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2013

Ultrasonic Testing

TRAINING NOTES
ROB MAXWELL
Ultrasonic Testing

PART 1 – THEORY .................................................................................................................................................................. 5


INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................................................................. 5
NATURE OF SOUND ............................................................................................................................................................ 5
THE SOUND SPECTRUM .................................................................................................................................................. 5
TYPES OF WAVE AND PROPAGATION .................................................................................................................................... 6
LONGITUDINAL OR COMPRESSION WAVES (NORMAL PROBE) ............................................................................................... 6
TRANSVERSE OR SHEAR WAVES (ANGLE PROBES) ............................................................................................................... 7
RAYLEIGH WAVES (SURFACE) .......................................................................................................................................... 7
LAMB WAVES ............................................................................................................................................................... 8
VELOCITY, FREQUENCY, WAVELENGTH .................................................................................................................................. 8
VELOCITY ..................................................................................................................................................................... 8
FREQUENCY .................................................................................................................................................................. 9
WAVELENGTH ............................................................................................................................................................... 9
WAVE FORMATION AND PULSE SHAPE ................................................................................................................................ 11
PRODUCTION OF ULTRASONIC ENERGY................................................................................................................................ 12
DEFINITION................................................................................................................................................................. 12
THE PIEZO ELECTRIC EFFECT .......................................................................................................................................... 12
CRYSTALS ................................................................................................................................................................... 13
QUARTZ ................................................................................................................................................................. 14
BARIUM TITANATE ................................................................................................................................................... 14
LEAD ZIRCONATE TITANATE ....................................................................................................................................... 14
LEAD METANIOBATE ................................................................................................................................................ 14
PROBES ...................................................................................................................................................................... 15
SINGLE PROBE OR TRANSCEIVER ................................................................................................................................. 15
COMBINED DOUBLE PROBES ..................................................................................................................................... 16
BEHAVIOUR OF SOUND IN MATERIALS................................................................................................................................. 17
THE ULTRASONIC BEAM ................................................................................................................................................ 17
DEAD ZONE ............................................................................................................................................................ 17
NEAR OR FRESNEL ZONE ........................................................................................................................................... 17
FAR OF FRAUNHOFER ZONE ....................................................................................................................................... 18
BEAM SPREAD, CRYSTAL SIZE, FREQUENCY ...................................................................................................................... 18
REFLECTION AND REFRACTION ....................................................................................................................................... 19
REFLECTION ............................................................................................................................................................ 20

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REFRACTION ........................................................................................................................................................... 20
SNELL’S LAW........................................................................................................................................................... 20
CRITICAL ANGLES ..................................................................................................................................................... 21
RESOLUTION ........................................................................................................................................................... 22
ABSORPTION OR ATTENUATION ................................................................................................................................. 23
THE FLAW DETECTOR ....................................................................................................................................................... 23
PULSE GENERATOR (MASTER TIMER).............................................................................................................................. 23
TIME BASE (DEPTH RANGES) ......................................................................................................................................... 23
TRANSMITTER ............................................................................................................................................................. 23
RECEIVER / AMPLIFIER .................................................................................................................................................. 24
ATTENUATOR .............................................................................................................................................................. 24
DISPLAY UNIT ............................................................................................................................................................. 24
A-SCOPE PRESENTATION .............................................................................................................................................. 25
B-SCOPE PRESENTATION............................................................................................................................................... 25
C-SCOPE PRESENTATION ............................................................................................................................................... 25
D-SCOPE PRESENTATION .............................................................................................................................................. 25
DECIBEL NOTATION (dB) .............................................................................................................................................. 26
CALCULATIONS OF dB RATIONS – PRACTICE.................................................................................................................. 26
PART 2 - FACTORS INFLUENCING ULTRASONIC TESTING.............................................................................................................. 27
SURFACE CONDITION ....................................................................................................................................................... 27
LOOSE SCALE .............................................................................................................................................................. 28
PEENING .................................................................................................................................................................... 28
SLIGHT RUST ............................................................................................................................................................... 28
ACOUSTIC IMPEDANCE, TRANSMISSION AND REFLECTION ....................................................................................................... 28
COUPLANT.................................................................................................................................................................. 29
MODE CONVERSION AND SPURIOUS INDICATIONS ................................................................................................................ 30
CALIBRATION OF COMPRESSION WAVES .............................................................................................................................. 32
SINGLE PROBES ........................................................................................................................................................... 32
CALIBRATION OF SHEAR WAVE PROBES ........................................................................................................................... 33
PROBE INDEX POINT..................................................................................................................................................... 35
GEOMETRY ..................................................................................................................................................................... 35
THE ULTRAGRAPH........................................................................................................................................................ 35
FULL AND HALF SKIP DISTANCE .................................................................................................................................. 36

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BEAM PATH ............................................................................................................................................................ 37


IRRADIATION FACTOR ............................................................................................................................................... 38
PART 3 - TESTING ................................................................................................................................................................ 39
METHOD OF TESTING ....................................................................................................................................................... 39
TEST SENSITIVITY ......................................................................................................................................................... 39
TRANSVERSE FLAWS ..................................................................................................................................................... 39
BUTT WELD EXAMINATION ............................................................................................................................................... 40
LACK OF FUSION SIDE WALL ........................................................................................................................................... 40
POROSITY & PIPING ..................................................................................................................................................... 41
SLAG SPOTS & LINEAR INCLUSIONS ................................................................................................................................. 41
LACK OF PENETRATION ................................................................................................................................................. 41
CRACKS ...................................................................................................................................................................... 42
TWIN PEAKING FROM ARGON ARC ROOT ........................................................................................................................ 43
ROOT CAVITIES............................................................................................................................................................ 43
ROOT PRESENTATION WITH INTERNAL MISMATCH ............................................................................................................ 43
FLAW IDENTIFICATION AND SIZE ESTIMATION ....................................................................................................................... 44
FACTORS AFFECTING THE DETERMINATION OF THE TYPE OF FLAW ...................................................................................... 44
PROCEDURE FOR DETERMINING THE TYPE OF FLAW .......................................................................................................... 44
FACTORS AFFECTING ACCURACY IN THE ESTIMATION OF FLAW SIZE ..................................................................................... 45
PROCEDURES FOR THE ESTIMATION OF FLAW SIZE ............................................................................................................ 46
CHOICE OF PROBE........................................................................................................................................................ 46
PART 4 – SI UNITS OF MEASUREMENT .................................................................................................................................... 49
PART 5 - ANSWERS .............................................................................................................................................................. 51
CALCULATIONS OF dB RATIONS – ANSWERS ......................................................................................................................... 51

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Ultrasonic Testing

PART 1 – THEORY
INTRODUCTION
Ultrasonic is a term used in acoustics (the science of sound) when dealing with vibratory waves whose frequencies
are beyond the limits of the hearing range of the average person.

Ultrasonic waves are of the same nature as audible sound waves, i.e. they are stress waves and can only exist within
the media. The energy of an ultrasonic wave is transferred from one point to another by vibrating the particles in the
material through which they are being propagated.

In this respect they differ from light and other forms of electromagnetic radiation which can travel freely through a
vacuum. In other respects these two forms of energy obey similar laws of propagation1.

NATURE OF SOUND
THE SOUND SPECTRUM

When a block of metal is struck with a hammer, the sound of the blow is heard and the accompanying vibration of
the block can be felt. The sound is conveyed by airborne waves. These audible oscillations2 are called sonic waves.
The frequency of these waves are unlikely to exceed 5000 cycles/second.

The term Hertz (Hz) is used to measure the frequency of vibration. In ultrasonics this frequency occurs many
thousands of times per second. A more suitable way of stating frequency is to use the term kilo (k) and mega (M) to
describe units of a thousand and a million respectively.

Frequency Uses
Under 1 KHz Early underwater navigation.
16 – 20 KHz Upper limit to human hearing.
19 – 20 KHz Alarm systems.
40 KHz Underwater signalling and cleaning. Testing of large grain material.
500 KHz (½ MHz) Upper limit to underwater signalling.
1 MHz – 5 MHz Common range for testing material.
5 MHz – 10 MHz Used on fine grain material.

1
The movement of a wave through a medium.
2
A Cycle – i.e. the four seasons is a complete oscillation.
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TYPES OF WAVE AND PROPAGATION


LONGITUDINAL OR COMPRESSION WAVES (NORMAL PROBE)
A longitudinal wave is a wave formed by individual particles oscillating in the direction of propagation.

An ultrasonic wave is supported and propagated through a material by particles that oscillate around their point of
equilibrium. To simplify this statement let us consider Fig 2.

Shown in Fig 2, we have a model consisting of a series of identical pendula and for simplicity, this may be looked
upon as representing a solid body prior to the application of ultrasonic energy. Position A and B illustrate the point
where a pulse of ultrasonic energy will be applied. Once a pulse has been initiated pendulum A is forced towards
pendulum B, transmitting its internal energy.

Compression Rarefaction

Fig 3

As each pendulum has to protrude somewhat from its neutral positions in order to strike the next one, the next
pendulum will start its oscillation a fraction later than the preceding one.

Consequently, the pendula do not oscillate in the same rhythm, but all of them with the same frequency.
Longitudinal or compressed waves may be propagated through solids, liquids and gasses.

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TRANSVERSE OR SHEAR WAVES (ANGLE PROBES)


Contrary to longitudinal waves the individual particles of the transverse wave oscillate vertically in the direction of
propagation (Fig 4 & Fig 5).

Fig 4 Fig 5 Fig 6

The use of the pendula, example serves well to illustrate the effect of transverse wave. Fig 6.

Fig 7

For this example it has been shown that a pre-requisite for the formation of transverse waves are molecules being
ties firmly together. As this is only the case with solid bodies, then it will follow that transverse or shear waves are
not supported in liquids or gas.

RAYLEIGH WAVES (SURFACE)


Rayleigh waves travel over the surface of a solid and bear a rough resemblance to waves on the surface of water.

Reflections of Rayleigh waves from cracks in the surface or from discontinuities lying just beneath the surface may
be seen on an oscilloscope screen.

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Rayleigh waves are also called surface waves since their depth of penetration is usually no more than one
wavelength.

LAMB WAVES

Fig 9

Lamb waves occur in plate material, in two basic forms which in practice are usually mixed.

Lamb waves consist of a mixture of zigzag reflected longitudinal and transverse waves with a mutual phase
relationship in which some particles oscillate in a direction 90˚ to the plate surfaces and others of varying angles.

The ability of Lamb waves to flow in thin plates make them applicable to a wide variety of problems requiring the
detection of subsurface discontinuities. As lamb waves have a surface component, surface scale or dirt will affect the
trace causing damping or reflection, and it is therefore necessary to ensure surface cleanliness and also to limit the
couplant to the probe edge only.

VELOCITY, FREQUENCY, WAVELENGTH


VELOCITY
The velocity of sound in a medium depends on the density and the elastic constants of the material. If follows that
material with different densities will have different velocities, for example:

Material Comp velocity Shear velocity Material Comp Velocity Shear Velocity
(m/s) (m/s) (m/s) (m/s)
Air 322 Oil 1440
Aluminium 6400 3130 Perspex 2740 1320
Brass (70-30) 4372 2100 Steel (Mild) 5960 3240
Cast Iron 3500 2200 Steel (Stainless) 5740 3130
Copper 4760 2325 Water 1480
Gold 3240 1200 Tungsten 5174 2880
Iron 5957 3224 Zinc 4170 2480
Lead 2400 790 Zirconium 4650 2300
Note: Comp velocity used for Longitudinal Probes, Shear velocity used for angle probes.

The velocity of a surface wave for any given material is approximately 90% of the shear velocity.

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Velocity difference can cause problems if testing a material other than the material on which the calibration has
been conducted.

As an example, if having calibrated on a steel block, a probe is then placed onto a copper plate of 20mm thickness,
the screen would indicate a thickness of 25mm.

This can be proven by the following calculation:

Actual thickness * (V Steel / V Copper)


20 mm * (5960 / 4760)
= 25.04mm

The velocity is different by a ratio of 1.25:1

If the thickness indicated is divided by the factor we arrive at 20mm – the true thickness (25.04mm / 1.25 = 20mm).

FREQUENCY
The frequency of a wave form is the repetition rate, or the number of cycles or oscillations in a given time, and is
usually expressed as cycles per second (Hertz).

From Fig 11 it will follow that the higher the frequency (greater number of oscillations or cycles per second) then the
crest of the waveform will come closer together, thereby producing a shorter wavelength.

Multiple units of frequency are expressed as kilohertz (KHz) which is equal to one thousand oscillations per second,
it may also be written as MHz which is equal to one million oscillations per second.

WAVELENGTH
Wavelength expressed as (λ) lambda is given as the distance between two successive crests in the waveform, this
distance varies with frequency and velocity.

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Fig 10

The wavelength formula is as follows:

Three examples follow to show the effect of frequency and velocity:

1. Find the wavelength of a 5MHz longitudinal probe in mild steel.

Longitudinal velocity in mild steel = 5960 m/s


Probe frequency = 5 * 106 Hz

λ = v/f is 5960/(5 * 106)


=5960 / 5000000
=0.001192m
= 1.192mm (0.001192 * 1000 < mm in a meter)

2. Find the wavelength for a 5MHz longitudinal probe in copper.

Longitudinal velocity in copper = 4760 m/s


Probe frequency = 5 * 106 Hz

λ = v/f is 4760/(5 * 106)


=4760 / 5000000
=0.000952m
= 0.952mm

3. Find the wavelength for a 5MHz angle probe in copper.

Transverse velocity in copper = 2325 m/s


Probe frequency = 5 * 106 Hz

λ = v/f is 2325/(5 * 106)


=2325 / 5000000

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=0.000465m
= 0.465mm
Consider the three examples:

Wavelength for 5MHz longitudinal probe in steel = 1.192mm


Wavelength for 5MHz longitudinal probe in copper = 0.952mm
Wavelength for 5MHz transverse probe in copper = 0.465mm

We have proven that a 5MHz longitudinal probe has a shorter wavelength in copper than it has in steel and that a
traverse or angle probe has a wavelength approximately half that of the longitudinal probe for the same frequency
in the same material.

