What is Ultrasonic Testing?

This week our students are starting their Ultrasonic Testing level I class!
Most people don’t really understand what UT is, so this week were going to break it down for you.
Lets just start with the basic principle of UT and how it’s used. Ultrasonic Testing, or UT, is a Non-Destructive Testing technique that uses the propagation of ultrasonic waves in the object or material tested. UT transmits high frequency sound energy into materials to detect internal flaws or to characterize materials.
This technology is most known within the medical field, recognized better as an ultrasound, which is used to determine the sex of a fetus in the womb. NDT however, primarily uses UT in the industrial sector, often used to test metal materials and various metal machinery components. These materials, such as oil and gas pipelines, are being tested to prevent failures or accidents due to defects. An electronic device that produces high voltage electrical pulses is used and is referred to as the pulser or the receiver. Driven by the pulser is the transducer, which generates high frequency ultrasonic energy. It’s this sound energy that propagates through the material being tested in the form of waves. If a defect is present in the wave path, such as a crack, the amount of sound waves returning to the transducer is reduced. There are many different Ultrasonic testing techniques utilized today, but they all operate on the same basic principles.
As we get into Ultrasonic testing this week and where it is used, it will become increasing more obvious how important this is! NDT inspectors aim to identify defects in material to avoid critical failures during operation. Every day they prevent catastrophic events from happening and save countless lives in the process!