2008:06 Synthetic Aperture Focusing Technique in Ultrasonic Inspection of Coarse Grained Materials

Experience from the ultrasonic inspection of nuclear power plants has shown that large focused transducers are relatively effective in suppressing grain (structure) noise. Operation of a large focused transducer can be thought of as an integration (coherent summation) of individual beams reflected from the target and received by individual points at the transducer surface.

Synthetic aperture focusing technique (SAFT), in its simplest version mimics an acoustic lens used for focusing beams at a desired point in the region of interest. Thus, SAFT should be able to suppress the grain noise in the similar way as the focused transducer does.

This report presents the results of investigation of SAFT algorithms applied for post-processing of ultrasonic data acquired in inspection of coarse grained metals. The performance of SAFT in terms of its spatial (cross-range) resolution and grain noise suppression is studied. The evaluation is made based on the experimental data obtained from the ultrasonic inspection of test specimens with artificial defects (side drilled holes). SAFT algorithms for both contact and immersion mode are introduced and experimentally verified