An important point to remember is, that in theory, a probe can detect a defect whose diameter is approximately one
tenth of its wavelength. However, in practice on third to one half seems to be the more acceptable figure.

WAVE FORMATION AND PULSE SHAPE


A wave train refers to a short group of waves, before or after which there are no waves. This formation is generally
referred to as a pulse.

Pulse takes several forms:

It may start and drop rapidly (Fig 12)


It may build and decay gradually (Fig 13)
It may build up rapidly and decay exponentially (Fig 14)

The type of wave illustrated in Fig 14 is referred to as a decayed train and this is probably the most commonly used
type of pulse in ultrasonics. Almost all probes incorporate assisted damping to the crystal in the form of backing. This
backing medium must have a higher acoustic impedance3 than the crystals. The reason for the damping in a single
probe is the very fact that the crystal has to produce short, and above all sharp bursts of energy. Ideally the crystal
motion must end abruptly from its previous pulse so that the reflected energy excites a relatively inactive crystal and
not one that is already in a stage of oscillation.

Fig 15 and Fig 16 show the effect of probe ringing time with assisted clamping.

3
The ability of a material to impede the passage of sound
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Fig 15 Fig 16

What type of pulse width can we expect to be displayed on the cathode ray tube time base?

Pulse width will depend on the frequency of the probe used and is also a function of pulse energy. In other words
one must apply an electrical pulse to the crystal that is wide enough to cause the transducer to reach maximum
oscillations, at the same time remembering that an increase in pulse width will markedly reduce resolution.

With a lower frequency probe the applied electrical pulse will be wider and the resolution will be inferior to that of a
higher frequency probe that required a shorter pulse.

The effect of pulse width with regard to resolution will be discussed later.

PRODUCTION OF ULTRASONIC ENERGY


Ultrasonic energy is produced by a crystal or transducer that is subject to the phenomenon known as the PIEZO
ELECTRIC effect.

DEFINITION
The piezo electric effect is the property of certain crystals which when subjected to electrical energy convert this
energy to mechanical energy (sound) and vice versa.

THE PIEZO ELECTRIC EFFECT

Electrical Current Electrical Current


(IN) (OUT)

Sound Waves

An electrical charge to a crystal (Conversely) Mechnical pressure on the


produces mechanical energy crystal produces an electrical
(Ultrasound). charge at electrodes.

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CRYSTALS
Crystals used in the production of ultrasound and subject to the piezo electric effect are discussed later. A crystal
may be one which has occurred naturally, as in the Quartz or it may be a crystal produced in polycrystalline form by
a process of calcination and sintering at high temperatures. To produce various frequencies of ultrasonic energy the
thickness of the crystal and the applied alternating current to the crystal are prime factors. For instance if a high
frequency alternating charge is applied to a crystal that has been made to oscillate at the same frequency, then it
will follow the applied field, causing the faces to vibrate in respect of each other at that frequency. It is possible
however to use a 5MHz probe with the frequency switch positioned at the 2.5MHz position. The 5MHz probe will
still oscillate but will be greatly reduced in output.

The reason for this is the alternating current to the probe does not match the crystal thickness and therefore does
not achieve maximum crystal oscillation. In other words the crystal is not operating at its resonant4 frequency.

The fundamental resonant frequency (Ff) of the crystal is inversely5 proportional to the crystal thickness.

Fundamental resonant Frequency (Ff) = velocity(v) / 2 * thickness(t)


Example. What frequency will a 1mm crystal of Barium Titanate operate at?

v = 4,400,00mm/sec

Ff = v/2t
Ff = 4,400,000 / 2 * 1 = 4,400,00 / 2
Ff = 2.2MHz (220,000Hz / 100,000)

The frequency will produce maximum crystal oscillation i.e. maximum output.

The cut of a crystal and the way it is mounted with the probe both have direct bearing on the type of crystal motion
produced.

Fig 17
Fig 17 (a) shows the direction of crystal motion for an x-cut crystal and Fig 17 (b) the direction of crystal motion for a
Y-Cut crystal.

4
Resounding / echoing
5
of course, related
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The types of vibration that can be produced (torsional, longitudinal etc.) are achieved by the particular crystal
chosen and the cut of the plate.

Crystals for consideration are:

QUARTZ
A naturally occurring compound which is hard and very stable both chemically and physically. It occurs as a six-sided
prism with a pyramid attached to each end. If the point of the opposite corners are joined they provide the X-axis.
The X-axis are the electrical ones and produce the ultrasonic vibration which is required.

BARIUM TITANATE
This is a pre-polarised crystal, or ceramic with the chemical composition of a crystal i.e. Barium carbonate is backed
together with titanium dioxide at a temperature of around 1250˚C.

The domains of the crystal or ceramic, when subjected to an intense electric field of about 24V/mm at 140˚C6 and
allowed to cool, become orientated to the direction of the field and polarisation is achieved.

After polarisation the activity factor of the probe will drop about 50% in 24 hours and thereafter will remain fairly
constant although slow deterioration will take place.

The resultant crystal is fairly good but it should be appreciated that heating above Curie point will destroy the piezo
effect.

LEAD ZIRCONATE TITANATE


The best and recently the most widely used of all the pre-polarised crystals. Sensitivity is excellent with very little
‘grass’. Now becoming the accepted crystal for Non-destructive Testing.

LEAD METANIOBATE
Less sensitive than Barium Titanate but has a high internal damping coefficient and is thereby capable of
transmitting very narrow pulses.

Having briefly discussed the merits of various crystals our next logical step will be to consider the various probes and
their associated technicalities.

6
The Curie point - The temperature at which a phase change in the magnetic or ferroelectric properties of a substance
occurs, especially the change from ferromagnetism to paramagnetism that occurs with increasing temperature.
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PROBES
We can distinguish two main groups of probes, probes producing longitudinal or compression waves (L-Wave)
vertically through the surface and probes producing transverse waves (S-Wave) which are transmitted into the
specimen at an angle with respect to the surface.

SINGLE PROBE OR TRANSCEIVER


A probe with only one crystal in its construction is known as a single probe, the mode of operation being pulse echo.
In simple terms, the single crystal produces and also receives the ultrasonic energy. This is possible because the
electrical charge is fed to the crystal in the form of rapid pulses with a number of micro seconds delay between each
pulse. Each electrical charge produces a pulse of ultrasonic energy, which in turn are passed into a specimen via the
coupling medium.

Probe

Fig 20a Fig 20b

The energy travels through the specimen and continues to do so until it reaches an interface in Fig 20a, this is the
backwall. Reflection takes place and ultrasonic energy returns towards the crystal Fig 20b. The returning mechanical
energy excites the crystal during the non-productive intervals and thereby produces an electrical charge which is fed
back into the circuit to provide the signals for the cathode tube display.

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COMBINED DOUBLE PROBES


The combined double probe is constructed as its name suggests, by the use of two crystals in one probe. One crystal
continually transmitting whilst the other crystal is continually receiving the reflected energy. Fig 21 shows such a
probe.

Fig 21
It will be noted that the acoustic barrier is corrugated on the inside to reduce the effect of cross talk chatter, also, a
layer of cork is interposed between the perspex faces. This cork is known as the acoustic separator. The use of a
penetrating oil as a couplant with this type of probe should be discouraged, as it is merely a matter of time before
the oil, through a process of penetration and saturation, breaks down the acoustic separation, giving rise to
‘standing echoes’ on the cathode ray tube.

The probe, by the use of two crystals, eliminate the dead zone and thereby allow for the detection of defects close
to the surface.

Single or twin probes may be longitudinal or transverse in ultrasonic output.

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BEHAVIOUR OF SOUND IN MATERIALS


THE ULTRASONIC BEAM

DEAD ZONE
The dead zone is a zone where it is not possible to detect defects. The dead zone is shown as the transmission signal
at the start of the time base. Its depth can be seen on a calibrated time base as the amount of time base occupied by
the transmission signal. The dead zone is the ‘ringing time’ of the crystal and is minimised by the damping medium
behind the crystal.

The dead zone increases when the frequency is decreased, therefore a 5MHz single probe will have a smaller dead
zone than a 2.5MHz.

NEAR OR FRESNEL ZONE


The ultrasonic beam remains parallel and has the same diameter as the crystal over a distance known as the near
zone.

Fig 24
Within the near zone there exists varying intensities of waves at the edge of the crystal (Fig 24) giving rise to
unreliable signal amplitudes.

This means that signal height from the same size defect may increase when positioned further from the crystal.

The formula used to calculate the near zone is: D2f / 4v

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Example

Calculate the near zone for a 20mm crystal size, longitudinal velocity, 2.5MHz probe in

Steel (velocity = 5960m/s)


D2f 4v
= 202 * 2.5 * 106 = 4 * 5960
= 400 * 2.5 * 1,000,000 = 23,840
= 1,000,000,000Hz
=1,000Mhz

D2f / 4v = 0.0419m = 41.9mm

Water (velocity = 1480m/s)


D2f 4v
= 202 * 2.5 * 106 = 4 * 1480
= 400 * 2.5 * 1,000,000 = 5,920
= 1,000,000,000Hz
=1,000Mhz

D2f / 4v = 0.1689m = 168.9mm

FAR OF FRAUNHOFER ZONE


Beyond the near zone is the far zone. In the far zone the beam diverges resulting in a decay in sound intensity as the
distance from the crystal is increased, just as a beam of light from a torch gets weaker the further it travels.

In the far zone, large and small reflectors follow different laws.

Large reflectors (larger than the beam) follow the Inverse Law. The amplitude is inversely proportional to the
distance i.e. If the distance is doubled the amplitude is reduced by half (6 dB).

Small reflectors (smaller than the beam) follow the Inverse Square Law. The amplitude is inverse proportional to the
square of the distance i.e. If the distance is doubled the amplitude is reduced by quarter (12 dB).

BEAM SPREAD, CRYSTAL SIZE, FREQUENCY


When an ultrasonic beam is produced it is propagated in a rectilinear fashion (straight line) from which it diverges
only slightly. This divergence is a function of frequency and crystal diameter.

If the frequency is increased for a certain diameter of crystal the solid angle decreases and if the frequency is
decreased for the same crystal diameter then the solid angle increases.

This means that when using lower frequencies we must choose probes with larger crystal diameters if we wish to
reduce the effect of an increased beam spread.

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The half beam spread formula is as follows:

ASin (kλ / D) - ASin is the inverse Sin

Where:
D=
The constant k is used to calculate the beam spread intensity.
k = 1.22 for extreme edges of the beam.
k = 1.08 for 10% (20 dB) edge
k = 0.56 for 50% (6 dB) edge.

Example:
Calculate the beam spread of ultrasonic waves travelling through mild steel, the waves are generated from a 10mm,
5MHz crystal.

Wavelength in steel is v / f =5960 / (5 * 106) =0.001192m =1.192mm

Extreme edge of beam: k = 1.22

Half Beam Spread =ASin (k * λ/ D) =ASin (1.22 * 1.192 / 10) =ASin (0.1454) = 8.36˚

After considering the above example we will now calculate the half beams spread for a 2.5MHz longitudinal probe
using the same size crystal.

Wavelength in steel is v / f =5960 / (2.5 * 106) =0.00238m =2.38mm

Extreme edge of beam: k = 1.22

Half Beam Spread =ASin (k * λ/ D) =ASin (1.22 * 2.38 / 10) =ASin (0.2903) = 16.88˚

Note the considerable increase in beam spread.

REFLECTION AND REFRACTION


Ultrasonic high frequency vibrations react in many ways as that of light. They can be focused into a beam, refracted
and reflected. It is this ability which makes it possible to utilise sound energy as a means of flaw detection.

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REFLECTION
When a beam of sound energy strikes a boundary, it is normally reflected at the same angle as the incident beam.

Therefore it can be said that the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection.

REFRACTION
When sound waves pass from one medium to another a change in wavelength takes place due to the differing
acoustic velocities of each medium. As a result, the angle at which the sound enters the second medium does not
equal that of the first medium.

This is known as refraction. This refraction can be compared with the action of a beam of light when passing from air
into water.

SNELL’S LAW
Snell’s Law determines the angular relationship between the incident and
refraction beam on transmission between the media of different acoustics
velocities.

Snell’s Law is used when calculating the angle to which the perspex wedge
must be machined in order to produce a given refracted angle in the test
material.

The formula can also be used to find the angle of refraction that a given probe will produce when examining
materials other than steels e.g. copper and aluminium.

Example:

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Calculate the incident angle used in the machining of the Perspex wedge to produce a 70˚ refracted angle in steel.
Velocity in Perspex (longitudinal) = 2740m/s
Velocity in Steel (transverse) = 3240 m/s

Incident angle used:


= Sin-1(V1 x Sin(˚)) / V2)
= Sin-1(2740 *Sin(70) / 3240)
= Sin-1(2740 *0.9397 / 3240)
= Sin-1 (0.7947)
=53.63˚

CRITICAL ANGLES
As the incident angle is increased from the normal the refracted wave is predominantly longitudinal, although the
shear mode exists at an insignificant strength.

When the incident angle reaches the first critical angle (27.4˚) the longitudinal component will be totally internally
reflected through 90˚. At this point only transverse waves exist in the second medium

Calculation of First Critical Angle – Perspex to steel

V Perspex (long) = 2740 m/s


V Steel (long) = 5960 m/s
Sin B = Sin(90˚) =1
-1
Sin A = Sin (V1 * Sin B / V2)
= Sin-1(2740 * 1 / 5960)
= Sin-1(0.4597)
= 27.37˚

When the incident angle reaches the second critical angle (57.7 ˚) the transverse wave is totally internally reflected
through 90˚.

Calculate the Second Critical Angle – Perspex to Steel

V Perspex (long) = 2740 m/s


V Steel (trans) = 3240 m/s
Sin B = Sin(90˚) =1
-1
Sin A = Sin (V1 * Sin B / V2)
= Sin-1(2740 * 1 / 3240)
= Sin-1(0.8457)
= 57.74˚
Angle A as previously stated is the angle of the perspex wedge and it will be appreciated from Fig 28 that a wedge
angle between 28.7˚ and 56˚ will produce transverse waves of refracted angles from 35˚ to 80˚.

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RESOLUTION
The effect of pulse width with regard to resolution will now be discussed.

