Non-Destructive Inspection: Pulse-Echo Vs Thru-Transmission Ultrasound

Manufacturers are required to perform extensive material testing and product inspection to ensure that they deliver the quality required by both users and government regulators. In the past, manufacturers had to resort to destructive testing methods or manual non-destructive testing to verify a product’s quality. Modern, automated non-destructive inspection methods, however, allow manufacturers to inspect every product that comes off the line without compromising its integrity.

Another major advantage of automated non-destructive testing is that the tests are easily repeatable. An issue can be addressed and the component can be tested again. Duplicate parts can receive the exact same test to ensure consistency and compatibility. Automated non-destructive testing also requires very little labor to perform when compared to traditional testing methods. Within industries that require certified and regulated inspectors, these cost savings can be significant.

Pulse-Echo Ultrasonic Inspection

Pulse echo ultrasonic inspection is especially useful when trying to find defects in materials. This trusted ultrasound technique is incredibly accurate. Pulse echo (PE) uses a single device to send and receive sound waves to detect cracks, fissures, and other defects.

When an ultrasonic pulse meets a crack, fissure, or imperfection in a material, part of the pulse’s wave is reflected back from the flawed surface. The reflected wave is transformed into an electrical signal by a transducer and is displayed on the screen. This method is one of the most commonly used non-destructive inspection techniques in transportation and aerospace manufacturing. It is also used to inspect structural beams, welds, pipelines, and more.

Thru-Transmission Ultrasonic Inspection

Another extremely reliable non-destructive inspection method is Thru-Transmission Ultrasonic (TTU) inspection. This method uses a pair of ultrasonic probes instead of a single sensor. One probe sends the sound waves and another probe receives the waves on an opposite surface. TTU is best used when testing multi-layer materials, especially those with a honeycomb or foam core.

Perhaps you’re wondering, “Why not use TTU all the time?” Well, part of the reason is that often only one surface is accessible for testing. PE is also capable of measuring the depth of the defect from the material’s surface.  TTU is unable to ascertain depth.

Find out what non-destructive inspection solutions offered by Genesis Systems can help you perform accurate, reliable, and flexible tests so you can send out quality parts every time.

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