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Content archived on 2024-06-18

Long range ultrasonic condition monitoring

Final Report Summary - LRUCM (Long-range ultrasonic condition monitoring)

The ultimate aim of the LRUCM project was to achieve certain technological advances that would drive the Long-range ultrasonic testing technology (LRUT) into a new area whereby the technique would have an increased functional capability in terms of test range, defect detection, defect positioning and sizing capability and a new range of industrial applications.

LRUCM deployed the low-frequency ultrasonic guided wave technique and aimed to take this technology forward in three main areas:
- improvement in the test range and sensitivity for pipe inspection;
- extension of the application of long-range inspection using guided waves to other product types, namely heat exchanger tubes, railway rails, wire ropes and plate/sheet components;
- development of training and certification schemes for personnel

As mentioned above five different applications such as heat exchanger tubes, railway rails, sheet piles and light columns implemented the long range ultrasonic technology:

heat exchanger tubes
The results showed that small defects may be detected in heat exchanger tubes using long-range guided waves. However, tests on bundles of tubes showed that the baffle plates used to support the tubes and to maintain their relative position produce responses of similar amplitude to those from defects, so that in practice the interpretation of signals become an issue.

Railway rails
A large exercise was carried out to determine the properties of the waves in the three different parts of the rail section and capability of defect detection in each. It was shown that it was possible to generate selected wave modes in the different regions with little leakage into the other parts of the rail. This enabled the position of defects to be determined according to the mode that detected them.

Sheet piles
Two devices were produced. The first one was for mounting transducers on the top edge of the pile and was using a compression motion to generate the guided wave travelling down the length of the pile. In this case, the coupling of the ultrasound into the steel was affected by the quality of the top edge of the pile which was often roughly flame cut. To overcome this, a study was carried out concerning the use of rubber interlayers to improve coupling efficiency and tolerance to surface roughness. The second device allowed the transducers to be placed on the vertical face of the pile. The results obtained for the sheet pile could be used for any plate structure such as tank floor, plates, panels.

Lighting columns
Work was carried out using both electromagnetic and piezoelectric systems to investigate corrosion just below ground level in lighting columns and other street furniture.

LRUCM constituted a unique opportunity for the Non-destructive testing (NDT) societies which worked together with Research and technological development (RTD) providers and Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in order to develop long range ultrasonic technology for different applications and industrial sectors and to develop the first training and certification programme for European standards, The results of the project would enhance understanding of the LRUT, namely its limits and capabilities and also provide guidance on better practice of this technology.