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Session: 2015-16
Project on:
Non- Destructive Testing
Ultrasonic Testing
(By Ultrasonic Flaw Detector)
Organization Name:
Indian Railways
Central Govt.
Submitted By:
Amit Kumar
B.Tech ME IIIrdyr.

I would like to express my special thanks of gratitude to my
teacher Mr. Iqbal Sir as well as our Head of Department Mr.
Puneet Mangla who gave me the golden opportunity to do this
wonderful project on the topic Non Destructive Testing of
Materials (Ultrasonic Testing), which also helped me in doing
a lot of Research and i came to know about so many new
things I am really thankful to them.
Secondly i would also like to thank the Organization Indian
Railways, helped me a lot in finalizing this project within the
limited time frame.

Non-destructive testing or Non-destructive testing
(NDT) is a wide group of analysis techniques used in
science and industry to evaluate the properties of a
material, component or system without causing damage.
Types of Non-destructive testing:
1. Radiography
2. Magnetic particle crack detection
3. Dye penetrant testing
4. Ultrasonic flaw detection
5. Eddy current and electromagnetic testing


Basics. Radiographic testing can detect internal defects in ferrous and

nonferrous metals. X-rays, generated electrically, and gamma rays
emitted from radioactive isotopes penetrate radiation that is absorbed by
the material they pass through. The greater the material thickness, the
greater the ray absorption. These rays help form a latent image that can
be developed and fixed in a similar way to normal photographic film.

Tools. Various radiographic and photographic accessories are necessary,

including radiation monitors, film markers, image quality indicators,
and darkroom equipment. Radiographic film and processing chemicals
also are required.
Advantages. In radiographic testing, information is presented
pictorially. A permanent record is provided, which can be viewed at a
time and place distant from the test. This type of testing is useful for
thin sections and is suitable for any material. Sensitivity is declared on
each film.
Disadvantages. Radiography is not suitable for several types of testing
situations. For example, radiography is inappropriate for surface defects
and for automation, unless the system incorporates fluoroscopy with an
image intensifier or other electronic aids. Radiography generally can't
cope with thick sections, and the testing itself can pose a possible health
hazard. Film processing and viewing facilities are necessary, as is an
exposure compound. With this method, the beam needs to be directed
accurately for 2-D defects. Also, radiographic testing does not indicate
the depth of a defect below the surface.

Magnetic Particle Inspection:

Basics. Magnetic particle inspection can detect surface and near-surface

discontinuities in magnetic material, mainly ferrite steel and iron. The
principle is to generate magnetic flux in the article to be examined, with
the flux lines running along the surface at right angles to the suspected

defect. Where the flux lines approach a discontinuity, they will stray out
into the air at the mouth of the crack. The crack edge becomes magnetic
attractive poles, north and south. These have the power to attract finely
divided particles of magnetic material, such as iron fillings. Usually
these particles are an iron oxide 20 to 30 microns in size. They are
suspended in a liquid that provides mobility for them on the surface of
the test piece, assisting their migration to the crack edges. However, in
some instances they can be applied in a dry powder form.
Tools. Basically, magnetic crack detection equipment takes two forms.
First, for test pieces that are part of a large structure, or for pipes and
heavy castings, for example, that can't be moved easily, the equipment
takes the form of just a power pack to generate a high current. For
factory applications on smaller, more manageable test pieces, benchtype equipment with a power pack, an indicating ink system that
recirculates the fluid, and facilities to grip the workpiece and apply the
current flow or magnetic flux flow in a methodical, controlled manner
generally is preferred.
Advantages. Magnetic particle inspection generally is simple to operate
and apply. This testing is quantitative, and it can be automated, apart
from viewing. However, modern developments in automatic defect
recognition can be used in parts with simple geometries, such as billets
and bars. In this case, a special camera captures the defect indication
image and processes it for further display and action.
Disadvantages. This type of non-destructive testing is restricted to
ferromagnetic materials, as well as to surface or near-surface flaws.
Magnetic particle inspection is not fail-safe; lack of indication can mean
that no defects exist, or that the process wasn't carried out properly

Dye Penetrant Testing:

