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A multichannel time-delay system has been built and applied to a transducer array for implementing guided wave mode control. The time-delay system has a capability of sending high energy controllable tone-burst signals from eight independent channels with arbitrary time delays from 0 to 30 /spl mu/s with resolution of 0.025 /spl mu/s. Software time delays are also provided for summing up received signals of each channel. Theoretical discussions indicate the impact of the time delay capability on the bandwidth and sensitivity improvement of a transducer array for guided wave generation. Determination of both physical and software time delay values is based on a knowledge of dispersion curves and element spacing. Based on reference signals, a non-knowledge-based automatic time-delay searching algorithm was introduced for guided wave mode selection. Experiments were conducted with a phased comb transducer array mounted on a carbon steel pipe. The experimental results show that signal to noise ratio has been greatly improved by use of the time-delay system. Some other benefits of the phased array, including unidirection generation and mode control flexibility, are discussed.