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Advanced Ultrasonic Device with In-Situ Height Adjustment for Improved Flaw Detection

Sandia National Laboratories

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Technology Marketing Summary

Ultrasonic testing is a nondestructive inspection (NDI) technique that utilizes ultra-high frequency sound to detect flaws within a part of interest. A fluid (e.g. water or gel) is used to achieve high coupling between the transducer and part under inspection. Typical probe holders (i.e. shoes) hold the ultrasonic probe at a fixed distance from the inspected part, which can lead to signals that are masked by harmonics and undesirable reflections in the part. Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have developed an adjustable height ultrasonic testing device that overcomes the limitations of fixed-height probes and enables in situ adjustment of coupling fluid height to eliminate the presence of confounding signals and produce improved flaw detection. The device is compatible with a focused ultrasonic transducer developed at Sandia or commercial off-the-shelf transducers.

Description

Traditional probe shoes are open ended, leading to the spillage of large amounts of coupling fluid. The Sandia designed shoes minimize spillage and leakage through the use of a permeable membrane and sealing gasket as well as a vacuum system to remove excess coupling fluid.

Benefits
  • Adjustable depth of focus for improved flaw detection
  • Can be used to detect flaws on structures of varying thickness
  • Ideal for use with high attenuation structures and thick or varying thicknesses of laminates
  • Minimal coupling fluid spillage; can be used with water to remove residue from coupling fluid
Applications and Industries
  • Aircraft
  • Automotive
  • Wind turbines
  • Military
  • Civil Structures
  • Oil and gas
Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Date
Patent 8,371,173
Patent
8,371,173
Ultrasonic probe deployment device for increased wave transmission and rapid area scan inspections
An ultrasonic probe deployment device in which an ultrasound-transmitting liquid forms the portion of the ultrasonic wave path in contact with the surface being inspected (i.e., the inspection surface). A seal constrains flow of the liquid, for example preventing the liquid from surging out and flooding the inspection surface. The seal is not rigid and conforms to variations in the shape and unevenness of the inspection surface, thus forming a seal (although possibly a leaky seal) around the liquid. The probe preferably is held in place to produce optimum ultrasonic focus on the area of interest. Use of encoders can facilitate the production of C-scan area maps of the material being inspected.
Sandia National Laboratories 02/12/2013
Issued
Patent 9,121,817
Patent
9,121,817
Ultrasonic testing device having an adjustable water column
An ultrasonic testing device having a variable fluid column height is disclosed. An operator is able to adjust the fluid column height in real time during an inspection to to produce optimum ultrasonic focus and separate extraneous, unwanted UT signals from those stemming from the area of interest.
Sandia National Laboratories 09/01/2015
Issued
Patent 8,087,298
Patent
8,087,298
Ultrasonic probe deployment device for increased wave transmission and rapid area scan inspections
An ultrasonic probe deployment device in which an ultrasound-transmitting liquid forms the portion of the ultrasonic wave path in contact with the surface being inspected (i.e., the inspection surface). A seal constrains flow of the liquid, for example preventing the liquid from surging out and flooding the inspection surface. The seal is not rigid and conforms to variations in the shape and unevenness of the inspection surface, thus forming a seal (although possibly a leaky seal) around the liquid. The probe preferably is held in place to produce optimum ultrasonic focus on the area of interest. Use of encoders can facilitate the production of C-scan area maps of the material being inspected.
Sandia National Laboratories 01/03/2012
Issued
Patent 6,235,025
Patent
6,235,025
Process and device for the treatment of atrial arrhythmia
A process for the treatment of atrial arrhythmia by use of ablation procedures comprising circumferential ablation of vessels, particularly pulmonary veins associated with the left atrium of the heart. Also disclosed are medical devices used for formation of the circumferential ablation lesions in vessels associated with the heart.
05/22/2001
Issued
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
SD#12071Development - Sandia estimates this technology at a Technology Readiness Level 8/9. Actual system completed, tested, and fully operational.Available10/31/201610/31/2016

Contact SNL About This Technology

To: <ip@sandia.gov>