Basics. Dye penetrant testing is used frequently to detect surfacebreaking flaws in non-ferrousmagnetic materials. The part to be tested
must be cleaned chemically, usually by vapour phase, to remove all
traces of foreign material, grease, dirt, and other contaminants from the
surface, generally, but also from within the cracks. Next, the penetrant,
which is a fine, thin oil usually dyed bright red or ultraviolet
fluorescent, is applied and allowed to remain in contact with the surface
for about 15 minutes. Capillary action draws the penetrant into the crack
during this period. The surplus penetrant on the surface then is removed
completely, and a thin coating of powdered chalk is applied. After the
appropriate development time, the chalk draws the dye out of the crack
to form a visual indication, magnified in width, in contrast to the
Tools. Various substances can be used and may be applied in many
ways, from simple application with aerosol spray cans to more
sophisticated means, such as dipping in large tanks on an automatic
basis. More sophisticated methods require tanks, spraying, and drying
Advantages. A quantitative analysis, dye penetrant testing is simple to
do and is a good way to detect surface-breaking cracks in nonferrous

metals. It's suitable for automatic testing, but with the same limitations
that apply to automatic defect recognition in magnetic particle
Disadvantages. Dye penetrant testing is restricted to surface-breaking
defects only. It is less sensitive than some other methods and uses a
considerable amount of consumables.

Eddy Current Testing:

Basics. The eddy current technique can detect surface or subsurface

flaws and measure conductivity and coating thickness. This testing is
sensitive to a test piece's material conductivity, permeability, and
dimensions. For surface testing for cracks in single or complex-shaped
components, coils with a single ferrite-cored winding normally are used.
The probe is placed on the component and "balanced" by use of the
electronic unit controls. As the probe is scanned across the surface of
the component, cracks are detected.
Tools. Most eddy current electronics have a phase display that allows
the operator to identify defect conditions. Some units can inspect a
product simultaneously at two or more different test frequencies. These
units allow specific, unwanted effects to be electronically cancelled to

give improved defect detection. Most automated systems are for

components with simple geometries.
Advantages. Suitable for automation, eddy current testing can
determine a range of conditions of the conducting material, such as
defects, composition, hardness, conductivity, and permeability.
Information can be provided in simple terms, often go or no-go. Phase
display electronic units can be used to obtain greater product
information. Compact, portable testing units are available, and this type
of testing doesn't require consumables, except for probes, which
sometimes can be repaired. This technique is flexible because of the
many probes and test frequencies that can be used for different
Disadvantages. Many parameters can affect the eddy current responses.
This means that the signal from a desired material characteristic (for
example, a crack) may be masked by an unwanted parameter, such as
hardness change. Careful probe and electronics selection is necessary in
some applications. Also, tests generally are restricted to surfacebreaking conditions and slightly subsurface flaws.

Ultrasonic Flaw Detection:

Flaw detection is the most commonly used technique among all the
applications of industrial ultrasonic testing. Generally, sound waves of
high frequency are reflected from flaws and generate clear echo
Portable instruments record and display these echo patterns. Ultrasonic
testing is a safe testing method that is widely used in various service
industries and production process, particularly in applications where
welds and structural metals are used. The paper gives an overview of the
theory, practice and application of ultrasonic flaw detection.

Fundamental Theory:
Sound waves are mechanical vibrations that pass through a medium
such as liquid, solid or gas. These waves pass through a medium at a
particular velocity in an expected direction. When these waves bump
into a boundary having a different medium, they are transmitted back.
This is the principle behind ultrasonic flaw detection.

Calibration Methods:

Calibration refers to the act of evaluating and adjusting the precision

and accuracy of measurement equipment. In ultrasonic testing, several
forms of calibration must occur. First, the electronics of the equipment
must be calibrated to ensure that they are performing as designed. This
operation is usually performed by the equipment manufacturer and will
not be discussed further in this material. It is also usually necessary for
the operator to perform a "user calibration" of the equipment. This user
calibration is necessary because most ultrasonic equipment can be
reconfigured for use in a large variety of applications. The user must
"calibrate" the system, which includes the equipment settings, the
transducer, and the test setup, to validate that the desired level of
precision and accuracy are achieved. The term calibration standard is
usually only used when an absolute value is measured and in many
cases, the standards are traceable back to standards at the National
Institute for Standards and Technology.

In ultrasonic testing, there is also a need for reference standards.

