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Advanced ultrasonic techniques for nondestructive testing of austenitic and dissimilar welds in nuclear facilities

: Jüngert, Anne; Dugan, Sandra; Homann, Tobias; Mitzscherling, Steffen; Prager, Jens; Pudovikov, Sergey; Schwender, Thomas


Chimenti, Dale E. (Ed.) ; American Institute of Physics -AIP-, New York:
44th Annual Review of Progress in Quantitative Nondestructive Evaluation 2017 : 16–21 July 2017, Provo, Utah, USA
Woodbury, N.Y.: AIP, 2018 (AIP Conference Proceedings 1949)
ISBN: 978-0-7354-1644-4
Art. 110002, 10 S.
Annual Review of Progress in Quantitative Nondestructive Evaluation <44, 2017, Provo/Utah>
Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie BMWi
Fraunhofer IZFP ()
ultrasonics; Antennas; elastic moduli; educational testing; ray tracing; optical phase matching; acoustic phenomena; nuclear engineering

Austenitic stainless steel welds as well as dissimilar metal welds with nickel alloy filler material, used in safety relevant parts of nuclear power plants, still challenge the ultrasonic inspection. The weld material forms large oriented grains that lead, on the one hand, to high sound scattering and, on the other hand, to inhomogeneity and to the acoustic anisotropy of the weld structure. The ultrasonic wave fronts do not propagate linearly, as in ferritic weld joints, but along the curves, which depend on the specific grain structure of the weld. Due to the influence of these phenomena, it is difficult to analyze the inspection results and to classify the ultrasonic indications, which could be both from the weld geometry and from the material defects. A correct flaw sizing is not possible. In an ongoing research project, different techniques to improve the reliability of ultrasonic testing at these kinds of welds are investigated. In a first step (in the previous research project) two ultrasonic inspection techniques were developed and validated on plane test specimens with artificial and realistic flaws. In the ongoing project, these techniques are applied to circumferential pipe welds with longitudinal and transverse flaws. The technique developed at the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM) in Germany uses a combination of ray tracing and synthetic aperture focusing technique (SAFT). To investigate the unknown grain structure, the velocity distribution of weld-transmitting ultrasound waves is measured and used to model the weld by ray tracing. The second technique, developed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Nondestructive Testing (IZFP) in Germany, uses Sampling Phased Array (Full Matrix Capture) combined with the reverse phase matching (RPM) and the gradient elastic constant descent algorithm (GECDM). This inspection method is able to estimate the elastic constants of the columnar grains in the weld and offers an improvement of the reliability of ultrasonic testing through the correction of the sound field distortion. The unknown inhomogeneity and anisotropy are investigated using a reference indication and the special optimization algorithm. Both reconstruction techniques give quantitative inspection results and allow the defect sizing. They have been compared to conventional ultrasonic testing with techniques that are state of the art for components in nuclear power plants. The improvement will be quantified by the comparison of the probability of detection (POD) of each technique.