A,B and C scan displays
Data Presentation Ultrasonic data can be collected and displayed in a number of different formats. The three most common formats are know in the NDT world as A-scan, B-scan and C-scan presentations. Each presentation mode provides a different way of looking at and evaluating the region of material being inspected. Modern computerized ultrasonic scanning systems can display data in all three presentation forms simultaneously.A-Scan Presentation The A-scan presentation displays the amount of received ultrasonic energy as a function of time. The relative amount of received energy is plotted along the vertical axis and the elapsed time (which may be related to the sound energy travel time within the material) is displayed along the horizontal axis. Most instruments with an A-scan display allow the signal to be displayed in its natural radio frequency form (RF), as a fully rectified RF signal, or as either the positive or negative half of the RF signal. In the A-scan presentation, relative discontinuity size can be estimated by comparing the signal amplitude obtained from an unknown reflector to that from a known reflector. Reflector depth can be determined by the position of the signal on the horizontal sweep. In the illustration of the A-scan presentation to the right, the initial pulse generated by the transducer is represented by the signal IP, which is near time zero. As the transducer is scanned along the surface of the part, four other signals are likely to appear at different times on the screen. When the transducer is in its far left position, only the IP signal and signal A, the sound energy reflecting from surface A, will be seen on the trace. As the transducer is scanned to the right, a signal from the backwall BW will appear later in time, showing that the sound has traveled farther to reach this surface. When the transducer is over flaw B, signal B will appear at a point on the time scale that is approximately halfway between the IP signal and the BW signal. Since the IP signal corresponds to the front surface of the material, this indicates that flaw B is about halfway between the front and back surfaces of the sample. When the transducer is moved over flaw C, signal C will appear earlier in time since the sound travel path is shorter and signal B will disappear since sound will no longer be reflecting from it.
The B-scan presentations is a profile (cross-sectional) view of the test specimen. In the B-scan, the time-of-flight (travel time) of the sound energy is displayed along the vertical axis and the linear position of the transducer is displayed along the horizontal axis. From the B-scan, the depth of the reflector and its approximate linear dimensions in the scan direction can be determined. The B-scan is typically produced by establishing a trigger gate on the A-scan. Whenever the signal intensity is great enough to trigger the gate, a point is produced on the B-scan. The gate is triggered by the sound reflecting from the backwall of the specimen and by smaller reflectors within the material. In the B-scan image above, line A is produced as the transducer is scanned over the reduced thickness portion of the specimen. When the transducer moves to the right of this section, the backwall line BW is produced. When the transducer is over flaws B and C, lines that are similar to the length of the flaws and at similar depths within the material are drawn on the B-scan. It should be noted that a limitation to this display technique is that reflectors may be masked by larger reflectors near the surface.
C-Scan Presentation The C-scan presentation provides a plan-type view of the location and size of test specimen features. The plane of the image is parallel to the scan pattern of the transducer. C-scan presentations are produced with an automated data acquisition system, such as a computer controlled immersion scanning system. Typically, a data collection gate is established on the A-scan and the amplitude or the time-of-flight of the signal is recorded at regular intervals as the transducer is scanned over the test piece. The relative signal amplitude or the time-of-flight is displayed as a shade of gray or a color for each of the positions where data was recorded. The C-scan presentation provides an image of the features that reflect and scatter the sound within and on the surfaces of the test piece. High resolution scans can produce very detailed images. Below are two ultrasonic C-scan images of a US quarter. Both images were produced using a pulse-echo technique with the transducer scanned over the head side in an immersion scanning system. For the C-scan image on the left, the gate was setup to capture the amplitude of the sound reflecting from the front surface of the quarter. Light areas in the image indicate areas that reflected a greater amount of energy back to the transducer. In the C-scan image on the right, the gate was moved to record the intensity of the sound reflecting from the back surface of the coin. The details on the back surface are clearly visible but front surface features are also still visible since the sound energy is affected by these features as it travels through the front surface of the coin.