First of all it is necessary to enlarge on the fact that a pulse energy is made up of several waves produced from
oscillations of the crystal during a given number of micro seconds.

We will now consider the pulse width in steel for a crystal that has produced a pulse of energy for a period of two
microseconds (2 µ sec). The width of the pulse will be approximately 12mm.

Fig 30 shows two defects separated by 3mm.

This pulse width of 12mm would not be able to resolve these two defects because their echoes would overlap.
Therefore this pulse width would not satisfactorily resolve defects closer than approximately 6mm. Defects around
this 6mm separation band would give an indication on the back of the main signal on the cathode ray tube. Defects
below this value would be lost in the main signal envelope.

Fig 31 and Fig 32 show the pulse from the 3mm separation and the 6mm separation.

Fig 31 (3mm Separation) Fig 32 (6mm separation)

To determine the pulse width:

Pulse width = (velocity x number of waves) / frequency

On summarising, good resolution demands a very short pulse so that the reflections of one defect lying close to
another is not lost in the received signal of the first. It should be further noted that the higher the frequency, the
shorter the pulse width. Also the higher the frequency the shorter the wavelength, thereby giving greater sensitivity
to small defects. The two combinations give good defect detectability and good resolution.

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Fig 33
Fig 33 shows two examples of resolution.

ABSORPTION OR ATTENUATION
Attenuation or weakening of the echoes, is a combination of absorption and scattering and leads to energy loss,
both in the material under test and in the probe itself.

Absorption of the wave can refer to loss through heat due to internal friction. The absorption factor is greater with
high frequencies die to more rapid particle movement.

Other factors which attenuate the acoustic intensity of the beam are find inclusions, micro porosity, the crystal
structure and composition. Scattering of ultrasound is similar to the effect of fog or smoke on light. It occurs when
the frequency of the probe chosen has a wavelength which approaches the grain size of the material under test. Due
to grain size irregularity, scattering is multi-directional.

THE FLAW DETECTOR

PULSE GENERATOR (MASTER TIMER)


To regulate the output of the transmission pulse and to supply the time base circuit.

TIME BASE (DEPTH RANGES)


Which by virtue of the relationship between the distance travelled by ultrasonic waves in unit time (velocity) can be
used as a distance of depth scale when locating defects or measuring thickness.

TRANSMITTER
To provide short pulses of electrical energy to excite the transmitter probe.

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RECEIVER / AMPLIFIER
To pick up and magnify the signal coming from the receiver probe. The energy then being applied (as a voltage) to
the ‘Y’ plates.

ATTENUATOR
Controls the relationship of volts in / volts out across the ‘Y’ plates thereby controlling signal heights. Does not affect
amplifier linearity.

DISPLAY UNIT
For presenting visually the transmitted and received signals in their proper time sequence with indication of relative
amplitude. Two types of display may be utilised a Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) which are now superseded by the digital
display.

The CRT is a highly evacuated tube and housed within this tube are an electron gun used to produce a pencil beam
of electrons, a deflection system and a luminescent screen coated with special phosphor to render the movement of
the electron beam as visible light.

In the electron gun the beam is initiated by heating a coated cathode by a small filament, electrons are emitted and
these in turn are attracted by a positively charged anode. Between the cathode and anode we have the grid, its
function being to limit electron flow.

The anode assembly can be produced in the form of apertures, their function being to accelerate the electron flow.
The electrons are now in the form of a fine beam which will impinge on the luminescent screen and surrender its
energy in the form of visible light.

Located at the front of the electron gun there is the deflection system. Application of an electrical potential to the ‘X’
deflector plates will cause the beam to be deflected in the horizontal plane. When an electrical potential is applied
to the ‘Y’ plates, deflection will occur in the vertical plane.

We now have a pointer that has no mass, in fact, weightless. This pointer can be deflected in two dimensions having
the ability to faithfuly reproduce high frequency signals as visible light.

The Pulse Generator provides the initiating pulse, in other words triggers off the time base circuit and causes the
spot to commence its movement across the face of the tube and to trace out the green base line; it also triggers off
the transmitter, causing a large pulse of energy to be sent to the probe.

The frequency with which the pulse generator performs these functions is known as the Pulse Repetition Frequency
(PRF). The PRF could vary between 50 and 2000 pulses a second. The greater the rate of the PRF then the brighter
becomes the green line of the time base. Due to this simultaneous triggering, it is assumed that the transmission
pulse is located on the left hand side of the screen. Sometimes it is necessary to delay this pulse for various forms of
testing.

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The Pulse Transmitter circuit is the part of the equipment which delivers the current to the crystal. High tension
supplies to this circuit are required of 1 to 2 kV and it is into this circuit that we introduce frequency selection. The
time base circuit is required to obtain a linear transverse of the spot from left to right in the horizontal sweep.
During this sweep there will be deflections in the vertical plane from reflections within the specimen and these must
be displayed on the screen directly proportional to time.
Sweep times must be variable and depend on the depth range, therefore sweep times from 20 micro seconds to 1
millisecond may be required.

If we compare this period of time to the PRF rete we can see that the spot has some time to spare and, in fact, has a
small amount of time to wait at the left hand side before commencing further excursions.

The receiver accepts and amplifies the returning electrical signals and these signals are so minute that amplification
rates from 10,000 to 100,000 times as required. Another requirement of the amplifier is that it has to accommodate
various frequencies and has to have adequate bandwidth.

A further requirement of the amplifier is that it should have the ability to reproduce all signals on the CRT whether
large or small, at an amplitude or height which is in direct proportion to the energy at the receiver crystal. That is to
say, that the input/output relationship should be linear.
These are but a few of the functions of an ultrasonic unit. They have been included to enable the student to have
some appreciation of the electronics of ultrasonics.

The standard flaw detector utilises the pulse-echo (A-Scan) presentation.

A-SCOPE PRESENTATION
A form of cathode ray tube in rectangular co-ordinates, in which pulse amplitude is represented as a displacement
along one axis, and time is represented as a displacement along the other axis.

B-SCOPE PRESENTATION
A form of cathode ray tube display, in rectangular co-ordinates, in which the travel time of an ultrasonic pulse is
represented as a displacement along one axis, and probe movement (generally rectilinear) is represented as a
displacement along the other axis. In the display, reflected pulses are shown as bright marks on a dark background,
or vice versa.

C-SCOPE PRESENTATION
The line-by-line presentation of flaw data obtained by scanning the major surface of the material line-by-line (non-
intersecting lines) so that discontinuities are shown in terms of probe position at the moment of detection. The
presentation may be on a cathode ray tube screen or recorded on paper or film i.e. a two-dimensional presentation.

D-SCOPE PRESENTATION
A two –dimensional graphical projection on to a plane normal to the test surface and normal to the projection of the
beam direction on the test surface, showing the apparent size and position of reflections in the volume inspected by
scanning an area of test surface.

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DECIBEL NOTATION (dB)


The decibel is a unit of comparison. It is the measurement of changes in sound intensities and has a logarithmic base.
It is possible to calculate the dB difference between signals from two reflectors whose size ratio is known.

e.g.
If two reflectors, equidistant from the probe, have a size ratio of 10:1, what would be the dB difference in their echo
heights?
Formula: dB = 20 * log( h1/h2) where h1 & h2 are the echo heights.

= 20 * log (10/1)
=20 * 1
Difference = 20 dB

Ratio of 2:1

= 20 * log (2/1)
=20*0.30
Difference = 6 dB

By transmitting the formula, it is possible to determine the ratio of sizes of two reflectors whose dB difference is
known.

e.g.
Tow reflectors, equidistant from the probe, have a dB difference of 14 dB between their echo heights. What is their
ratio of reflective areas?

dB = 20 *log (h1/h2)
14 = 20 *log (h1/h2)
(14/20) = log (h1/h2)
Antilog 0.7 = (h1/h2) Note: Log(5) = 0.7
5 = (h1/h2)
Ratio = 5:1

CALCULATIONS OF dB RATIO’S – PRACTICE


1. The signals from two defects equidistant from the probe have heights of 10mm and 40mm. What is the
decibel difference between the two signals?
2. Express a ratio of 5:1 in decibels.
3. What is the ration of signal amplitudes if the dB difference between the echoes is 40 dB?
4. Two reflectors equidistant from the probe had a difference of 8 dB between their echo heights, what is the
ratio of their surface area?

Check answers HERE

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The table below gives approximate dB and amplitude ratio equivalents.

Amplitude Ratio

dB Amp dB Amp dB Amp dB Amp dB Amp


Ratio Ratio Ratio Ratio Ratio

1 1.12 6 2 11 3.55 16 6.31 21 11.22

2 1.26 7 2.24 12 3.98 17 7.8 22 12.59

3 1.41 8 2.51 13 4.47 18 7.94 23 14.13

4 1.59 9 2.82 14 19 8.91 24 15.85

5 1.78 10 3.16 15 5.62 20 10 25 17.78

PART 2 - FACTORS INFLUENCING ULTRASONIC TESTING


SURFACE CONDITION
The surface condition of the specimen is of prime importance. There are many ‘Schools of thought’ on this subject
and over-exuberant claims are constantly made by people who state that more than a fair degree of roughness is
quite acceptable. More often than not these claims are made by people with little or no practical experience and,
unfortunately, their comments are taken as read by management. When the ultrasonic operator attempts to
perform his task of testing a specimen, and eventually requests some surface preparation, he is then considered as
over critical and a burden to production costs.

Surface at all times should be of reasonable nature, and a guide to the degree of irregularity that can be tolerated
can be stated as approximately one tenth of a wavelength. Beyond this figure, coupling conditions deteriorate.

The theoretical critical roughness is given by the equation:

Rc = (λ1v2) / ( 2(v2-v1)) = (λ2v1) / (2(v2 –v1))

Where λ1 is the wavelength in couplant


V1 is the velocity of sound in the couplant
λ1 is the wavelength in the test piece
V2 is the velocity of sound in the test piece

An ultrasonic test applied to a specimen with a rough surface beyond the limits defined above would bear little
relationship to a further test applied to the same specimen after preparation. The reason for this is as follows. Probe
control wold be much easier, making the point of reflection of defects easier to locate and measure. A smaller dead
zone, would be created because less gain would be required, due to improved coupling conditions. The use of a
higher frequency probe being made possible by the improved surface. All of the aforementioned would make a far
superior test.

In some industries an unprepared surface is quite acceptable. The applied test is only required to find defects which
are of certain dimensions. The size of defect, the surface condition and the probe frequency are all compatible. The
coupling be water which is ejected onto the surface via an irrigated probe.

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General comments on good surfaces in the following conditions will now be made.

LOOSE SCALE
Loose scale on a good surface should be removed. One layer of tightly adhering scale does not normally produce any
significant hazards, but heat treatments do e.g. double stress relief or repeated tempering. These operations can
create a double, tightly adhering scale, which presents an almost impenetrable acoustic barrier causing little or zero
transmission.

PEENING
Peening on the surface of a casting should be regarded with the greatest suspicion as invariably this has been done
to remove sand or to tighten or blend surface holes. These surface holes could very well be gas tails leading to
cavities, or shrinkage.

SLIGHT RUST
Slight rust on the surface should be wire brushed, if this is not done it will mix with the couplant and become quite a
solid mass under the movement of the probe.

In certain instances the use of a thin polythene sheet enhances the coupling conditions. To use this method it is first
necessary to apply the coupling medium, one which has a high viscosity (grease, polycell, etc.) to the surface of the
specimen. The polythene sheet is then placed on the couplant and smoothed over until all traces of air bubbles have
been removed from below the sheet. When this has been accomplished, a thin smear of couplant on the exposed
surface of the polythene is all that is necessary to provide a very good surface condition.

An added advantage of this method is the fact that it reduces probe wear, and presents a cleaner trace on the
cathode ray tube.

ACOUSTIC IMPEDANCE, TRANSMISSION AND REFLECTION


At any interface between two media of differing acoustic impedance acoustic mismatch causes part of the energy to
be reflected back and the remainder to be transmitted through the interface.

The specific Acoustic Impedance is derived from the acoustic impedance of velocity and density.

z = pv
p = density of material
v = velocity of sound through the material

For ultrasonic wave’s incident at normal angle to the interface, the percentage of energy transmitted is:
(4z2 * z1 / (z2 + z1)2) * 100%
Where z1 and z2 are acoustic impedance’s in materials 1 and 2 the percentage of energy reflected is:

((z2 - z1)2 / (z2 + z1)2) * 100%

If the energy in a material arrives at a boundary in air, the value of z2 is small compared to z1, so that reflection is
practically complete, therefore when it is required to transmit ultrasonic energy through an interface it is necessary
to use a COUPLANT.
The nearer the acoustic impedance of the couplant to that of the two solids the greater will be the transmission.

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COUPLANT
The couplant used in ultrasonic inspection appears to be very much a matter of personal preference; some operators
use grease to eliminate the air between the transducer and the specimen, while others prefer polycell, water or oil.
Glycerine is a thick syrupy liquid, soluble in water and is very good, but expensive.

Many are the mediums used, but it is worth knowing that in terms of efficiency some are much better than others.
We shall consider some examples in the respect using the following formula.

Efficiency of couplant is a function of acoustic impedance of couplant and test piece.

Acoustic Impedance z = Density * Velocity of Sound

Transmission = 4*z1*z2*100 / (z2 + z1)2 %


z1 = A1 Test piece
Steel = 45 * 105 g/cm2/sec
z2 = A1 Couplant
Oil = 1 * 105 g/cm2/sec
Water = 1.5 * 105
Glycerine = 2.46 * 105
Polycell = 1.8 * 105 (Approx.)

