Putting an ear to materials: Ultrasonic nonlinear imaging detects defects before cracks form | The American Ceramic Society

Putting an ear to materials: Ultrasonic nonlinear imaging detects defects before cracks form

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[Image above] Credit: Gina; Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

We’ve reported before on ultrasonic sensors to detect faults in machinery. Now, researchers at Bristol University in the United Kingdom have devised an ultrasonic nonlinear imaging technique to detect defects in materials, even before faults form.

Credit: Reuters; YouTube

“Imaging acoustic nonlinearity not only provides sensitivity to smaller defects than is currently possible but may have the potential to detect damage before macroscopic material changes occur,” says lead author Jack Potter in a Bristol press release. “This would enable intervention before cracks have even begun to form, as well as predicting the remaining life of an engineering structure. Crucially the technique has been achieved using standard inspection equipment, which will allow for the rapid implementation of the technique in numerous applications.”

The paper describing the work, published in Physical Review Letters, is “Nonlinear ultrasonic phased array imaging” (DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.113.144301).

Want more information about monitoring cracks and damage in materials? Check out this feature article from the September 2014 issue of the ACerS Bulletin about electrical resistance monitoring of damage in ceramic matrix composites. (All past issues of the Bulletin can be accessed for free by ACerS members. Not a member? Consider joining us today!)  

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