Reference standards are 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 are used to
validate that the equipment and the setup provide similar results from
one day to the next and that similar results are produced by different
systems. Reference standards also help the inspector to estimate the size
of flaws. In a pulse-echo type setup, signal strength depends on both the
size of the flaw and the distance between the flaw and the transducer.
The inspector can use a reference standard with an artificially induced
flaw of known size and at approximately the same distance away for the
transducer to produce a signal. By comparing the signal from the
reference standard to that received from the actual flaw, the inspector
can estimate the flaw size.
This section will discuss some of the more common calibration and
reference specimen that are used in ultrasonic inspection. Some of these
specimens are shown in the figure above. Be aware that there are other
standards available and that specially designed standards may be
required for many applications. The information provided here is
intended to serve a general introduction to the standards and not to be
instruction on the proper use of the standards.

Introduction to the Common Standards

Calibration and reference standards for ultrasonic testing come in many
shapes and sizes. The type of standard used is dependent on the NDE
application and the form and shape of the object being evaluated. The
material of the reference standard should be the same as the material
being inspected and the artificially induced flaw should closely
resemble that of the actual flaw. This second requirement is a major
limitation of most standard reference samples. Most use drilled holes
and notches that do not closely represent real flaws. In most cases the
artificially induced defects in reference standards are better reflectors of
sound energy (due to their flatter and smoother surfaces) and produce
indications that are larger than those that a similar sized flaw would
produce. Producing more "realistic" defects is cost prohibitive in most

cases and, therefore, the inspector can only make an estimate of the flaw
size. Computer programs that allow the inspector to create computer
simulated models of the part and flaw may one day lessen this

The IIW Type Calibration Block

The standard shown in the above figure is commonly known in the US

as an IIW type reference block. IIW is an acronym for the International
Institute of Welding. It is referred to as an IIW "type" reference block
because it was patterned after the "true" IIW block but does not conform
to IIW requirements in IIS/IIW-23-59. "True" IIW blocks are only made
out of steel (to be precise, killed, open hearth or electric furnace, lowcarbon steel in the normalized condition with a grain size of McQuaidEhn #8) where IIW "type" blocks can be commercially obtained in a
selection of materials. The dimensions of "true" IIW blocks are in
metric units while IIW "type" blocks usually have English units. IIW
"type" blocks may also include additional calibration and references
features such as notches, circular groves, and scales that are not
specified by IIW. There are two full-sized and a mini versions of the
IIW type blocks. The Mini version is about one-half the size of the fullsized block and weighs only about one-fourth as much. The IIW type
US-1 block was derived the basic "true" IIW block and is shown below
in the figure on the left. The IIW type US-2 block was developed for US
Air Force application and is shown below in the centre. The Mini
version is shown on the right.

IIW Type US-1

IIW Type US-2

IIW Type Mini

IIW type blocks are used to calibrate instruments for both angle beam
and normal incident inspections. Some of their uses include setting
metal-distance and sensitivity settings, determining the sound exit point
and refracted angle of angle beam transducers, and evaluating depth
resolution of normal beam inspection setups. Instructions on using the
IIW type blocks can be found in the annex of American Society for
Testing and Materials Standard E164, Standard Practice for Ultrasonic
Contact Examination of Weldments.

The Miniature Angle-Beam or ROMPAS Calibration Block

The miniature angle-beam is a calibration block that was designed for

the US Air Force for use in the field for instrument calibration. The
block is much smaller and lighter than the IIW block but performs many
of the same functions. The miniature angle-beam block can be used to
check the beam angle and exit point of the transducer. The block can
also be used to make metal-distance and sensitivity calibrations for both
angle and normal-beam inspection setups.

AWS Shear Wave Distance/Sensitivity Calibration (DSC)


A block that closely resembles the miniature angle-beam block and is

used in a similar way is the DSC AWS Block. This block is used to
determine the beam exit point and refracted angle of angle-beam
transducers and to calibrate distance and set the sensitivity for both
normal and angle beam inspection setups. Instructions on using the DSC
block can be found in the annex of American Society for Testing and
Materials Standard E164, Standard Practice for Ultrasonic Contact
Examination of Weldments.

AWS Shear Wave Distance Calibration (DC) Block

The DC AWS Block is a metal path distance and beam exit point
calibration standard that conforms to the requirements of the American
Welding Society (AWS) and the American Association of State
Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). Instructions on using
the DC block can be found in the annex of American Society for Testing
and Materials Standard E164, Standard Practice for Ultrasonic Contact
Examination of Weldments.

