Home - Education Resources - NDT Course Material - Ultrasound

Introduction to Ultrasonic Testing

Basic Principles
Present State
Future Direction

Physics of Ultrasound
Wave Propagation
Modes of Sound Waves
Properties of Plane Waves
Wavelength/Flaw Detection
Elastic Properties of Solids

Acoustic Impedance
Refraction & Snell's Law
Mode Conversion
Signal-to-noise Ratio
Wave Interference

Equipment & Transducers
Piezoelectric Transducers
Characteristics of PT
Radiated Fields
Transducer Beam Spread
Transducer Types
Transducer Testing I
Transducer Testing II
Transducer Modeling
Tone Burst Generators
Function Generators
Impedance Matching
Data Presentation
Error Analysis

Measurement Techniques
Normal Beam Inspection
Angle Beams I
Angle Beams II
Crack Tip Diffraction
Automated Scanning
Velocity Measurements
Measuring Attenuation
Spread Spectrum
Signal Processing
Flaw Reconstruction

Calibration Methods
Calibration Methods
DAC Curves
Curvature Correction
Thompson-Gray Model
Grain Noise Modeling

Selected Applications
Rail Inspection

Reference Material
UT Material Properties


Future Direction of Ultrasonic Inspection

Looking to the future, those in the field of NDE see an exciting new set of opportunities. The defense and nuclear power industries have played a major role in the emergence of NDE. Increasing global competition has led to dramatic changes in product development and business cycles. At the same time, aging infrastructure, from roads to buildings and aircraft, present a new set of measurement and monitoring challenges for engineers as well as technicians.

Among the new applications of NDE spawned by these changes is the increased emphasis on the use of NDE to improve the productivity of manufacturing processes. Quantitative nondestructive evaluation (QNDE) both increases the amount of information about failure modes and the speed with which information can be obtained and facilitates the development of in-line measurements for process control.

The phrase, "you cannot inspect in quality, you must build it in," exemplifies the industry's focus on avoiding the formation of flaws. Nevertheless, manufacturing flaws will never be completely eliminated and material damage will continue to occur in-service so continual development of flaw detection and characterization techniques is necessary.

Advanced simulation tools that are designed for inspectability and their integration into quantitative strategies for life management will contribute to increase the number and types of engineering applications of NDE. With growth in engineering applications for NDE, there will be a need to expand the knowledge base of technicians performing the evaluations. Advanced simulation tools used in the design for inspectability may be used to provide technical students with a greater understanding of sound behavior in materials. UTSIM, developed at Iowa State University, provides a glimpse into what may be used in the technical classroom as an interactive laboratory tool.

As globalization continues, companies will seek to develop, with ever increasing frequency, uniform international practices. In the area of NDE, this trend will drive the emphasis on standards, enhanced educational offerings, and simulations that can be communicated electronically.  The coming years will be exciting as NDE will continue to emerge as a full-fledged engineering discipline.