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Ultrasonic arrays are increasingly widely used in nondestructive evaluation (NDE) due to their greater flexibility and potentially superior performance compared to conventional monolithic probes. The characterization of small defects remains a challenge for NDE and is of great importance for determining the impact of a defect on the integrity of a structure. In this paper, a technique for characterizing reflectors with subwavelength dimensions is described. This is achieved by post-processing the complete data set of time traces obtained from an ultrasonic array using two algorithms. The first algorithm is used to obtain information about reflector orientation and the second algorithm is used to distinguish between point-like reflectors that reflect uniformly in all directions and specular reflectors that have distinct orientations. Experimental results are presented using a commercial 64-element, 5-MHZ array on two aluminum test specimens that contain a number of machined slots and side-drilled holes. The results show that the orientation of 1-mm-long slots can be determined to within a few degrees and that the signals from 1-mm-long slots can be distinguished from that from a 1-mm-diameter circular hole. Techniques for quantifying both the orientation and the specularity of measured signals are presented and the effect of processing parameters on the accuracy of results is discussed.
Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:54 , Issue: 8 )
Date of Publication: August 2007