Example

Oil Couplant = 4* z1*z2*100 / (z2 + z1)2


= 4*45*1*100 / (45 + 1)2
=18,000 / (46)2
=18,000 / 2116
=8.5%

Water = 4* z1*z2*100 / (z2 + z1)2


= 4*45*1.5*100 / (45 + 1.5)2
=27,000 / (46.5)2
=27,000 / 2162.25
=12.5%

Glycerine = 4* z1*z2*100 / (z2 + z1)2


= 4*45*2.46*100 / (45 + 2.46)2
=44,280 / (47.46)2
=44,280 / 2252.45
=19.7% Assuming compression waves and a very smooth surface

Reflection R = (z1 – z2)2*100 / (z1 + z2)2

% reflection + % transmission = 100%


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Example of reflection at a water to steel interface:

R = (z1 – z2)2*100 / (z1 + z2)2


= (45 – 1.5)2 * 100 / (45 + 1.5)2
= (43.5)2 * 100 / (46.5)2
= 1892.25*100 / 2162.25
= 189225 / 2162.25
= 87.5%

MODE CONVERSION AND SPURIOUS INDICATIONS


When a wave is incident upon a face of other than 90˚, mode conversion may take place i.e. the transformation of a
shear wave to a compression wave. Mode conversion may occur in the most simple of geometric shapes, a classic
example of such an occurrence can be given from the IIW calibration block.

Fig 34.

Fig 34 (i) shows a compression probe placed at a convenient position on the IIW calibration block so as to obtain
multiple reflections of 100mm. Fig 34 (ii) shows the end elevation, or through section, and the subsequent
transformation of waves from compression (C) to shear (S) and back again to compression. Fig 34 (iii) shows the
corresponding cathode ray presentation.

The effect of mode change can be observed on a weld when examination of the root run is undertaken using a 60˚
probe. Fig 35 shows a root concavity of smooth contour, and the effect of mode change is shown. It may well be that
the conversion from shear to compression may occur only once, that is from the concavity to the dressed surface of
the weld, then back again for conversion back to shear, in other cases it may return to the probe as a compression
wave after many reflections of only a few degrees separation. The net product of such an occurrence is to indicate
the effect on the screen at a beam path equal to the total beam paths, in this case, well into the parent material.
Fortunately we can damp down these signals by placing an oily finger at position x thereby confirming mode

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conversion. In any event, such a suspect area as indicated by the mode conversion in the parent material would have
been investigated from the other side of the weld.

The golden rule in ultrasonic inspection is to predetermine any areas where mode conversion may occur by careful
preparation of the geometry of the specimen.

This enables the technician to pre-calculate beam path distance etc. from a drawing, thereby appreciating most of
the variables that can happen before he starts the ultrasonic examination.

Spurious indications are, as the name suggests, signals that occur and present irrelevant indications such as signals
ghosting across the screen through electrical disturbances. The occurrence of a signal on the time base may be due
to a build-up of couplant in front of an angle probe on flat or curved surfaces although it is fair to state that these
signals are more predominant from a curved surface with the probe positioned for a traverse scan Fig 36.

Fig 36
Other such indications happen when a combined double compression probe is used on a rough surface with the
attenuator set to give quite a high sensitivity level. Spurious indications will be displayed as very strong signals in
group formation occupying a position on the time base of between 15m to 20mm. This position and size of group
depends on the degree of surface roughness and the size of the probe.

The reason for such spurious indications are due to reflection grating, which, in simple language, means that sound
waves are reflected from one crystal to another across the surface producing indications on the cathode ray tube at
positions equal to the distances travelled.

Transmission of the beam still takes place under these conditions and good back wall indications are obtained. To
the less experienced ultrasonic technician these signals may be misinterpreted as inclusions or lamina defects.

Fig 37 illustrates the conditions described and the associated cathode ray tube display.

Fig 37
One further example that is worthy of mention is the reflections obtained from a probe that has a refracted angle
around 45˚.

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Indications can be obtained from such a probe when the smallest amount of surface irregularity is present on the
incident surface.

Fig 38

Fig 38 shows a situation where the signal heights from the surface irregularity could quite conceivably be greater
than that of the defect for the indicated probe position.

For the technician with little experience in this respect it is suggested that practical tests are carried out to
appreciate just how strong such indications can be.

CALIBRATION OF COMPRESSION WAVES


SINGLE PROBES
Before the time base is calibrated, the graticule scale does not represent any distance. The scale is divided into ten
vertical lines, running the full height of the screen and fifty small lines at the bottom of the display.

Once the time base is calibrated to a known distance, each line has then a definite meaning. For example, when the
time base has been calibrated to measure 0-50mm; each of the small lines represents 1mm.

Before calibration is attempted, two factors must be known; the time base distance required and the thickness of
the available calibration block.

Calibration is achieved by placing a probe on the calibration block and aligning the repeated echoes to the
corresponding graticules. In order to do that, one must first identify the meaning of each line. As stated above, when
calibration for 0-50mm; the small lines represent 1mm, the large lines must then each represent 5mm (10 lines,
screen 50mm, 50 / 10 = 5mm). If the calibration block is 20mm thick, the first echo would be 20mm and the second
echo would be 40mm.

The same method is used for any calibration required, by dividing the time base by the thickness of the calibration
block and placing the echoes in their respective positions. For example, a time base calibration to 100mm using a
25mm thick calibration block would have four echoes, placed at 25, 50, 75 and 100mm.

The same time base (100mm) using a 20mm thick calibration block, would have 5 echoes placed at 20, 40, 60, 80 and
100mm; and so on.

The key, then, to any calibration is to divide the required time base by the thickness of the calibration block and
place the echoes in the correct position.

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An important point to remember is that the distance from echo to echo, is the thickness of the calibration block
being used. For that reason it is not possible to calibrate the time base, using only one echo!

CALIBRATION OF SHEAR WAVE PROBES


Unlike compression waves, shear waves do not make use of a known thickness, but use a radius to achieve
calibration. The main reason for this is to enable calibration of different angles from only one radius.

The method of calibration is similar to that used for compression, but the probe must be positioned to give the
maximum response from the radius. At that point the beam is radial and is travelling the radial distance. For
example, the calibration block known as the V1 block has a radius of 100mm and when the echo is maximised the
distance travelled by the beam is 100mm. Therefore repeat echoes each indicate an additional 100mm.

The echoes are repeated from slots, as indicated in Fig 41 above. I there were no slots in the calibration block, the
beam would not show repeat echoes, which is the case when using a calibration block known as the V2.

V1 Calibration Block (above) & V2 Calibration Block (below)

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It will be noted that the V2 block has two radii of 25mm and 50mm. You will recall that, as stated in the section on
calibration of compression waves, it is not possible to calibrate using only one echo. With the V2 calibration block,
echoes from 25mm and 50mm can be used to calibrate the time base for a required distance.

Some practice is needed to be confident when calibrating shear waves and it must be re-stated tha the calibration is
achieved, not only when the leading edge of the echo is on the correct graticule, but also when the echo is
maximised.

As an example an explanation of a calibration will now be given

It is required that a time base, reading from 0 – 100mm is to be used. The calibration block, which is available, is the
V2. This has two radii of 25mm and 50mm.
1. Using the delay control, place the initial pulse at 0 on the time base.
2. Apply couplant to the calibration block and place the shear wave probe on the block, with the beam
projected to the 25mm radius.
3. Using the delay and calibrate controls obtain two echoes. The distance between the first and second echoes
is 75mm. Not, as one would expect, 25mm. The reason for this is that this block does not have and slots, like
the V1. The sound beam does not repeat at 25mm, but reflects form the flat surface and is then projected to
the 50mm radius. The second echo is then at the distance travelled from the 25mm radius to the 50mm
radius. Add these together and you get 75mm.

4. With the delay control place the first echo on the graticule which represents 25mm, and the second echo on
the graticule which represents 100mm. (First echo 25m, second echo is 25mm + 75mm = 100mm).
5. Turn the probe round so that the beam is projected at the 50mm radius, and make any adjustment using the
calibrate control, to place the leading edge of the echo on the graticule which represents 50mm. it is
important that the second echo is placed on 50mm as an additional check on the accuracy of the calibration.

The time base is now calibrated to measure 0 – 100mm.

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PROBE INDEX POINT


The V1 block has many dimensions, which can be used for a great number of time base calibrations. It has one other
important function, making use of the slot at the centre of the radius. When the sound beam is reflected, as it passes
from the probe shoe into the block, the exact point on the probe where this occurs is called the index point. With
the echo from the 100mm radius maximised, the part of the probe which is aligned with the slot is the point at which
the index point is to be marked on the probe.

GEOMETRY
Before any attempt is made to examine a particular weld or component by ultrasonics, it is necessary to appreciate
the geometric considerations involved in that inspection.

In many instances the geometric configuration may be quite simple while in others it will be complex and require
careful thought as to the correct technique to apply so that the possibility of incorrect interpretation through mode
change etc. will be avoided

With the qualification schemes for the approval of non-destructive testing personnel now operating it becomes
increasingly apparent that a critical and precise approach in the methods of ultrasonic testing and recording of such
information are of the highest priority.

If the ultrasonic technician has a constant system of recording and also a graphic presentation, all the ultrasonic
examinations he makes will be consistent and of the highest integrity.

Such a system will now be discussed and will serve to introduce a new word into the field of NDT; the word being
Ultragraph.

THE ULTRAGRAPH
The Ultragraph should show three important aspects of a section of defective weld.

1. A cross section or side elevation of the defect(s) at various points indicating their size.
2. A plan view or radiograph type of presentation indicating the length of the defect.
3. A plot of the root contours in the case of a full penetration butt weld showing excess penetration and lack of
penetration.

The Ultragraph is accompanied by a recording sheet which contains all the relevant plotting information obtained

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At the time of the test.

One of the main advantages of this system is the fact that all plotting is done on a drawing board in warm and
pleasant surroundings after the scanning techniques have been completed and the plotting data compiled.

This is far removed and much more desirable than attempting to attain accuracy with greasy plastic slides and a
chinagraph pencil that has a point, after a little use, of between 1 and 2 mm. it is quite ludicrous to lay any claim to
accuracy under these conditions, furthermore the accumulation of such errors would very quickly exceed any
acceptable plus or minus tolerance on defect size as set by the qualification examining body.

Let us now proceed to a simple weld configuration in a pipe to pipe weld joint.

It will be noted that the root gap is 3mm and that the land is also 3mm. The preparation is a U prep and a decrease in
angle is introduced at 37mm to reduce the amount of weld volume required.

Form this drawing the beam path distance, half and full skip distance can be measured. The choice of probe angle will
respect to the junction zone can be selected remembering that the ultimate angle would be one of 90˚.

Beam path, half and full skip distances can be calculated mathematically. These are as follows, complete with
examples. (These are not related to the above dimensions).

FULL AND HALF SKIP DISTANCE

The skip distance factor for any probe is found by 2t TAN(a).

This is twice the material thickness multiplied by the tangent of the angle of refraction (obtained from trigonometric
tables, calculator).

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Example:
Probe angle 45˚, plate thickness 20mm
2t *TAN(a)
2t = 20mm x 2 = 40mm
TAN(45) = 1
40 x 1 = skip distance = 40mm (½ skip / 2)

To calculate half skip distance


t*a
20mm x 1 = 20mm ½ skip

BEAM PATH
To calculate beam path distance (BP)

BP = t / COS(a)
The beam path (BP) is the distance travelled from the index point of the probe to the first reflection point of the
material.

To obtain this distance it is necessary to divide the cosine of the angle of refraction into the thickness of the
material.

Example :
BP = t / COS(a)
Probe = 45˚
t = 20mm

BP = 20 / COS(a)
= 20 / 0.707
= 28.2mm

The foregoing formula can be deduced from the following:

CB / AC = TAN(a)

Where: CB is the half skip distance


AC is the thickness t of the material

Example:
CB / AC = 20mm / 20mm = 1 (TAN of 45˚)

Calculation of the Beam Path and Surface distances mathematically provides a very reliable means to accuracy,
however, the student who does not wish to use this method can use the geometric approach i.e. produce a drawing
and determine the various distances by physically measuring the drawing.

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Many complex shapes are examined by ultrasonics and parts of the component can be most difficult to examine
either because of accessibility or geometric configuration. Such a problem is illustrated in Fig 50.

It can be seen that with the concave weld profile it is impossible from the stub side to examine the toe of the weld
(an area where we may observe toe cracking) the changing contour of the header section makes any inspection
from that face most difficult and almost impossible to plot under actual working conditions.

Another important point which should be borne in mind when the examination of a cylindrical object is
contemplated using angle probes, is the IRRADIATION FACTOR, from Fig 51 you will observe the effect of a curved
surface and will appreciate that irradiation is a function of diameter and angle.

IRRADIATION FACTOR

Formula
Irradiation Factor = (1-SIN(a))/2

Example:
Where a = 45˚
= (1-SIN(a))/2
= (1-SIN(45))/2
= (1 - 0.707)/2
= 0.293 / 2
Irradiation Factor = 0.146

Irradiation Factor * Diameter = Irradiation Depth

The factors for various angles are as follows:

20˚ 25˚ 30˚ 35˚ 40˚ 45˚ 50˚ 55˚ 60˚ 65˚ 70˚ 75˚ 80˚
0.329 0.289 0.250 0.213 0.179 0.146 0.117 0.090 0.067 0.047 0030 0.017 0.008

Having taken an initial look at weld profile let us now discuss the method of testing such a weld, bearing in mind our
geometric considerations.

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Ultrasonic Testing

PART 3 - TESTING
METHOD OF TESTING
The next important step will be to inquire as to the nature of the parent material and the weld metal (mild steel 2¼%
chrome, 1% moly, etc.) and to any heat treatment operation carried out on the metal.

Attention should be paid to the overburden or cap of the weld. This should be ground off, (where possible) and the
surface polished. It is also necessary to polish the surface on each side of the weld to ensure good coupling.
Measuring from the centre point of the weld, the area requiring polishing is approximately twice the thickness of
material under inspection.

The parent material should be scanned on both sides using longitudinal waves to establish that it is free from
laminations or other defects. Precise readings of the thickness during this operation should be noted from both sides
and any areas of reduction marked for special attention later.

Next, scan the weld area noting any areas offering response.

Mark the centre line of weld circumferentially and then draw in the half skip positions circumferentially as pre-
determined from the drawing. This is the point where the probe index is beamed directly
into the centre line of the root. Finally, draw in the lines which represent the outer limits of scanning.

The use of a back or front stop is highly recommend for the initial root scan as this will provide a guide for the probe
and allow the technician to direct most of his attention to the CRT. The method of root interpretation to be in
accordance with the instructions received in the school.