AWS Resolution Calibration (RC) Block

The RC Block is used to determine the resolution of angle beam

transducers per the requirements of AWS and AASHTO. Engraved
Index markers are provided for 45, 60, and 70 degree refracted angle

30 FBH Resolution Reference Block

The 30 FBH resolution reference block is used to evaluate the nearsurface resolution and flaw size/depth sensitivity of a normal-beam
setup. The block contains number 3 (3/64"), 5 (5/64"), and 8 (8/64")
ASTM flat bottom holes at ten metal-distances ranging from 0.050 inch
(1.27 mm) to 1.250 inch (31.75 mm).

Miniature Resolution Block

The miniature resolution block is used to evaluate the near-surface

resolution and sensitivity of a normal-beam setup it can be used to
calibrate high-resolution thickness gages over the range of 0.015 inches
(0.381 mm) to 0.125 inches (3.175 mm).

Step and Tapered Calibration Wedges

Step and tapered calibration wedges come in a large variety of sizes and
configurations. Step wedges are typically manufactured with four or
five steps but custom wedge can be obtained with any number of steps.
Tapered wedges have a constant taper over the desired thickness range.

Distance/Sensitivity (DS) Block

The DS test block is a calibration standard used to check the horizontal

linearity and the dB accuracy per requirements of AWS and AASHTO.

Distance/Area-Amplitude Blocks


Distance/area amplitude correction blocks typically are purchased as a

ten-block set, as shown above. Aluminium sets are manufactured per the
requirements of ASTM E127 and steel sets per ASTM E428. Sets can
also be purchased in titanium. Each block contains a single flatbottomed, plugged hole. The hole sizes and metal path distances are as
3/64" at 3"
5/64" at 1/8", 1/4", 1/2", 3/4", 11/2", 3", and 6"
8/64" at 3" and 6"
Sets are commonly sold in 4340 Vacuum melt Steel, 7075-T6
Aluminium, and Type 304 Corrosion Resistant Steel. Aluminium blocks
are fabricated per the requirements of ASTM E127, Standard Practice

for Fabricating and Checking Aluminium Alloy Ultrasonic Standard

Reference Blocks. Steel blocks are fabricated per the requirements of
ASTM E428, Standard Practice for Fabrication and Control of Steel
Reference Blocks Used in Ultrasonic Inspection.

Area-Amplitude Blocks
Area-amplitude blocks are also usually purchased in an eight-block set
and look very similar to Distance/Area-Amplitude Blocks. However,
area-amplitude blocks have a constant 3-inch metal path distance and
the hole sizes are varied from 1/64" to 8/64" in 1/64" steps. The blocks
are used to determine the relationship between flaw sizes and signal
amplitude by comparing signal responses for the different sized holes.
Sets are commonly sold in 4340 Vacuum melt Steel, 7075-T6
Aluminium, and Type 304 Corrosion Resistant Steel. Aluminium blocks
are fabricated per the requirements of ASTM E127, Standard Practice
for Fabricating and Checking Aluminium Alloy Ultrasonic Standard
Reference Blocks. Steel blocks are fabricated per the requirements of
ASTM E428, Standard Practice for Fabrication and Control of Steel
Reference Blocks Used in Ultrasonic Inspection.

Distance-Amplitude #3, #5, #8 FBH Blocks

Distance-amplitude blocks also very similar to the distance/areaamplitude blocks pictured above. Nineteen block sets with flat-bottom
holes of a single size and varying metal path distances are also
commercially available. Sets have either a #3 (3/64") FBH, a #5 (5/64")
FBH, or a #8 (8/64") FBH. The metal path distances are 1/16", 1/8",
1/4", 3/8", 1/2", 5/8", 3/4", 7/8", 1", 1-1/4", 1-3/4", 2-1/4", 2-3/4", 314", 3-3/4", 4-1/4", 4-3/4", 5-1/4", and 5-3/4". The relationship between
the metal path distance and the signal amplitude is determined by
comparing signals from same size flaws at different depth. Sets are
commonly sold in 4340 Vacuum melt Steel, 7075-T6 Aluminium, and
Type 304 Corrosion Resistant Steel. Aluminium blocks are fabricated
per the requirements of ASTM E127, Standard Practice for Fabricating
and Checking Aluminium Alloy Ultrasonic Standard Reference Blocks.
Steel blocks are fabricated per the requirements of ASTM E428,

Standard Practice for Fabrication and Control of Steel Reference Blocks

Used in Ultrasonic Inspection.

