this wave train is digitized and stored.

Data

workstation.

analysis

is

performed

with

software

written

and

stored

on

a separate

Inputs include the three, digitized wave trains measured at equivalent

diffraction points, the wave speeds of the water and the solid, the water attenuation (when

the attenuation of a solid is measured), and the thickness of the specimen. Individual

signals are extracted from the wave train with a rectangular window and then transformed

into the frequency domain with a standard FFT routine. Equations (12-13) or (14-15) are used to determine the reflection and attenuation coefficients, each as a function of

frequency, based on the magnitude spectra of the three reflections.

DISSCUSION OF RESULTS

The results of the series of measurements implementing the New Approach are

2 summarizes the results for water attenuation

shown in Figures 2 and 3, where Fig.

measurements and Fig.

estimation for fused

3 summarizes the results associated with attenuation coefficient

quartz,

stainless

steel, and plastic.

Reflection

and

attenuation

coefficients for each material are measured with two unfocused-transducers: a 10 MHz, diamete r transduce r and a 15 MHz, V£" diameter transducer .

Figure 2 shows the experimental reflection coefficients for the water-fused quartz

interface and the attenuation coefficient for water, each as a function of frequency. The experimental reflection coefficients found with both the 10 MHz %" and 15 MHz V 2 " transducers are basically constant across the useful bandwidth of each transducer and

1 /4"

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Water/Quartz Reflection Coefficient

Water Attenuation Coefficient

 

0.15

0.35

 

0.1

0.9

 

0.05

0

0.75

-0.05

0.7

 

-0.1

 

Reflection Coefficient with Diffraction Error

 

Attenuation Coefficient with Diffraction Error

 

0.15

0.1

0.05

0

-0.05

-0.1

0.65

0.6

 

10

12

10

12

Frequency (MHz)

 

Frequency (MHz)

FIGURE 2. Experimental results for fluid attenuation coefficient estimation using the New Approach.

compare well to the theoretical value. The attenuation coefficient estimates shown in the upper right graph compare well to one another and to Pinkerton's widely accepted result [5]. The three water paths used to achieve equal diffraction measurements are 25.4, 22.8, and 20.2 cm for the front, first back, and second back surface reflections, respectively. These water paths were used for both transducers to further demonstrate the robustness of the approach. For the 10MHz /4" transducer, these water paths place the measurement point its far field, while for the 15MHz W transducer, the water paths correspond to the near field.

The lower two graphs in Fig. 2 demonstrate what happens when incorrect equivalent diffraction points are chosen. Notice the deviation from theory, especially the

frequency dependence, in the experimental reflection coefficient which has been caused by

the diffraction error. In this instance, the diffraction error creates an additional perceived

loss of energy which the data analysis assigns to the water attenuation coefficient, resulting in an overestimation of the water attenuation coefficient as shown in the lower right graph.

As seen in Fig. 3, the experimental reflection coefficients for the water-stainless steel and water-fused quartz interfaces are also relatively constant across the useful

frequency spectra of both transducers. Although slightly oscillatory in nature, the experimental reflection coefficients for the plastic also tend to be constant. Attenuation

coefficients for the three different solids are also shown in Fig. 3. These solids were

chosen because of their relatively wide range in attenuations, from fused quartz with no

apparent attenuation to a plastic with a substantial attenuation coefficient. Because

attenuation is very sensitive to material properties such as grain size and alignment, it

becomes very difficult to compare these results to a generally accepted standard. Notice however the robustness of the new technique in returning consistent attenuation coefficients estimates for the two transducers, without transducer characterization or the formal application of diffraction corrections.

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Reflection Coefficients vs. Frequency

0.9

fO.B

I 0.7

o

I 0.6

u

1

0.5

0.4

0.

Q.G

O. B

1

1. 2

1. 4

1. 6

Frequency (Hz)

x ^

Attenuation Coefficients vs. Frequency

FIGURE 3. Experimental results for solid attenuation coefficient estimation using the New Approach. Data

acquired with the 10 MHz transducer is represented with 'o'; the 15 MHz transducer is represented with '•'.

CONCLUSIONS

A

new

measurement

and

analysis

technique

for

estimating

the

coefficient as a function of frequency for either a fluid or solid is described.

attenuation

By acquiring

and analyzing the front surface, first back surface, and second back surface reflections at

equivalent diffraction points, diffraction corrections due to the beam spread of the transducer are no longer necessary. The new technique greatly simplifies the overall

estimation process by eliminating the need for transducer characterization.

Attenuation and reflection coefficients are experimentally determined with the new

technique for water and three solids.

The measurements are made with two different

transducers at different regions in their wave fields (near field, far field).

The attenuation

coefficients for water correspond very well to previously published values. The attenuation

coefficients for stainless steel, plastic, and fused quartz computed from the two transducers

show very good agreement.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This research was supported in part by the Cancer Research Center (CRC),

Columbia, MO, the Department of Radiology at the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU), and the National Science Foundation. A portion of this research was carried out

while Terry Lerch was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at

the University of Missouri-Columbia.

REFERENCES

1. Papadakis, E. P., J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 44 (3), 724 (1968).

2.

Ophir, J., Maklad, N. F., and Bigelow, R. H., Ultrasonic Imaging 4 (3), 290 (1982).

3.

Insana, M. F., Zagzebski, J. A., and Madsen, E. L., Ultrasonic Imaging 5, 331 (1983).

4.

Margetan, F. M., Thompson, R. B., and Yalda-Mooshabad, L, in Review of Progress in

QNDE, Vol. 12, eds. D. O. Thompson

and D. E. Chimenti, Plenum, New York,

1993, p. 1735.

5.

Pinkerton, J. M. M., Proc. Phys. Soc. London B62, 129 (1949).

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