TEST SENSITIVITY
First signs of ‘grass’ from weld area up to the maximum beam path distance, or as recommended by the
specification. The body movement of the probe during examination of the weld should be smooth and well
controlled with no greater lateral movement than half the crystal width. The probe should be transversed from the
limit of scan line through the centre line – moved laterally a half crystal width and transversed back to the limit of
scan, this sequence should be followed until the circumference has been internally scanned. This operation should
be carried out from both sides.

TRANSVERSE FLAWS
Materials prone to transverse cracking in weld and heat affected zones should be scanned in the appropriate
direction again using the techniques leant in the school.

NB: Angle probe irradiation factors are used here.

It will be appreciated that the difficult part of an examination of a weld is the interpretation of the time base
presentation.

To state that a rigid code or set pattern of Trace Formation can be followed, would be extremely misleading. The
number of variables are quite considerable, for example the shape of the Trace Pulse from a quartz transducer will
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vary from that of Barium Titanate. Equipment characteristics will be evident when a known flaw is scanned with two
ultrasonic detectors. The variations may be small, but in some cases the difference will be very noticeable.

The choice of probe angle and its frequency, all have an effect on the resolution of the pulse presentation. Good
resolution is of great importance, it enables the technician to observe reflecting facets of the flaw displayed on the
time base in a well-defined form, without this ability the facets of group porosity for instance would take up a broad
trace with insufficient break up of peaks to display the various time intervals, from index point to reflecting facets of
the pores.

A signal of high amplitude (signal pulse height) does not necessarily mean that the flaw is a large one and conversely
a small display of amplitude may be from a large defect not presenting face to the angle of ultrasonic propagation,
further investigation using other angles would give conclusive results.

From a series of carefully controlled probe movements much information can be gained and used to plot the flaw
position within the weld. The welding technique must be known, and the type of flaw that may occur in that
technique fully understood. It should also be noted that similar time base presentations can present themselves
from different flaws.

Accurate interpretation of the time base presentation is very much a matter of experience, but there are basic probe
movements and trace formations that result from certain flaws.

BUTT WELD EXAMINATION


In the examination of butt welds these fall into the following categories:

1. Lack of fusion side wall


2. Porosity & piping
3. Slag spots & linear inclusions
4. Lack of penetration
5. Cracks – longitudinal & transverse

LACK OF FUSION SIDE WALL


The time base presentation for lack of side wall fusion tends to be quite sharp, and providing the probe angle
selected is at right angles, only a little movement of the signal along the time base will be observed when the probe
scans the flaw region. Some variations of this will be experienced and will depend upon the extent of the lack of side
wall fusion.

Detection of this type of defect on thin wall tubing is best carried out from a back stop position using the minimum
number of skips. To provide adequate coverage of fusion area, the test should be set up for this type of flaw only,
and the probe carefully transversed around the tube using the back stop to maintain a constant weld to index point
relationship. Any lack of side wall fusion would present itself at a position on the time base as previously calculated.
This signal would tend to be sharp and reasonably high in amplitude. A scan from each side is necessary.

If a natural specimen containing this flaw is available for “Setting up” this would prove to be of immense value.

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POROSITY & PIPING


The time base presentation of a single pore is sharp with clean rising edges, the following movements will provide
reasonable confirmation.

a. Orbit the probe around the flaw, and observe the time base presentation. If the signal height remains
constant, i.e. no reduction in amplitude, this then indicates a spherical reflector.
b. Obtain maximum amplitude and rotate the probe on its axis, reduction of signal height will be rapid.
c. A lateral scan will produce an equal rise and fall of the signal, with little signal width on the time base
presentation. As the probe is traversed toward the pore, the leading edge of the beam makes contact, the
signal presents itself fairly quickly although the gain to maximum is steady and fall off rapid. The probe
movement will depend on the angle and depth of the flaw. The movement of the signal along the time base
for this operation will be fairly long, again depending on the probe angle depth.

Much the same conditions exist for a rounded isolated pipe. In the case of group porosity, there are present many
reflecting faces at different beam path lengths. The time base presentation is a broad one, and its width depends on
the shortest and the longest reflected travel path taken by the Ultrasonic beam. The left and right hand edges are
clean but any signals superimpose themselves across the area and the time base presentation has a somewhat
jagged appearance across the top.

Orbiting the probe produces much the same information. Rotation of the probe causes a large number of maximum
signals to be observed, which rise and fall rapidly.

SLAG SPOTS & LINEAR INCLUSIONS


Slag inclusions present themselves in various ways, for a small inclusion time base presentation similar to that for a
small pore could be observed. Slightly larger inclusions produce a signal that is forked, indicating irregularity of the
reflecting face.

Orbiting the probe for this type of flaw produces a time base presentation where a number of maximum amplitudes
can be observed.

Rotation of the probe produces a slower fall of than for a gas pore.

Linear inclusions maintain a good amplitude when the probe is in lateral movement. If the amplitudes are a number
of maximum and minimum, the whole length of the scan (deducing of course beam spread in the horizontal plane at
that depth) must be taken as the flaw length. This is necessary owing to the fact that it was not possible to separate
the flaws due to beam overlap.

LACK OF PENETRATION
Lack of root penetration being a root condition where unfused edge or edges provide good ultrasonic reflectors. In
the case of a butt weld where for various reasons the specified root gap has closed and an unsuccessful attempt has
been made to penetrate through the time base presentation in this case is a signal of quite some amplitude, singular
and very sharp, with clean edges indicating a constant root condition; the type of signal to be expected from a
machined face. Some linearity may be observed when the probe is in lateral movement.

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Orbiting the probe in an arc, using the flaw as a central point, produces a time base presentation where a fairly quick
fall off of maximum amplitude occurs both on the right and left hand arc from the right angle probe position.
Variations of the above occur and depend on wall thickness and probe angle.

Pipe curvature must also be considered.

Rotation of the probe produces a fairly quick rise and fall and does not indicate a great deal of movement, along the
time base.

Traversing the defect produces a very characteristic time base presentation when the leading edge of the ultrasonic
beam contacts the defect. A signal is observed to the right hand side of the previously calculated root position.
Further traversing of the probe produces the maximum amplitude and this should present itself as near limits to root
position on the time base, depending on the height of the lock of penetration. Further traversing will produce a
steady fall off of signal. The significant points to make are that the probe movement will be quite substantial and the
signal travel along the time base will have been extensive, just how extensive would be a feature of the height of the
flaw, and probe angle.

The observed signal from such an area with complete lack of penetration when traversed is one that is extremely
smooth with gradual build up to maximum and gradual fall off and occupies a considerable amount of time base.

CRACKS
Longitudinal and transverse cracks are good ultrasonic reflectors, if we were to observe the face of the crack
magnified only several times we wold see multiple facets, in fact a quite jagged saw tooth formation. These are the
faces of reflection that present themselves to the ultrasonic beam. Cracks have random orientation, varying height
and length, thus, their detection by ultrasonics is relatively simple.

The time base presentation will not always be a simple matter of interpretation, small fine cracks may produce a
presentation surprisingly similar to a fine slag inclusion, much again depends on probe angle and orientation of flaw.

In general a crack produces signals of quite high amplitude and because the facets are so close to one another, these
reflections superimpose themselves on this signal. Many high intensity blips (half cycles) can be observed both on
the left hand rising edge and on the right hand flank. Slight rotational probe movement will cause these high
intensity blips to move up and down the signal rapidly.

A crack that has height and various orientations can produce signals at different time intervals, their peaks being
ragged.

Orbiting of the flaw may cause loss of signal amplitude, to what extent depends on flaw orientation.

Traversing of the flaw produces the following: when the leading edge makes contact the signal amplitude rises
quickly, the amplitude fall off is fairly rapid, time base travel is dependent on flaw orientation, height and probe
angle.

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Lateral scanning of this type of flaw will probably reveal other facets of reflection at longer or shorter beam path
lengths. On the time base presentation these show that the flaw orientation has changed to some degree, and a
number of maximum amplitudes may be observed.

Other signals not placed in the above categories but worthy of mention are as follows:

TWIN PEAKING FROM ARGON ARC ROOT


During the welding process a slight notch effect is formed, in some instances this is quite pronounced, the effect on
the time base presentation is to produce twin peaking, with the root signal in the middle of the peaks. Amplitude of
signal depends on the degree of notching or shrinkage and the probe angle. A single notch effect may be observed,
this will probably be due to weld position and other variables.

ROOT CAVITIES
Root cavities that have a smooth contour are difficult to detect and special care when scanning the root should be
exercised. In case of suspect indicators a miniature combined double probe proves of great assistance.

In the case of a cavity having sharp rising edges the signal on the time base presentation will be displayed to the left
of the calculated root position. The most likely place for root cavitation is around the six o’clock position in a vertical
weld – horizontal pipe, although root cavities can occur at any point on the circumference.

ROOT PRESENTATION WITH INTERNAL MISMATCH


At some time or other through counter boring of a pipe the root landings may be slightly mismatched, if this is
welded, the welder will have no alternative but to weld the root at an angle while still achieving root fusion.

When an ultrasonic test is applied it is possible to present good root reflection from one side of the weld, but from
the other side, root reflections are practically non-existent.

This present a problem to the technician who after having done a compression test of both parent metals has found
uniformity of thickness and no such mismatch is evident from external dimensions.

It is fair to state the above is a rare occurrence, but nevertheless can happen.

Although an effort has been made to establish some time base presentations it must be fully understood that
variations of the above frequently happen, and the ultimate interpretation of the trace is the responsibility of the
technician. Every effort should be made to confirm the type of defect with probes of different angles, also precise
measurements should be taken from the time base and related to weld geometry. At all times the screen should be
calibrated to the smallest scale, in keeping with the beam path.

Time base presentation of a flaw at 80mm beam path and occupying 5mm of the time base, presents easier to
observe characteristics on the 100mm scale than it would on the 250mm range.

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In summing up it will be self-evident that experience is most important, so too, are the characteristics of the
ultrasonic detector and the probes. This highlights the need for a technician to have his own equipment, thus
eliminating some of the variable involved.

FLAW IDENTIFICATION AND SIZE ESTIMATION


The object of inspection is to prove suitability for service and unless flaws can be identified and their size estimated
with accuracy, a rational approach to acceptance or rejection is not possible. Flaws cannot be identified from the
initial appearance of the trace because this does not provide all the information needed.

Moreover, the same flaw may produce somewhat different echo signal shapes on the supposedly identical
equipment. Even when the sensitivity level has been methodically set, the height of any one signal relative to others
cannot be directly related to flaw size until the orientation of the flaw is known. It is therefore important to
determine the attitude of the flaw in relation to the beam axis before attempting to estimate its size.

FACTORS AFFECTING THE DETERMINATION OF THE TYPE OF FLAW

a. Accuracy and reliability of equipment, particularly the probes is essential to accurate location of the flaw.
b. Knowledge of the welding process and procedure enables a flaw to be provisionally identified from its
location.
c. The determination of flaw shape depends mainly on the fact that the intensity of the reflected beam is
chiefly a function of the angle or incidence of the primary beam upon the flaw.

PROCEDURE FOR DETERMINING THE TYPE OF FLAW


Having first fixed the most favourable beam angle and probe position to ensure maximum signal response, the type
of flaw is ascertained by a series of controlled movements of the probe. During manipulation of the probe, the flaw
intercepts differing intensity levels in the beam, giving rise to a succession of echo signals of varying height and
range. With experience, the tester comes to recognise typical signal permutations and to visualise the shape and
texture of the surfaces which give rise to them. For instance, when the probe is orbiting at a constant stand-off
distance a steady peak at constant range means that the signal comes from an isolated reflector e.g. an inclusion or
a pore. If the same thing happens when the probe is moving laterally the reflector must be an elongated flaw such as
an infused root. Here, a traversing scan would show up a sharp peak over a short distance. If, however, the flaw
extends through the thickness of the weld, a lateral scan will show a sharp peak over a short distance, and a
traversing scan a constant response over an appreciable length of scan.

In a planner flaw, e.g. a crack. Lateral and traversing scan will both produce a fairly steady signal over the extent of
the flaw in each direction of scanning.

If the crack is ragged e.g. a hot tear, the indications will be significantly different due to the fact that the surface of
this type of flaw is made up of many small planes of varying attitude which scatter ultrasonic waves, while its edges
diffract them. Since the signal is monitoring the range of the flaw, there will be small shifts of position accompanied
by fluctuations of signal height, each indicating a change in direction of some portion of the crack. Some idea of the
attitude of the crack will be obtainable by rotating the probe.

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Although it is easy to recognise a ‘line’ flaw, it is often difficult to decide whether such a flaw is continuous or
intermittent. If intermittent it is even more difficult to determine the extent of the gaps between the flaws, chiefly
because of the beam spread and consequent overlapping on successive flaws. The echo height usually fluctuates, the
extent of the rise and fall being a function of the length of the gap. It can be shown, however, that a continuous but
ragged flaw has a similar effect due to random reflection of the beam. Unless the gaps are so small as to be
insignificant, it may be necessary to differentiate between continuous and intermittent flaws. The following
procedure is recommended:

a. Choose a probe so as to reduce to a minimum the probe flaw distance, this reduces the effect of beam
overlap.
b. Eliminate other variables which affect echo height such as poor coupling, jerky manipulation of the probe,
and poor surface condition. The use of a straight edge is recommended to ensure constant probe-to-flaw
distance.
c. Watch the screen closely and note where the echo signal rises and falls. It may be of advantage to do a trial
run to obtain a general impression of the situation.

A) Position of probe index for maximum signal


B) C) position of probe index for 6dB or 20dB drop in
signal

If echo height is being affected by random reflections from a ragged surface it can be detected by slight oscillation
and swivelling of the probe opposite the point of echo fall. There will then be several points where the incidence of
the beam is most favourable, and echo height will increase sharply. If, however, the flaw is intermittent, the same
movements will result in rapid decline of echo height.

With practice, the study of echo permutations leads to a process of mental integration which enables the test to
classify each characteristic with little conscious effort. If necessary such classification can be confirmed by means of
the flaw location slide, provided that the solid angle of the beam has been studied beforehand in at least two
mutually perpendicular planes.

