Earlier this year Mueller added phased array to its nondestructive testing operations as an alternative to older X-Ray testing. The results have been impressive.
Phased array is an advanced method of ultrasonic testing that has applications in medical imaging and industrial nondestructive testing. Common applications are to non-invasively examine the heart or to find flaws in manufactured materials, especially welds. Single-element (non-phased array) probes known technically as monolithic probes, emit a beam in a fixed direction. To test or interrogate a large volume of material, a conventional probe must be physically scanned (moved or turned) to sweep the beam through the area of interest. In contrast, the beam from a phased array probe can be moved electronically, without moving the probe, and can be swept through a wide volume of material at high speed. The beam is controllable because a phased array probe is made up of multiple small elements, each of which can be pulsed individually at a computer calculated timing.
The term phased refers to the timing, and the term array refers to the multiple elements. Phased array ultrasonic testing is based on principles of wave physics, and has seen incredible development and acceptance over the last decade. Because of its proven reliability and other advantages it has become the standard for the nuclear energy industry.
In addition to being far safer and environmentally responsible than X-Ray testing, we have found that it is more sensitive and precise, providing superior flaw detection and sizing. Phased array has also proven to be faster and more versatile for vessels of all shapes and dimensions. And it is fully ASME compliant.
The accompanying photo shows a sample readout of a phased array scan conducted by TUV Rheinland, our NDT inspection provider. The visual detail and data are extensive.
If you're not already specifying phased array as the preferred NDT method for your manufactured equipment, we encourage you to investigate its advantages.