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Ultrasonic non-destructive testing of pieces of complex geometry with a ﬂexible phased array transducer
´ Sylvain Chatillon a, *, Gerard Cattiaux a, Marc Serre b, Olivier Roy b
a Institut de Protection et Surete Nucleaire, DES/SAMS, 92265 Fontenay-aux-Roses Cedex, France ˆ ´ ´ b Commissariat a l’Energie Atomique, CEREM, CEA-Saclay, Bat. 611, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette cedex, France ` ˆ
Abstract Ultrasonic non-destructive testing of components of complex geometry in the nuclear industry faces several diﬃculties: sensitivity variations due to unmatched contact, inaccurate localization of defects due to variations of transducer orientation, and uncovered area of the component. To improve the performances of such testing and defect characterization, we propose a new concept of ultrasonic contact phased array transducer. The phased array transducer has a ﬂexible radiating surface able to ﬁt the actual surface of the piece to optimize the contact and thus the sensitivity of the test. To control the transmitted ﬁeld, and therefore to improve the defect characterization, a delay law optimizing algorithm is developed. To assess the capability of such a transducer, the Champ-Sons model, developed at the French Atomic Energy Commission for predicting ﬁeld radiated by arbitrary transducers into pieces, has to be extended to sources directly in contact with pieces of complex geometry. The good behavior of this new type of probe predicted by computations is experimentally validated with a jointed transducer positioned on pieces of various proﬁles. © 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Complex geometry components; Delay law optimization; Flexible phased array transducer; US ﬁeld modeling
1. Introduction The primary and secondary cooling systems of French pressurized water reactors comprise many welding components with complex geometry: elbows, welding with a rough proﬁle, and nozzles. In service inspections of such components performed with conventional ultrasonic ( US) contact transducers present limited performances. First, variations in sensitivity, due to unmatched contact on depressions or irregular surface are observed, resulting in poor detection performances. In addition, the beam orientation transmitted through complex interfaces cannot be totally controlled because of the disorientations suﬀered by the transducer during its displacement, and the detected defect cannot be correctly characterized. Finally, the geometry of certain components such as nozzles disturbs the displacement of the transducer, resulting in an uncovered scan area. To overcome these diﬃculties, a new concept of phased array contact transducer is proposed. Firstly,
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the radiating surface is ﬂexible to optimize the contact, and thus the sensitivity, of the testing. Secondly, to improve the characterization of detected defects, the characteristics of the transmitted beam have to be controlled and preserved during the scanning, particularly its actual orientation and focal depth. To this aim, we propose an algorithm that optimizes the delay law. This computation needs the actual position of the elements, so a speciﬁc instrumentation is associated with the transducer to measure its radiating surface distortions. In a ﬁrst part, the model used to simulate the ﬁeld transmitted by a ﬂexible phased array contact transducer is presented. Further, a delay law optimizing algorithm is proposed to control the transmitted beam. Finally, experimental results obtained with a jointed contact transducer are proposed to validate its acoustical performances and the optimizing algorithm.