FACTORS AFFECTING ACCURACY IN THE ESTIMATION OF FLAW SIZE

a. Reliability of the equipment as a whole is the first essential; this implies adequate servicing.
b. The resolving power of the probes determines the accuracy with which individual flaws can be separated,
particularly near the root of the weld.
c. Inadequate acoustical coupling caused, for instance, by rough or pitted surfaces and probe rock or tilt as a
result of uneven surface grinding, lead to inaccuracy in determining the position and limits of a flaw.
d. The increase in relative sensitivity of probes with increase in probe angle.
e. Decrease in sensitivity with increase in path length.
f. Lack of care in scribbling or pencilling fiducial marks on probe or work piece, particularly if coupled with
error in locating the probe index.

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PROCEDURES FOR THE ESTIMATION OF FLAW SIZE


Estimation of size follows logically from determination of flaw type and can well be carried out at the same time. The
recommended procedure is to place the probe with the beam axis at right angles to the line of the weld and
positioned for maximum response from the flaw. The signal is adjusted to a convenient amplitude and the probe
traversed towards the weld until the signal height has fallen by 6dB or 20dB, (i.e. one-half or one-tenth of its former
value). At this point, the edge of the flaw will be intercepting the lower boundary of the beam as shown in Fig 53.
The probe-to-weld distance and the range on the screen are carefully measured.
The probe is now traversed away from the weld until 6dB or 20dB drop signal amplitude is again obtained. The
upper boundary of the beam is then touching the lower edge of the flaw (Fig 53) probe position and flaw range are
again carefully noted.

Finally, the measurements of distance and range made at positions B and C are transferred to the flaw location slide
as shown in Fig 53 to determine the size of the flaw in section.

If the length of a flaw needs to be known, it may be measured in a similar way by moving the probe laterally until a
fall of 6dB or 20dB is obtained on either side of the position corresponding to maximum response. At these positions
the ends of the flaw will be intercepting the beam boundary and its length can be calculated from the measurement
of lateral probe shift and flaw range, referred to as the ‘horizontal’ beam profile previously determined from the IIW
block.

When the surface texture of a flaw, such as a lamination in parent material, causes fluctuation in echo height, the
6dB and 20dB drop should be reckoned from the height of the signal nearest to the edge of the flaw.

CHOICE OF PROBE
Without taking into account the special probes used for specific testing problems, the number of probes listed by the
manufacturer is rather bewildering. A few brief directives will therefore be given to facilitate selection.
For testing fine grained materials by the contact method it has been found that testing frequency wave lengths from
3 to 1mm in steel permit, under favourable conditions, detecting of flaws of approximately 0.5mm and larger i.e.
sizes where the designated flaw usually begins to be applicable. With these frequencies the most common diameter
of the standard probe for daily use is 8 to 10mm.

Using this standard probe a skilled operator will be able to solve a great many problems. When, however, skill alone
cannot give the answer, other frequencies will have to be used: where scattering in the material in the form of
‘grass’ masks the display on the screen, lower frequencies such as 1 and 0.5MHz may have to be used, although in
general this lengthens the close-range interference zone by a factor of 2 and 4 respectively, while proportionally

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reducing the detectability of small flaws. Even lower frequencies may have to be used to make penetration at all
possible in materials with strong acoustic attenuation, such as castings, plastics and wood.

Frequencies above 10MHz are more rarely required because excessive sensitivity to minute flaws is by no means
always desirable, and particularly also because these thin crystals, when used in the direct contact methods are not
very resistant even if fitted with a protective layer. This high frequency range is mainly reserved for indirect coupling
where fragile crystals such as lithium sulphate can be used.

Diameter of probe and frequency determine the form of the sound beam which in the case of the standard probe
can be characterised by a near field in steel of 30 to 130mm, and an angle of divergence of 10˚ to 30˚.

A long near field means long range, i.e. high sensitivity for small flaws at great depth if the attenuation of sound in
the material is neglected. The length of the near field determines the decrease in sensitivity with distance: to bring
this decrease to a minimum the length of the near field should where possible, be not less than approximately one
third of the maximum flaw distance. In the case of large specimens the condition cannot be fulfilled because,
although the length of the near field increases with the square of the diameter of the probe, the standard probe
constitutes a practical limit since most test pieces lack sufficiently large contact faces. On the other hand, higher
frequencies, owing to the strongly increasing attenuation are ruled out.

Thus, while for long ranges, probes of maximum distance are used, the smaller probes of e.g. 10mm and less at
frequencies from 2 to 15MHz are used only for testing ranges up to 100mm. Compared with the larger probes, the
smallest probes in this range have the advantage of more accurate lateral flaw location because of their narrower
beam in the near field. They are used perforce where the coupling surface of the test piece is too small for the larger
probes.

Accurate lateral flaw location usually makes a large angle of divergence undesirable. However, when the problem is
the detection of smooth obliquely orientated flaws which might easily be overlooked completely if a pencil-like
beam is used, and if the specimen cannot be scanned for such flaws by oblique beaming at all possible angles, it is
preferable not to attempt an exact flaw location but rather to use a wide-angle beam e.g. a 10mm diameter probe at
2MHz with an angle of divergence of 20˚.

The recommendation of a definite frequency and a definite probe which have been used successfully with a definite
instrument for solving a given testing problem does not necessarily lead to similarity favourable results when an
instrument of different manufacture is used, it is therefore always advisable first to try out the most suitable probe.
The reason for this is that a particular instrument with a probe, may for instance have a substantially higher
sensitivity at 0.5MHz compared with that at 1MHz than the other instrument. Thus while in the case of the first
instrument a given test should preferably be carried out at 0.5MHz, the result in this case of the second instrument
may be better when using 1MHz. At both ends of the frequency range viz. the high and the low, the amplification of
the instrument or the sensitivity of the probes usually decreases. Unfortunately no standardised data concerning this
point is as yet available.

When either the shape of a flaw or the proximity of small discontinuities in the same plane, e.g. inclusions given rise
to multiple echo signals, the signals from the extremities of the region concerned must be used for size estimation.
These may be very much smaller than those obtained from more favourably orientated parts of the flaw surface and

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are often found at closely similar ranges. In these cases, special care must be taken in the observation of echo
signals.

The soundest practice is to take the 20dB drop from the last echo seen. High-resolution probes should be used
wherever practicable. When the procedure is employed on curved plate or on pipework the geometry of the method
is essentially unaltered for measurements in the vertical plane. The length of the defect is that as marked on the
surface, and particularly with thicker sections may not be the actual size.

With undressed welds it is advisable to use some other datum related to the weld centre line. The possibility of error
through accidental displacement of the probe makes it advisable (at least for newcomers) to use a probe guide such
as a magnetised steel strip.

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PART 4 – SI UNITS OF MEASUREMENT

Base Quantities Measurement Symbol


Length metre m
Mass kilogram Kg
Time second sec
Electric Current Ampere A
Thermodynamic temperature kelvin K
Luminous intensity candela cd
Volume Litre l
Mass Tonne t
Energy Electron Volt eV

Derived Units Measurement Symbol


Frequency Hertz Hz
Force Newton N
Pressure and Stress Pascal Pa
Work and Energy Joule J
Wavelength Lambda λ
Power Watt W
Quantity of Electric Coulomb C
V.M.F and Potential Difference Volt V
Electric Capacitance Farad F
Electric Resistance Ohm Ω
Electric conductance Siemens S
Magnetic Flux Weber Wb
Magnetic Flux Density Tesla T
Inductance Henry H
Luminous Flux Lumen lm
Illumination Lux lx

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Prefixes Name Symbol Prefixes Name Symbol


1012 tera T 10-2 centi c
109 giga G 10-3 milli m
106 mega M 10-6 micro µ
103 kilo K 10-9 nano n
102 hector H 10-12 pico p
10 deca da 10-15 femto f
10-1 deci d 10-18 atto a

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PART 5 - ANSWERS
CALCULATIONS OF dB RATIO’S – ANSWERS
Question 1
First calculate ratio 40:10 = 4:1
Formula: dB = 20 * log( h1/h2)
=20*log(4/1)
=20*log(4)
=20*0.60
Difference = 12 dB

Question 2
Formula: dB = 20 * log( h1/h2)
=20*log(5/1)
=20*log(5)
=20*0.69
Difference = 14 dB

Question 3
dB = 20 *log1(h1/h2)
40 = 20 *log1(h1/h2)
(40/20) = log1(h1/h2)
Antilog 2 = (h1/h2) Note: Log(100) = 2
100 = (h1/h2)
Ratio = 100:1

Question 4
dB = 20 *log1(h1/h2)
8 = 20 *log1(h1/h2)
(8/20) = log1(h1/h2)
Antilog 0.4 = (h1/h2) Note: Log(2.5) = 0.4
2.5 = (h1/h2)
Ratio = 2.5:1

Back to Questions

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Part 6 – Sample Questions


Which wave is able to follow a surface around a curve?
A surface wave

Which wave is only able to travel through a thin section of material?


A lamb wave

Longitudinal waves are also called:


Pressure waves or Compressional waves

As frequency increases, sound tends to:


Scatter more from large or course grain structure

Surface or Rayleigh waves travelling along the surface of relative thick solid material, penetrate to a depth of
approximately?
One wavelength

Shear waves do not propagate in:


Gases or Liquids

What would make a good couplant?


Water, grease, oil or Glycerine

In order to have a reasonable chance at detecting a discontinuity, the reflective surface of the discontinuity must
have a dimension that is at least as long as ________ wavelength.
One-half

Sound can propagate as:


Longitudinal, shear or surface waves

Which type of transducer will have better resolution?


A highly damped transducer

In the transverse or shear wave, the particles:


Oscillate at a right angle to the direction of wave propagation

When sound travels through a medium:


Its intensity diminishes with distance, It spreads perpendicular to the primary direction of wave travel, Its speed
remains constant

The terms used to describe a technique’s ability to locate flaws are:


Sensitivity and resolution

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The ability to locate a small discontinuity is called:


Sensitivity

The ability to locate discontinuities that are close together within the material is called:
Resolution

Resolution generally increases:


With an increase in transducer frequency

When a single element transducer is operating in the pulse echo mode, the element:
Cannot start receiving reflected signals until the element has stopped ringing from its transmit function.

The combined effect of scattering and absorption is called:


Attenuation

Acoustic impedance is identified by the letter:


Z

The sound that emanates from a piezoelectric transducer originates:


From most of the active surface

When an ultrasound wave passes through an interface between two materials at an oblique angle, and the materials
have different indices of refraction, it produces:
Reflected and Refracted waves

Artificial flaws can be produced by using:


Side drilled holes, Flat bottom holes or EDM notches

The active element of most acoustic transducers used today is:


Piezoelectric ceramic

When a wave encounters an interface at an oblique angle, what takes place at the interface due to the different
sound velocities of the two materials?
Refraction

The measure of how a signal from a defect compared to other background reflections is called:
Signal to noise ratio

Which of the following could influence the behaviour of a transducer?


Electrical construction, Material Construction or Mechanical Construction

Immersion transducers have:


An acoustical impedance matching layer

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Contact transducers often incorporate a:


Wear plate

What is the material called that is used to improve the transmission of ultrasonic sound energy from the transducer
into the part?
Couplant

Contact transducers are used for direct contact inspections, and are generally:
Hand manipulated

What is used to support the active element and dampen the transducers characteristics?
Backing material with a similar impedance of the transducer

Some transducers are specifically fabricated to be:


Better transmitters, better receivers and used in high temperature applications

A calibration block produced by the International Institute of Welding is called:


An IIW block

Less damped transducers will exhibit:


A narrow frequency range

The area in front of a transducer where there are extensive fluctuations in the sound field is called the:
Near field zone

The sound energy or ultrasonic beam is more uniform in the:


Far field zone

Couplant displaces the__________ and makes it possible to get more sound energy into the test specimen.
Air

What part of the ultrasonic machine generates short, large-amplitude pulses of controlled energy?
Pulser

Beam spread is greater when using:


Low frequency transducers

Which ultrasonic technique require the probe to be held firmly against component?
Contact Inspection

When performing a contact inspection on a curved surface, what pieced of equipment can be used to improve
coupling?
A shaped shoe

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What type of transducer contains two independently operating elements in a single housing?
Dual element transducer

Angle beam transducers and wedges are typically used to introduce a:


Shear wave into the part

Which type of transducer can be used to scan wide areas when high sensitivity is not required?
Paint brush transducer

The total resistance that the cable presents to the electrical current passing through it is called:
Impedance

Which type of screen presentation displays the amount of received ultrasonic energy as a function of time?
A-scan

Which type of screen presentation displays a profile or cross-sectional view of the test specimen?
B-Scan

Which type of screen presentation displays a plan-type view of the location and size of the test specimen features?
C-Scan

In angle-beam testing, when the geometry of the part is relatively uncomplicated and the orientation of a flaw is well
known, the length of a crack can be determined by a technique known as:
Tip diffraction

The act of evaluating and adjusting the precision and accuracy of the measurement equipment is called:
Calibration

What is the correct formula for calculating the wavelength when the wave velocity and frequency are known?

The number of cycles per second is the definition of:


Frequency

Which type of calibration block is used to determine the resolution of angle beam transducers per requirements of
AWS and AASHTO?
An RC block

DACC stands for:


Distance Amplitude Correction Curve

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Mode conversion, occurs when a sound wave encounters an interface between materials of different acoustic
impedance and:
The incident angle is not normal to the interface

The material of the reference standard used to setup for a flaw inspection:
Should be the same material being inspected

What is used to establish a general level of consistency in measurements, and to help interpret and quantify the
information contained in the received signal?
Reference standards

Within a given material, the speed of sound:


Is constant

Describes a shear wave?


A wave in which particles vibrate in a direction perpendicular to the direction of propagation

What is another name for a calibration standard?


Calibration Block

What does the gain control do on the ultrasonic testing equipment?


Controls the amplifier circuit

What relates to the ability of transducer to differentiate between two or more reflectors that are closely spaced in a
lateral plan perpendicular to the axis of a sound beam propagation?
Spatial resolution

True Or False? A transducer's frequency is determined by the thickness of the crystal


True

True Or False? If a crystal produces a higher frequency sound beam it produces a higher sensitivity, resolution and
depth of penetration
False

A planar discontinuity like a surface connecting crack or lack of fusion are best detected by using what?
Shear wave transducer

What is the best transducer to use when first scanning a large object?
Paintbrush transducer

What is used between the transducer face and test object to ensure efficient sound transmissions?
Couplant

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What should you use to ensure a part has been demagnetized?


