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Introduction to Acoustic Emission Testing



Theory - AE Sources

Theory - AE Waves


Signal Features

Data Display

Source Location

Barkhausen Noise



AE Signal Features

With the equipment configured and setup complete, AE testing may begin. The sensor is coupled to the test surface and held in place with tape or adhesive. An operator then monitors the signals which are excited by the induced stresses in the object. When a useful transient, or burst signal is correctly obtained, parameters like amplitude, counts, measured area under the rectified signal envelope (MARSE), duration, and rise time can be gathered.  Each of the AE signal feature shown in the image is described below.

Amplitude, A, is the greatest measured voltage in a waveform and is measured in decibels (dB). This is an important parameter in acoustic emission inspection because it determines the detectability of the signal. Signals with amplitudes below the operator-defined, minimum threshold will not be recorded.

Rise time, R, is the time interval between the first threshold crossing and the signal peak. This parameter is related to the propagation of the wave between the source of the acoustic emission event and the sensor. Therefore, rise time is used for qualification of signals and as a criterion for noise filter.

Duration, D, is the time difference between the first and last threshold crossings. Duration can be used to identify different types of sources and to filter out noise. Like counts (N), this parameter relies upon the magnitude of the signal and the acoustics of the material.

MARSE, E, sometimes referred to as energy counts, is the measure of the area under the envelope of the rectified linear voltage time signal from the transducer. This can be thought of as the relative signal amplitude and is useful because the energy of the emission can be determined. MARSE is also sensitive to the duration and amplitude of the signal, but does not use counts or user defined thresholds and operating frequencies. MARSE is regularly used in the measurements of acoustic emissions.

Counts, N, refers to the number of pulses emitted by the measurement circuitry if the signal amplitude is greater than the threshold. Depending on the magnitude of the AE event and the characteristics of the material, one hit may produce one or many counts. While this is a relatively simple parameter to collect, it usually needs to be combined with amplitude and/or duration measurements to provide quality information about the shape of a signal.