the specimen, and the magnetic field is measured by a sensor and recorded. In anotherapproach, there is no second or sensing coil, and the reluctance** is measured directlyin the exciting or induction coil to locate a crack.Figure 2 shows the principal elements of four types of typical eddy currentsystems. Figure 2 (a) shows a simple arrangement, in which voltage across the coil ismonitored. Figure 2 (b) shows a typical impedance bridge. Figure 2 (c) shows animpedance bridge with dual coils and Figure 2 (d) shows an impedance bridge withdual coils and a reference sample in the second cell. The location of the eddy currentsin the specimen in the z, or depth direction, is a function of the frequency. As thefrequency is increased, the eddy currents are increasingly concentrated near thesurface of the specimen, and as the frequency is decreased the eddy currents increasetheir penetration into the specimen. Employing a variety of frequencies to probedifferent depths in the specimen can be very useful for analyzing a greater volume of the specimen.
5-Types of Discontinuities
There are a number of different discontinuities that can be detected with eddycurrent NDT. In metallic structures, welds, fatigue cracks, voids, hidden corrosion andstress corrosion cracks can be detected (Figure 3) and the size of such defects can alsobe determined. The geometry of the part and the defect location dictate the size of theflaw that can be detected.For example, automated and manual eddy current inspection of gas turbineengine disks can reliably detect cracks as small as 0.023 inches in length in bolt holesof seventh stage compressor disks.  Defects such as delaminations, voids andbroken fibers from impact damage can be detected in graphite epoxy composites.While in carbon/carbon composites for high temperature use, eddy current NDT canbe used to determine the thickness of the silicon carbide (SiC) coating used onCarbon/carbon composite for oxidation protection. In addition, voids caused byoxidation between the SiC coating and the carbon/carbon base can be detected andcarbon loss due to oxidation can be determined using eddy current NDT. EddyCurrent NDT can be used on conducting materials including metals, alloys,carbon/epoxy composites, carbon/carbon composites, and metallic matrix composites.
There are no special facility requirements for eddy current NDT, and portableinstrumentation is available for field applications such as aircraft inspection, as shownin Figure 4. Rugged eddy current equipment is also available for use in manufacturingenvironments to inspect metallic products as they are being processed. There is nospecial material preparation for testing, but a smooth surface produces optimumresults. Eddy current equipment is calibrated using physical calibration standardsmade of the same material with the same geometry as the part to be tested. Electrodischarge machining (EDM) notches, drilled holes, etc., can serve as flaws, andseveral sizes should be used to encompass the actual flaw sizes expected. Figure 5shows several fabricated discontinuities used as standards in eddy current inspection.Real flaws such as fatigue cracks, stress corrosion cracks, etc., are required forimproved accuracy in sizing of defects. The distance of the inspection coil from thesurface of the sample, called “liftoff” must also be carefully controlled. Theinterpretation of results using the modern, computer-based eddy current equipment is