Gauss meter

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Multi-Choice Questions
1. What is the most common manual ultrasonic testing technique in NDT?
a. Immersion
b. Through Transmission
c. Tandem
d. Pulse Echo

2. In which area of the ultrasonic sound beam do the edges of the wave diverge?
a. The Fresnel Zone
b. The Fraunhoffer Zone
c. Inside the damping material
d. In the Dead Zone

3. What is the purpose of a couplant?


a. To enable sound energy to pass from the probe to the test piece
b. To protect the test piece
c. To lubricate the test piece
d. All the above

4. At an interface, when a compression wave in the second medium reaches a refracted angle of 90˚, the incident
angle in the first medium is described as…
a. The reflected angle
b. The first critical angle
c. The second critical angle
d. The probe angle

5. Which circuit in an ultrasonic flaw detector controls the timing of the pulses and the creation of the timebase?
a. The pulse generator
b. The sweep circuit
c. The receiver amplifier
d. The suppression or reject circuit

6. Which of the following reference reflectors does the DGS or AVG system usually use?
a. Vee notch
b. Square notch
c. Transverse hole
d. Flat bottom hole

7. Which of the following are acceptable sizing methods for use with angle probes?
a. 6 dB drop
b. 20 dB drop
c. Maximum Amplitude
d. All of the above

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8. Which component of the ultrasonic test equipment is responsible for the production of the ultrasonic vibrations?
a. The Probe
b. The Flaw detector
c. The OPT
d. The calibration block

9. What effect on beam spread does a change of probe, to one with the same diameter but a lower frequency, have?
a. The half angle increases
b. The half angle decreases
c. a and b
d. Probe frequency does not affect the beam spread

10. Which of the following statements best describes attenuation?


a. The resistance of a material to the passage of ultrasound
b. The difference in sound intensity of two signals on the CRT
c. The increase or decrease in amplifier gain on the flaw detector
d. The loss of intensity of sound as it passes through a material

11. At an interface, when a shear wave in the second medium reaches a refracted angle of 90˚, the incident angle in
the first medium is described as…
a. The reflected angle
b. The first critical angle
c. The second critical angle
d. The probe angle

12. Which circuit in an ultrasonic flaw detector controls the voltage or charge across the X-plates in a CRT?
a. The pulse generator
b. The sweep circuit
c. The receiver amplifier
d. The suppression or reject circuit

13. When scanning a surface with 0˚ probe, the distance between the consecutive scans is known as the...?
a. Gap
b. Pitch
c. Overlap
d. All the above

14. Which of the following is the preferred sizing method used for assessing cracks?
a. 6 dB Drop
b. 20 dB Drop
c. Maximum Amplitude
d. All the above

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15. Which type of display does an analogue flaw detector use?


a. LCD
b. CRT
c. VDU
d. Plasma

16. What effect on beam spread does a change of probe, to one with the same frequency but larger diameter, have?
a. The half angle increases
b. The half angle decreases
c. a and b
d. Probe diameter does not affect beam spread

17. Which of the following materials would have the highest attenuation?
a. A fine grained material
b. A coarse grained material
c. A medium grained material
d. All of the above would have the same attenuation

18. At an interface, when the interface angle in the first medium is between 0˚ and the first critical angle, the
refracted sound in the second medium will be…
a. A compression wave
b. Shear waves
c. Surface waves
d. a and b

19. The control on the flaw detector which controls the voltage or charge on the Y-plates is called the….
a. Range control
b. Delay control
c. Gain or attenuator control
d. Focus control

20. Which of the following sizing methods may be used with 0˚ probe?
a. 6 dB drop
b. Equalisation
c. Maximum amplitude
d. All of the above

21. Which of the following is a sizing methods used for assessing porosity?
a. 6 dB drop
b. Equalisation
c. Maximum amplitude
d. All of the above

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22. Which of the following would accurately describe sound?


a. Audible mechanical vibrations
b. Ultrasonic mechanical vibrations
c. Infrasonic mechanical vibrations
d. All of the above

23. What are ‘k’ factors?


a. Constants used in calculating beam spread
b. Variables used in calculating beam spread
c. Constants used in the near zone formula
d. Variables used to calculate near zone length

24. What effect does beam spread have on sound attenuation?


a. More beam spread, more attenuation
b. Less beam spread, less attenuation
c. Less beam spread, more attenuation
d. a and b

25. At an interface, when the incident angle in the first medium is between the first critical angle and the second
critical angle, the refracted sound in the second medium will be….
a. Compression waves
b. Shear waves
c. Surface waves
d. a and b

26. What is the term used to describe an amplifier which accepts a wide array of signal frequencies and is good for
defect interpretation but less sensitive at defect detection?
a. Receiver amplifier
b. Broad band amplifier
c. Narrow band amplifier
d. Signal amplifier

27. Which of the following sizing methods does not work accurately on defects which are smaller than the ultrasonic
beam?
a. 6 dB drop
b. Maximum amplitude
c. DGS
d. AVG

28. Which of the following is a sizing method used for assessing length of a defect?
a. 6 dB drop
b. 20 dB drop
c. Maximum amplitude
d. All of the above

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29. Which two properties of a material, when combined, have the most measurable effect on the sound wave
velocity?
a. Grain size and surface condition
b. Density and elasticity
c. Acoustic impedance and resonant frequency
d. All of the above

30. Which law do we use to compare sizes of small reflectors, located in the Fraunhoffer zone, using their signal
amplitudes?
a. Snell’s law
b. The inverse Law
c. The inverse square Law
d. b and c

31. What unit is used to quantify difference in sound intensities?


a. Hz
b. mm
c. dB
d. m/s

32. At an interface, when the incident angle in the first medium has reached the second critical angle, the refracted
sound in the second medium will be…
a. All reflected
b. Compression and shear waves
c. Shear waves
d. Surface waves

33. Which of the following calibration blocks would you use to check the dead zone on a single crystal 0˚ probe?
a. Block No. 1
b. Block No. 2
c. A5
d. b or c

34. Which of the following calibration blocks may be used to calibrate the CRT to a range of 0-100mm, when using
angle probes?
a. V1, A2, IIW or Block No. 1
b. V2, A4 or Block No. 2
c. A5 or IOW Block
d. a or b

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35. Which scanning system shows time or distance on the horizontal axis and amplitude on the vertical axis of the
display?
a. A-Scan
b. B-Scan
c. C-Scan
d. All of the above

36. The wavelength of ultrasound in a material may be calculated by:


a. Dividing sound frequency by material velocity
b. Multiplying sound frequency by material velocity
c. Dividing material velocity by sound frequency
d. Multiplying material velocity by sound frequency

37. What is the difference in signal heights of two large reflectors in the far zone of the ultrasonic beam when one is
twice the beam path of the other? (Assume large to be larger than the width of the ultrasonic beam)
a. 2dB
b. 4dB
c. 6dB
d. 12dB

38. What is the difference in dBs, between a signal at 100% screen height and one at 25% screen height on the CRT?
a. 20dB
b. 14dB
c. 12dB
d. 6dB

39. At an interface, when the angle in the first medium has exceeded the second critical angle, the refracted sound
in the second medium will be..
a. All reflected
b. Compression and shear waves
c. Shear waves
d. Surface waves

40. Which calibration block could you use to check probe angles?
a. A2
b. A5
c. V2
d. Any of the above

41. Which of the following methods could be used to set test sensitivity when scanning with angle probes?
a. Grass
b. Reference reflectors
c. DAC Curves
d. Any of the above

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42. Which scanning system shows a cross-sectional view of a test piece on the display?
a. A-Scan
b. B-Scan
c. C-Scan
d. All of the above

43. Calculate the wavelength of sound waves in steel when using a 5MHz compression probe (Steel velocity is 5960)
a. 0.84mm
b. 0.00084mm
c. 1.192m
d. 1.192mm

44. What is the relationship between damping, pulse length & resolution?
a. Damping controls pulse length
b. Pulse length controls resolution
c. Damping controls resolution
d. All of the above

45. What would be the ratio of signal heights of two signals with a difference of 14dB between then?
a. 14:1
b. 20:1
c. 5:1
d. 2:1

46. What is the first critical angle for a perspex to steel interface?
a. 27.4˚
b. 35 ˚
c. 57.7 ˚
d. 80 ˚

47. What is the thickness of the perspex insert in the IOW block?
a. 23mm
b. 25mm
c. 50mm
d. None of the above

48. How could you increase the sensitivity of an angle probe inspection?
a. Use a smaller reference reflector to plot the DAC Curve
b. Lower the gain setting
c. Add reject or suppression
d. Any of the above

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49. Which scanning system shows a plan view of a test piece, on a printout rather than a display?
a. A-Scan
b. B-Scan
c. C-Scan
d. All of the above

50. A material velocity of 5000m/s and a probe frequency of 2.5MHz will produce a wavelength of 2mm. What
happens when we change the probe for a 5MHz one?
a. The velocity remains the same and the wavelength halves
b. The velocity remains the same and the wavelength doubles
c. The velocity halves and the wavelength remains the same
d. The velocity doubles and the wavelength remains the same

51. What is PRF?


a. Pulse rate frequency
b. Probe rate frequency
c. Probe repetition frequency
d. Pulse repetition frequency

52. The piezo electric effect can perform which one of the following?
a. Convert electrical energy into mechanical energy
b. Convert electrical energy into signals
c. Convert sound to mechanical energy
d. All of the above

53. What is the second critical angle for a perspex to steel interface?
a. 27.4˚
b. 35 ˚
c. 57.7 ˚
d. 80 ˚

54. What is the thickness of the V2 calibration block?


a. 12.5mm
b. 20mm
c. 25mm
d. Any of the above

55. Which scanning pattern requires an angle probe to be manipulated through a small arc whilst maintaining the
sound focused on a fixed reflector?
a. Orbital
b. Swivel
c. Lateral
d. Depth

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56. What are the advantages of A-Scan system


a. Portability and less set-up time
b. High persistence screen allows a permanent record to be made
c. Printout provides an instant permanent record
d. More skill required to set-up

57. Which of the following best describes what we term ‘infrasound’?


a. Sound waves with a frequency above 20KHz
b. Sound waves with a frequency below 16KHz
c. Sound waves with a frequency above 20Hz
d. Sound waves with a frequency below 16Hz

58. What happens if an excessive PRF is set on the flaw detector?


a. The equipment overheats
b. Ghost echoes appear on the CRT
c. The piezo electric effect is lost
d. Grass appears on the CRT

59. Crystals used in ultrasonic testing, which produce the correct mode of vibration, are..
a. X Cut
b. Y Cut
c. Square
d. Round

60. What is the practical range of shear wave probe angles for use on steel?
a. 29˚ to 56˚
b. 35˚ to 80˚
c. 29˚ to 80˚
d. 35˚ to 56˚

61. What is an alternative name for the A4 calibration block?


a. Dutch block
b. Sultzer block
c. Kidney block
d. Road block

62. Which scanning pattern requires an angle probe to be moved sideways along a fixed line?
a. Orbital
b. Swivel
c. Lateral
d. Depth

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63. What are the advantages of B-Scan systems?


a. Portability and less set-up time
b. High persistence screen allows a permanent record to be made
c. Printout provides an instant permanent record
d. More skill required to set-up

64. What range of sound wave frequencies does ultrasound exist in?
a. All above 20KHz
b. Above 20Hz and below 16KHz
c. Above 16Hz and below 20KHz
d. All below 16Hz

65. What is meant by transit time?


a. The time taken, for a pulse of energy, from leaving the probe to travel though a material and return
b. The time between pulses of energy leaving the probe
c. The time between pulses of energy returning to probe and the signal appearing on the CRT
d. The time taken for the piezo electric conversion of mechanical vibrations to electrical signals

66. Which of the following formulae determines the fundamental frequency of a piezo electric crystal?
a. Ff = t  2V
b. F = λx V
c. Ff = V  2t
d. F = t x V

67. A probe which transmits sound into a material at 90˚ to the test surface is known as a…
a. 90˚
b. Surface wave probe
c. Normal probe
d. a and b

68. What is the tolerance on dimensions of calibration blocks?


a. ± 1mm
b. ± 0.1mm
c. ± 0.2mm
d. There is no tolerance on calibration block dimensions

69. Which scanning pattern requires an angle probe to be rotated on the spot?
a. Orbital
b. Swivel
c. Lateral
d. Depth

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70. What are the advantages of a C-Scan system?


a. Portability and less set-up time
b. High persistence screen allows a permanent record to be made
c. Printout provides an instant permanent record
d. More skill required to set-up

71. What are the range of frequencies of sound that the human ear can detect?
a. 16KHz to 20KHz
b. 16Hz to 20Hz
c. 16Hz to 20KHz
d. 16KHz to 20Hz

72. What is the clock interval?


a. The time taken, for a pulse of energy, from leaving the probe to travel though a material and return
b. The time between pulses of energy leaving the probe
c. The time between pulses of energy returning to probe and the signal appearing on the CRT
d. The time taken for the piezo electric conversion of mechanical vibrations to electrical signals

73. Which piezo electric crystal is the best transmitter of ultrasound?


a. Quartz
b. Lithium Sulphate
c. Lead Zirconate Titanate
d. Barium Titanate

74. Which probe would not have a dead zone?


a. A compression probe
b. A combined double probe
c. An angle probe
d. A soft nose probe

75. What is the tolerance on the amplifier accuracy check described in BS EN 12668: Part 3: 2000: clause 3.2.2.4?
a. ± 20 dB
b. ± 6 dB
c. ± 2 dB
d. ± 1 dB

76. Which scanning pattern requires that an angle probe is moved back and forth in the direction of the beam and
perpendicular to the major axis of a defect?
a. Orbital
b. Swivel
c. Lateral
d. Depth

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77. What are the disadvantages of an A-Scan system?


a. Less portability and more set-up time
b. Low persistence screen allows a permanent record to be made
c. No indication of defect depth or orientation
d. More skill required to interpret signal