2. Simulation of the US ﬁeld The French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), has developed the ‘Champ-Sons’ model, which predicts the
0041-624X/00/$ - see front matter © 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved. PII: S0 0 4 1 -6 2 4 X ( 9 9 ) 0 0 18 1 - X
well known in the phased array techniques. Due to the deﬂection angle. so that the bisector of the angular aperture has the desired orientation. makes it possible to simulate the ﬁeld transmitted by a ﬂexible phased array transducer applied on any arbitrary pieces. The method involves searching the focusing point. extending in the angular aperture. 2 compares the computed and expected (reference) focal characteristics for a 50 mm focal depth and ﬁve deﬂection angles. However. According to this geometrical observation. 45 and 60°. This algorithm is fast enough to be used in a real-time process. To deal with directly coupled contact transducers. Delay law optimization The focusing process with phased array is usually as follows: the ‘geometrical delay law’ is computed to ensure constructive interferences at the ‘geometrical focusing point’ deﬁned by the depth and deﬂection angle. to take into account these eﬀects. this axis is diﬀerent from that coming from the center of the transducer. 2. 1. signiﬁcant diﬀerences between ‘acoustical focusing’ characteristics. This model. Geometrical modeling of the focusing process. Acoustic focal characteristics estimated by the geometrical model and Champ-Sons. In a ﬁrst approximation. Fig. implemented in the ‘Civa’ software. taking into account the applied delay law: its radiating proﬁle in the incidence plane is a semicircle. and the deﬂection angle.0 MHz transient waves.132 S. The result is an increase in deﬂection angle. The performances of this model are estimated for a 48×20 mm linear phased array transducer generating 2. . at the depth of interest. immersed and wedge coupled) through complex interfaces. Fig. 3. is always lower than the deﬂection angle. a. Chatillon et al. a model is proposed to quickly predict the acoustic focal characteristics of the beam transmitted by a contact phased array transducer. implemented in the Champs-Sons software. a. For a contact transducer radiating in an homogeneous media. 15. 30. The principle of the selected model  is based on the reciprocity theorem . The beam orientation is given by that of the symmetry-axis of the equivalent transducer. 1). / Ultrasonics 38 (2000) 131–134 ﬁeld transmitted by arbitrary transducers (monolithic and phased array. measured on the transmitted beam. denoted b. P. This behavior. and ‘geometrical’ characteristics are observed. it can be considered that the beam is focused along the bisector of this aperture. The angular aperture observed from the focal point is deﬁned by the rays coming from the transducer edges. This model. a simpliﬁed geometrical model is proposed. taking into account the distortion of its radiating surface. centered on the focal point. The focal position is estimated by computing the amplitude distribution of the ﬁeld transmitted along this axis. Its orientation. The displacement ﬁeld produced by an arbitrary transducer is estimated by numerically integrating this elementary solution on the eﬀective radiating surface. further. The geometrical focusing point is deﬁned by the focal depth. we have to simulate the displacement generated in a solid by an acoustical source applied directly onto its surface. Fig. 0. has been experimentally validated for several conﬁgurations of immersed inspection  and compared to other approximate or exact models . the associated delay law is a spherical cupola centered on the focal point (Fig. It entails deﬁning an equivalent monolithic transducer. This model is used in an iterative process to optimize the delay law to control the beam orientation. The results given by this model show very good agreements with the focal characteristics obtained by Champ-Sons. results from the limited aperture of the transducer . To understand and.
Chatillon et al. Field transmitted at 40 mm through a plane interface for a 40 mm/45° focusing. the distortions of the Fig. The grating lobe level and the focal width are reported on the echodynamic. the ﬁeld resulting from geometrical and optimized delay laws is measured for three deﬂection angles (0. the beam orientation and the grating lobe level. 30. Examples are shown in Figs. 4 and 5 for a 40 mm depth focusing with a 45° deﬂection angle for the most unfavorable case: the concave/convex interface.S.0 mm. 3. Further.U. 45 and 60 °. compared to a plane interface. allow measurements of the transmitted ﬁeld. a good agreement between experimental and simulated results is observed. / Ultrasonics 38 (2000) 131–134 133 4.T. The design of each elements ensures distortions of the radiating surface with a 15 mm local curvature radius (see Fig. the maximal loss in sensitivity is 3 dB. amplitude) are well predicted. Fig. . Distortion of the jointed transducer with a 15 mm local curvature radius. the transmitted ﬁeld is measured for ﬁve positions of the transducer on a test piece with a 20 mm local curvature radius surface depression. four steps. The maximal increase of the focal width is 40%. On the opposite face. 45 and 60°). we measure the focal width. separated by 10.’ ( Focusing Adaptive UltraSonic Tomography) system [6–8]. respectively located at 20. 6 repre- Fig. the characteristics of the focal area (position. Field transmitted through a concave/convex interface for a 40 mm/−45° focusing. For each step. mechanically assembled with cables and helical springs. 4. The measurements obtained through the complex interfaces are compared to those obtained through the plane interface in order to estimate how the eﬀects caused by the distortion of the radiating surface on the transmitted beam are dealt with. The transmitted ﬁeld is measured using a wide-band contact probe receiver with a central frequency of 2. the focal amplitude.2. In all the studied conﬁgurations (proﬁle. depth.1. Fig. 3). First. 30 and 50 mm. The average discrepancy is less than 2°. 4. Measurements in a dynamic mode In order to assess the acoustic capabilities of the jointed transducer during the scanning of an irregular surface. the actual focal beam orientation is well predicted by the simpliﬁed geometrical model. 4. and two orientations.S. 40 and 50 mm from the reference plane. Results These experiments are performed using the ‘F. The ﬂexible transducer is composed of 24 rigid elementary ultrasonic transducers (elements). orientation.A. For each position. 5. and the maximal increase of the grating lobe level is 3 dB. In all cases. are studied. deﬂection angle). Two depths. width. Measurements in a static mode The proﬁle of the steel block consists of three parts: a concave part and a convex part with a 50 mm radius curvature and a concave/convex part with a 25 mm radius curvature. transmitted focal beam remain acceptable although signiﬁcant distortions are suﬀered by the radiating surface.25 MHz.
