Control of complex components with Smart Flexible Phased Arrays
Titre de la revue : Ultrasonics
Volume : 44
N° : supplement
Pagination : e647-e651
Date de publication : 22/12/2006
The inspection is mainly performed in contact with ultrasonic wedge transducers; However, the shape cannot fit the changing geometries of components (butt weld, nozzle, elbow). The variable thickness of the coupling layer, between the wedge and the local surface, leads to beam distortions and losses of sensitivity. Previous studies have shown that these two phenomena contribute to reduce the inspection performances leading to shadow area, split beam.... Flexible phased arrays have been developed to fit the complex profile and improve such controls. The radiating surface is composed with independent piezoelectric elements mechanically assembled and a profilometer, embedded in the transducer, measures the local distortion. The computed shape is used by an algorithm to compute in real-time the adapted delay laws compensating the distortions of 2D or 3D profiles. Those delay laws are transferred to the real-time UT acquisition system, which applies them to the piezoelectric elements. This self-adaptive process preserves, during the scanning, the features of the focused beam (orientation and focal depth) in the specimen. To validate the concept of the Smart Flexible Phased Array Transducer, prototypes have been integrated to detect flaws machined in mock-ups with realistic irregular 2D and 3D shapes. Inspections have been carried out on samples showing the enhancement performances of the "Smart Flexible Phased Array" and validating the mechanical and acoustical behaviors of these probes.