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Nondestructive acoustic imaging techniques
Acoustic imaging techniques are used in the field of nondestructive testing of technical components to measure defects such as lack of side wall fusion or cracks in welded joints. Data acquisition is performed by a remote-controlled manipulator and a PC for the mass storage of the high-frequency time-of-flight data at each probe position. The quality of the acoustic images and the interpretation relies on the proper understanding of the transmitted wave fronts and the arragement of the probes in pulse-echo mode or in pitch-and-catch arrangement. The use of the Synthetic Aperture Focusing Technique allows the depth-dependent resolution to be replaced by a depth-independent resolution and the signal-to-noise ratio to be improved. Examples with surface-connected cracks are shown to demonstrate the improved features. The localization accuracy could be improved by entering 2-dimensional or 3-dimensional reconstructed data into the environment of a 3-dimensional CAD drawing. Thepropagation of ultrasonic waves through austenitic welds is disturbed by the anisotropic and inhomogeneous structure of the material. The effect is more or less severe depending upon the longitudinal or shear wave modes. To optimize the performance of an inspection software tool, a 3-dimensional CAD-Ray program has been implemented, where the shape of the inhomogeneous part of a weld can be simulated together with the grain structure based on the elastic constants. Ray-tracing results are depicted for embedded and for surface-connected defects.