78. In which probe would you find an acoustic barrier?


a. A compression probe
b. A combined double probe
c. An angle probe
d. A soft nose probe

79. What is the tolerance on the timebase linearity of a flaw detector, according to BS EN 12668: Part 3: 2000?
a. ± 1% of the whole timebase
b. ± 1% of each large division on the timebase
c. ± 2% of the whole timebase
d. ± 2% of each large division on the timebase

80. What does the horizontal base line or x-axis on the flaw detector display represent?
a. Time taken for the sound wave to travel through the material
b. The distance travelled by the sound wave
c. The amplitude of sound energy returning to the probe
d. a and b

81. What is an alternative term used to describe longitudinal waves?


a. Compression waves
b. Shear waves
c. Surface waves
d. Plate waves

82. Which piezo electric crystal is the best receiver of ultrasound?


a. Quartz
b. Lithium Sulphate
c. Lead Zirconate Titanate
d. Barium Titanate

83. Which of the following are not scanning patterns?


a. Root scan
b. Transverse scan
c. Depth scan
d. a and b

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84. What are the disadvantages of a C-Scan system?


a. Less portability and more set-up time
b. Low persistence screen allows a permanent record to be made
c. No indication of defect depth or orientation
d. More skill required to interpret signal

85. Which probe would be best for use on a rough surface?


a. A compression probe
b. A combined double probe
c. An angle probe
d. A soft nose probe

86. Which of the following is true?


a. The higher the signal noise ratio the less noise on the screen
b. The lower the signal noise ration the less noise on the screen
c. The signal noise ratio does not affect the clarity of the screen
d. The signal noise ratio is the same on all flaw detectors

87. What is another name for the Dead Zone?


a. Fresnel one
b. Fraunhoffer Zone
c. Damping
d. Ringing Time

88. What is an alternative name used to describe transversal waves?


a. Compression wave
b. Shear wave
c. Surface wave
d. Plate wave

89. What are the advantages and limitations of modern ceramic crystal materials?
a. Good wear resistance but poor piezo electric properties
b. Good receivers of ultrasound but soluble in water
c. Good generators of ultrasound but low mechanical strength
d. All of the above

90. What is the formula for calculating the depth of a defect when the angle of probe (β) and sound beam path
length (bp) are known?
a. bp  Cos β
b. bp x Cos β
c. bp x Sin β
d. bp  Sin β

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91. What term is used to describe a system that sends out pulses of ultrasound then listens out for returning
echoes?
a. Pulse echo
b. Through Transmission
c. Tandem
d. Immersion

92. Which transducer uses a low frequency magnetic field to generate ultrasonic vibrations?
a. Soft nosed probe
b. Wheel type probe
c. Delay line probe
d. Magnetostrictive coil

93. What is the thickness of the A2 calibration block?


a. 12.5mm
b. 20mm
c. 25mm
d. 50mm

94. What is another name for the Near Zone?


a. Fresnel Zone
b. Fraunhoffer Zone
c. Damping
d. Ringing time

95. What is an alternative term used to describe Rayleigh waves?


a. Compression waves
b. Shear waves
c. Surface waves
d. Plate waves

96. What is the law of reflection?


a. The angle of incidence = the angle of reflection
b. The angle of refraction = the angle of reflection
c. The angle of incidence = the angle of refraction
d. Sin α  Sin β = V1  V2

97. What is the ratio of beam path to depth with a 60˚ probe?
a. 1.414 : 1
b. 2 : 1
c. 2.9 : 1
d. None of the above

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98. Which of the following techniques uses two probes on opposite sides of the test piece?
a. Pulse echo
b. Through transmission
c. Tandem
d. Immersion

99. What do we mean by the “Bandwidth” of a probe?


a. The probe’s diameter
b. The centre operating frequency of the probe
c. The range of frequencies of sound the probe transmits
d. The range of voltages that the probe will operate at

100. If the smallest range an analogue A-Scan flaw detector can be calibrated to is 0 – 10mm then what is the best
accuracy that can be read on the CRT?
a. 0.5mm
b. 0.4mm
c. 0.2mm
d. 0.1mm

101. What is another name for the Far Zone?


a. The Fresnel zone
b. The Fraunhoffer zone
c. Damping
d. Ringing time

102. What is an alternative term used to describe Lamb waves?


a. Compression waves
b. Shear waves
c. Surface waves
d. Plate waves

103. What is Snell’s Law?


a. The angle of incidence = the angle of reflection
b. The angle of refraction = the angle of reflection
c. The angle of incidence = the angle of refraction
d. Sin α  Sin β = V1  V2

104. What is the ratio of beam path to depth with a 45˚ probe?
a. 1.414 : 1
b. 2 : 1
c. 2.9 : 1
d. None of the above

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105. Which of the following techniques uses two probes, both on same surface of the test piece?
a. Pulse echo
b. Through transmission
c. Tandem
d. Immersion

106. What are the advantages of the pulse echo technique?


a. Defects perpendicular to the surface may be located easily
b. Probe frequencies up to 25MHz may be used
c. Thicker or highly attenuative materials may be tested as the sound only has to travel one way through the
material
d. Defects can be located with great accuracy and access to only one surface is required

107. Which waves can propagate in any medium?


a. Compression waves
b. Shear waves
c. Surface waves
d. Plate waves

108. When thickness checking, using the multiple back wall echo method, the 8th repeat signal from the test piece is
on 60mm on the graticule. The CRT is calibrated 0 to 100mm range, what is the actual thickness of the test piece?
a. 60mm
b. 48mm
c. 7.5mm
d. 6.0mm

109. What is the ratio of beam path to depth with a 70˚ probe?
a. 1.414 : 1
b. 2 : 1
c. 2.9 : 1
d. None of the above

110. How would you determine the angle of beam produced in a different material, by a probe that produces a 45˚
angle in steel?
a. Use a block of the test material containing reference reflectors at known depths, to plot the beam angle
b. Calculate the angle using Snell’s Law
c. a and b would both be used together
d. either a or b could be used

111. What effect does probe frequency have on crystal ringing time?
a. Higher frequency = shorter ring time
b. Higher frequency = longer ring time
c. a and b

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d. Frequency does not affect ringing time

112. Which probe would have the best resolving power?


a. 10mm diameter, 0˚, single crystal, 5MHz Broad Band probe
b. 10mm diameter, 45˚, single crystal, 5MHz Broad Band probe
c. 10mm diameter, 0˚, single crystal, 2.5MHz Narrow Band probe
d. 10mm diameter, 45˚, single crystal, 2.5MHz Narrow Band probe

113. What are the advantages of the through transmission technique?


a. Defects perpendicular to the surface may be located easily
b. Probe frequencies up to 25MHz may be used
c. Thicker or highly attenuative materials may be tested as the sound only has to travel one way through the
material
d. Defects can be located with great accuracy and access to only one surface is required

114. What are boundary waves?


a. Surface waves
b. Plate waves
c. Love waves
d. All of the above

115. A thickness reading of 25mm is obtained on a copper plate, which has an acoustic velocity of 4768 m/s. The
calibration block used to calibrate the CRT is of steel, acoustical velocity 5960 m/s. What is the actual thickness of
the copper plate?
a. 25mm
b. 20mm
c. 31.25mm
d. 16mm

116. What is the ratio of surface distance to depth with a 70˚ probe?
a. 1 : 1
b. 1.73 : 1
c. 2.75 : 1
d. None of the above

117. A change in wave form, together with a change in sound velocity, due to reflection or refraction is called…
a. A spurious indication
b. A mode change
c. Pulse repetition frequency
d. Diffraction

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118. In which zone of the ultrasonic beam do the signal amplitudes become unreliable for comparing defect sizes?
a. Far zone
b. Fraunhoffer zone
c. Dead zone
d. Near zone

119. Which probe would have the best penetrating power?


a. 10mm diameter, 0˚, single crystal, 5MHz Broad Band probe
b. 10mm diameter, 45˚, single crystal, 5MHz Broad Band probe
c. 10mm diameter, 0˚, single crystal, 2.5MHz Narrow Band probe
d. 10mm diameter, 45˚, single crystal, 2.5MHz Narrow Band probe

120. What are the advantages of the tandem technique?


a. Defects perpendicular to the surface may be located easily
b. Probe frequencies up to 25MHz may be used
c. Thicker or highly attenuative materials may be tested as the sound only has to travel one way through the
material
d. Defects can be located with great accuracy and access to only one surface is required

121. What is acoustic impedance a product of?


a. Material density and velocity of sound through it
b. Sound velocity through material and its elasticity
c. Material density and elasticity
d. Material elasticity and specific gravity

122. Which of the following methods of setting test sensitivity can only be used with 0˚ probes?
a. Back wall echo
b. Grass level
c. Using reference reflectors (e.g. transverse holes)
d. DAC Curves

123. What is the ratio of surface distance to depth with a 45˚ probe?
a. 1 : 1
b. 1.73 : 1
c. 2.75 : 1
d. None of the above

124. A series of high and low intensity waves radiating out from the tips of a narrow reflector as sound passes it, is
called…
a. A spurious indication
b. A mode change
c. Refraction
d. Diffraction

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125. What is the effect on sound beam near zone length, in the same material, when changing to a probe with the
same diameter bit a lower frequency?
a. The length increases
b. The length decreases
c. a and b
d. Probe frequency has no effect on near zone length

126. Which probe would have the least beam spread?


a. 10mm diameter, 0˚, single crystal, 5MHz Broad Band probe
b. 10mm diameter, 45˚, single crystal, 5MHz Broad Band probe
c. 10mm diameter, 0˚, single crystal, 2.5MHz Narrow Band probe
d. 10mm diameter, 45˚, single crystal, 2.5MHz Narrow Band probe

127. A change in beam angle or direction in the vertical plane at an interface, due to differences in material velocity,
is called?
a. A spurious indication
b. A mode change
c. Refraction
d. Diffraction

128. An unwanted signal on the flaw detector CRT is called…


a. A spurious indication
b. A mode change
c. Refraction
d. Diffraction

129. What is the effect on sound beam near zone length, in the same material, when changing to a probe with the
frequency but with a larger diameter?
a. The length increases
b. The length decreases
c. a and b
d. Probe diameter has no effect on near zone length

130. Which of the following combinations of characteristics would be used to asses, by calculation, the length of the
dead zone?
a. Crystal diameter, probe frequency and sound velocity
b. K factor, sound wavelength and crystal diameter
c. Crystal thickness and fundamental frequency
d. None of the above

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131. Which probe would have the shortest near zone?


a. 10mm diameter, 0˚, single crystal, 5 MHz broad band probe
b. 10mm diameter, 45˚, single crystal, 5 MHz broad band probe
c. 10mm diameter, 0˚, single crystal, 2.5 MHz narrow band probe
d. 10mm diameter, 45˚, single crystal, 2.5 MHz narrow band probe

132. What is the main advantage of a combined double probe over a single crystal probe of the same diameter?
a. Better near surface resolution
b. Better long range penetration
c. Lower in cost
d. Shorter near zone

133. As the acoustic impedance ratio of two materials at an interface increases, what effect does this have on the
amount of sound energy transmitted across the interface?
a. More energy is transmitted
b. Less energy is transmitted
c. The amount of energy transmitted remains the same
d. No energy will be transmitted across an interface where acoustic impedances differ

134. It is calculated that when sound is travelling from water to steel 87% of the energy is reflected at the interface.
How much energy is reflected when the sound is travelling from steel into water?
a. 23%
b. 13%
c. 3%
d. 87%

135. What are the disadvantages of the pulse echo technique?


a. Only defects at a pre-determined depth may be located
b. The sound has to travel through the material both ways causing more attenuation
c. There is no indication of defect depth
d. Access to both sides of the test piece is required

136. What are the disadvantages of the through transmission technique?

a. Access to both sides of the test piece is required


b. No indication of defect depth
c. Loss of a couplant could be mistaken for a defect
d. All of the above

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137. When constructing a DAC curve using transverse drilled holes, which size hole would give the best sensitivity for
the job in hand?

a. 5mm
b. 3mm
c. 1.5mm
d. The size stated in the test instructions

138. Which of the following calibration blocks could be used to construct a DAC curve?

a. V1, A2, I.I.W or No. 1 Block


b. V2, A4 or No. 2 Block
c. A5 or I.O.W Block
d. None of the above

139. What is the ratio of surface distance to depth with a 60˚ probe?

a. 1:1
b. 1.73 : 1
c. 2.75 : 1
d. None of the above

140. Which formula is used to calculate the irradiation factor, when scanning the circumference of a pipe?

a. Sinβ = ID  OD
b. Sinβ = OD  ID
c. Cosβ = ID  OD
d. Cosβ = OD  ID

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Multi-Choice Answers
1 D 31 C 61 C 91 A 121 A
2 B 32 D 62 C 92 D 122 A
3 A 33 A 63 B 93 C 123 A
4 B 34 D 64 A 94 A 124 D
5 A 35 A 65 A 95 C 125 B
6 D 36 C 66 C 96 A 126 B
7 D 37 C 67 C 97 B 127 C
8 A 38 C 68 B 98 B 128 A
9 A 39 A 69 B 99 C 129 A
10 B 40 D 70 C 100 D 130 D
11 C 41 D 71 C 101 B 131 C
12 B 42 B 72 B 102 D 132 A
13 B 43 D 73 D 103 D 133 B
14 C 44 D 74 B 104 A 134 D
15 B 45 C 75 D 105 C 135 B
16 B 46 A 76 D 106 D 136 D
17 D 47 D 77 D 107 A 137 D
18 D 48 A 78 B 108 C 138 C
19 C 49 C 79 C 109 C 139 B
20 D 50 A 80 D 110 D 140 A
21 C 51 D 81 A 111 A 141
22 D 52 A 82 B 112 B 142
23 A 53 C 83 D 113 C 143
24 B 54 D 84 C 114 D 144
25 B 55 A 85 D 115 B 145
26 B 56 A 86 A 116 C 146
27 A 57 D 87 D 117 B 147
28 D 58 B 88 B 118 D 148
29 B 59 A 89 C 119 C 149
30 C 60 B 90 B 120 A 150

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