Air-coupled ultrasound inspection of various materials

Ultrasonics. 2002 May;40(1-8):159-63. doi: 10.1016/s0041-624x(02)00130-0.

Abstract

Conventional ultrasound inspection, a standard non-destructive testing method, uses a coupling medium (e.g. water) because of impedance mismatch. This liquid contact is a drawback because it prevents inspection of many materials. There is a need, then, for air-coupled ultrasound testing, which is now feasible because of low impedance focused narrow band transducers and sensitive electronics, both of which improve the signal-to-noise ratio. We present results obtained on fibre-reinforced plastics, water sensitive materials (e.g. reinforced ceramics), and "shape adaptive" structures to reveal delaminations, impacts, and growth of internal defects. Actuators embedded in "adaptive" structures are used as transmitters while the receiver records the signals. Thus it is possible to image defect areas and non-linear behaviour of potential defects.