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Signal detection and noise suppression using a wavelet transform signal processor: application to ultrasonic flaw detection

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5 Author(s)

The utilization of signal processing techniques in nondestructive testing, especially in ultrasonics, is widespread. Signal averaging, matched filtering, frequency spectrum analysis, neural nets, and autoregressive analysis have all been used to analyze ultrasonic signals. The Wavelet Transform (WT) is the most recent technique for processing signals with time-varying spectra. Interest in wavelets and their potential applications has resulted in an explosion of papers; some have called the wavelets the most significant mathematical event of the past decade. In this work, the Wavelet Transform is utilized to improve ultrasonic flaw detection in noisy signals as an alternative to the Split-Spectrum Processing (SSP) technique. In SSP, the frequency spectrum of the signal is split using overlapping Gaussian passband filters with different central frequencies and fixed absolute bandwidth. A similar approach is utilized in the WT, but in this case the relative bandwidth is constant, resulting in a filter bank with a self-adjusting window structure that can display the temporal variation of the signal's spectral components with varying resolutions. This property of the WT is extremely useful for detecting flaw echoes embedded in background noise. The detection of ultrasonic pulses using the wavelet transform is described and numerical results show good detection even for signal-to-noise ratios (SNR) of -15 dB. The improvement in detection was experimentally verified using steel samples with simulated flaws.

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Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:44 ,  Issue: 1 )