Frequency, Velocity and Wavelength:

Most ultrasonic flaw detection applications use frequencies between 500
KHz and 10 MHz per second. At frequencies in the megahertz range,
sound energy travels easily via most common materials and liquids, but
does not pass efficiently via air or similar gasses. Also, sound waves of
different types travel at different rate of velocities.
Additionally, wavelength refers to the distance between two subsequent
points in the wave cycle as it passes via a medium. It is related to
velocity and frequency. In ultrasonic flaw detection and ultrasonic
thickness gaging, the minimum limit of detection is one-half wavelength
and the minimum measurable thickness is one wavelength, respectively.

Modes of Propagation
In solids, sound waves can be present in different modes of propagation
that are characterized by the type of motion involved. The common
modes used in ultrasonic flaw detection are shear waves and
longitudinal waves.

Variables that Limit Sound Transmission

When compared to soft, heterogeneous or granular materials, hard and
homogeneous materials are able to reflect sound waves more efficiently.
Three factors, such as beam spreading, attenuation and scattering,
control the distance a sound wave will pass in a particular medium .

Reflection at a Boundary
The amount of reflection coefficient or energy reflected is associated
with the relative acoustic hindrance of the two materials. In ultrasonic
flaw detection applications, metal and air boundaries are commonly
seen, wherein the reflection coefficient reaches 100%. This is the basic
principle involved in ultrasonic flaw detection.

Angle of Reflection and Refraction

At ultrasonic frequencies, sound energy is extremely directional and the
sound beams employed for flaw detection are clearly defined. As per the
Snell's Law of refraction, sound energy transmitting from one material
to another will bend. A beam that is traveling straight will travel in a
straight direction; however, a beam that hits a boundary at an angle will

Ultrasonic Transducers
A transducer is an instrument that is capable of converting energy from
one state to another. Ultrasonic transducers can transform electrical
energy into sound energy and vice versa.
For ultrasonic flaw detection, standard transducers employ an active
element that is made of either a polymer, composite, or piezoelectric
ceramic. When an electrical pulse of high voltage is applied to this
element, it vibrates through a particular spectrum of frequencies and
produces sound waves. When an incoming sound wave vibrates this
element, it produces an electrical pulse.

Figure 1.Cross section of typical contact transducer

In flaw detection applications, five types of ultrasonic transducers are

usually employed. They include contact transducers, immersion
transducers, delay line transducers, angle beam transducers, and dual
element transducers.

Advanced Ultrasonic Flaw Detectors

Parametric-NDT Epoch series are ultrasonic flaw detectors that are
compact and portable instruments based on microprocessor. They are
ideal for shop and field applications and display an ultrasonic waveform
that is easily understood by a trained operator, who detects and classifies
the flaws in test pieces. The series comprises a waveform display, an
ultrasonic pulser/receiver, a data logging module, and software and
hardware for signal capture and analysis. In order to optimize the
performance of transducer, pulse amplitude, damping and shape can be
controlled. Likewise, in order to signal-to-noise ratios, receiver gain and
bandwidth can be modified.

Procedure of Ultrasonic Flaw Detection

A trained operator can identify particular echo patterns related to the
echo response from representative flaws and good parts. This can be
done by utilizing correct reference standards and accepted test
procedures along with a good knowledge of sound wave propagation.
Two calibration standards such as straight beam testing and angle beam
testing are used in ultrasonic flaw detection. The latter technique is
commonly used in weld inspection.

Figure 2. Typical angle beam assembly

High penetrating power, which allows the detection of flaws deep in
the part. High sensitivity, permitting the detection of extremely small
flaws. Greater accuracy than other non-destructive methods in
determining the depth of internal flaws and the thickness of parts with
parallel surfaces. Parts that are rough, irregular in shape, very small
or thin, or not homogeneous are difficult to inspect. Extensive
technical knowledge is required for the development of inspection
procedures. Surface must be prepared by cleaning and removing
loose scale, paint, etc., although paint that is properly bonded to a
surface need not be remove.