H. 6. El Amrani. D.  S. in: D. the focal width is nearly constant (even narrower at the position situated 10 mm before the depression center) and no signiﬁcant increase in grating lobe level is observed ( less than 2 dB).E.O. O. P. 5. 17.  A. Its radiating surface is ﬂexible to optimize the contact along degraded or complex proﬁles. Benoist. in: D. of Prog.134 S. Serre. Benoist. Lhemery. Ph. D. Stacey. Fields transmitted at 30 mm for a 30 mm/−45° focusing in ﬁve diﬀerent positions.H. An algorithm is proposed to determine. At each position. 1996. R. Experiments in pulse-echo mode are in progress to estimate the defect detection and characterization performances of this method. (1998). ´ Rev. Mahaut. Mahaut. Etude de diﬀerentes methodes de focalisation ultra´ ´ sonore appliquees au controle non destructif. in QNDE Vol. Roy. Fig. Conf. Chimenti ( Eds. of Prog. 16B (1997) 2085. 1996. of Prog. in QNDE Vol.G.E. in QNDE Vol. G. G. The variations in sensitivity are less than 2 dB.O.E. thesis. S. 14A (1995) 1075. Chimenti ( Eds. Chimenti (Eds. Thompson. Calmon. Chimenti ( Eds. 14th Int. Rev.D. Uni´ ˆ ´ versite Paris 7. Roy.  M. J. D. Calmon. Conclusion We propose a new concept of phased array contact transducer designed to optimize the inspection of complex geometry components. Mahaut. The orientation of the transmitted beam is nearly constant along the transducer displacement (the maximal variations are less than 2°). in: D. sents the ﬁelds transmitted at 30 mm for a 30 mm depth focusing at 45°. of Prog.). Rev.E. Rev. Rev. The use of the delay law optimizing algorithm ensures the transmission of an homogeneous and controlled beam during the transducer displacement along complex geometry. in: D. These results show the ability of the jointed transducer associated with the delay law optimization algorithm to correct . A. D. M. ´  P. Lhemery. Experimental results obtained in transmission with a jointed transducer validate the good behavior predicted by simulated data. in a fast way.). 15A (1996) 1019. of Prog. the characteristics of the focal beam transmitted are very close to those obtained through the plane interface. P. Casula.O. Thompson. NDE in the Nuclear and Pressure Vessel Ind. [6 ] S. Thompson. El Amrani. Proc. Chatillon et al.  O. P. P. Aki. O. the delay law ensuring the control of the transmitted focused beam characteristics. D. in: D. D. Cattiaux.O. Chimenti (Eds.  K. Cattiaux.). in QNDE Vol. Roy. Roy. O. Richard. Royer.O. in QNDE Vol. The focal beam amplitude is referred to that obtained through the plane interface. O. Thompson. / Ultrasonics 38 (2000) 131–134 the geometrical aberrations and transmit a focal beam with controlled and homogeneous characteristics.E.). Thompson. References  M. 14 (1995) 997.). 1980. Nadal.
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