Error Analysis All measurements, including ultrasonic measurements, however careful and scientific, are subject to some uncertainties. Error analysis is the study and evaluation of these uncertainties; its two main functions being to allow the practitioner to estimate how large the uncertainties are and to help him or her to reduce them when necessary. Because ultrasonics depends on measurements, evaluation and minimization of uncertainties is crucial. In science the word “error” does not mean “mistake” or “blunder” but rather the inevitable uncertainty of all measurements. Because they cannot be avoided, errors in this context are not, strictly speaking, “mistakes.” At best, they can be made as small as reasonably possible, and their size can be reliably estimated. To illustrate the inevitable occurrence of uncertainties surrounding attempts at measurement, let us consider a carpenter who must measure the height of a doorway to an X-ray vault in order to install a door. As a first rough measurement, she might simply look at the doorway and estimate that it is 210 cm high. This crude “measurement” is certainly subject to uncertainty. If pressed, the carpenter might express this uncertainty by admitting that the height could be as little as 205 or as much as 215 cm. If she wanted a more accurate measurement, she would use a tape measure, and she might find that the height is 211.3 cm. This measurement is certainly more precise than her original estimate, but it is obviously still subject to some uncertainty, since it is inconceivable that she could know the height to be exactly 211.3000 rather than 211.3001 cm, for example. There are many reasons for this remaining uncertainty. Some of these causes of uncertainty could be removed if enough care were taken. For example, one source of uncertainty might be that poor lighting is making it difficult to read the tape; this could be corrected by improved lighting. On the other hand, some sources of uncertainty are intrinsic to the process of measurement and can never be entirely removed. For instance, let us suppose the carpenter’s tape is graduated in half-centimeters. The top of the door will probably not coincide precisely with one of the half-centimeter marks, and if it does not, then the carpenter must estimate just where the top lies between two marks. Even if the top happens to coincide with one of the marks, the mark itself is perhaps a millimeter wide, so she must estimate just where the top lies within the mark. In either case, the carpenter ultimately must estimate where the top of the door lies relative to the markings on her tape, and this necessity causes some uncertainty in her answer. By buying a better tape with closer and finer markings, the carpenter can reduce her uncertainty, but she cannot eliminate it entirely. If she becomes obsessively determined to find the height of the door with the greatest precision that is technically possible, she could buy an expensive laser interferometer. But even the precision of an interferometer is limited to distances on the order of the wavelength of light (about 0.000005 meters). Although she would now be able to measure the height with fantastic precision, she still would not know the height of the doorway exactly. Furthermore, as the carpenter strives for greater precision, she will encounter an important problem of principle. She will certainly find that the height is different in different places. Even in one place, she will find that the height varies if the temperature and humidity vary, or even if she accidentally rubs off a thin layer of dirt. In other words, she will find that there is no such thing as one exact height of the doorway. This kind of problem is called a “problem of definition” (the height of the door is not well-defined and plays an important role in many scientific measurements). Our carpenter’s experiences illustrate what is found to be generally true. No physical quantity (a thickness, time between pulse-echoes, a transducer position, etc.) can be measured with complete certainty. With care we may be able to reduce the uncertainties until they are extremely small, but to eliminate them entirely is impossible. In everyday measurements we do not usually bother to discuss uncertainties. Sometimes the uncertainties are simply not interesting. If we say that the distance between home and school is 3 miles, it does not matter (for most purposes) whether this means “somewhere between 2.5 and 3.5 miles” or “somewhere between 2.99 and 3.01 miles.” Often the uncertainties are important, but can be allowed for instinctively and without explicit consideration. When our carpenter comes to fit her door, she must know its height with an uncertainty that is less than 1 mm or so. However, as long as the uncertainty is this small, the door will (for all practical purposes) be a perfect fit, x-rays will not leak out, and her concern with error analysis will come to an end.
Normal Beam Inspection Pulse-echo ultrasonic measurements can determine the location of a discontinuity in a part or structure by accurately measuring the time required for a short ultrasonic pulse generated by a transducer to travel through a thickness of material, reflect from the back or the surface of a discontinuity, and be returned to the transducer. In most applications, this time interval is a few microseconds or less. The two-way transit time measured is divided by two to account for the down-and-back travel path and multiplied by the velocity of sound in the test material. The result is expressed in the well-known relationship
d = vt/2 or v = 2d/t where d is the distance from the surface to the discontinuity in the test piece, v is the velocity of sound waves in the material, and t is the measured round-trip transit time. The diagram below allows you to move a transducer over the surface of a stainless steel test block and see return echoes as they would appear on an oscilloscope. The transducer employed is a 5 MHz broadband transducer 0.25 inches in diameter. The signals were generated with computer software similar to that found in the Thompson-Gray Measurement Model and UTSIM developed at the Center for Nondestructive Evaluation at Iowa State University.
Precision ultrasonic thickness gages usually operate at frequencies between 500 kHz and 100 MHz, by means of piezoelectric transducers that generate bursts of sound waves when excited by electrical pulses. A wide variety of transducers with various acoustic characteristics have been developed to meet the needs of industrial applications. Typically, lower frequencies are used to optimize penetration when measuring thick, highly attenuating or highly scattering materials, while higher frequencies will be recommended to optimize resolution in thinner, non-attenuating, non-scattering materials. In thickness gauging, ultrasonic techniques permit quick and reliable measurement of thickness without requiring access to both sides of a part. Accuracy’s as high as ±1 micron or ±0.0001 inch can be achieved in some applications. It is possible to measure most engineering materials ultrasonically, including metals, plastic, ceramics, composites, epoxies, and glass as well as liquid levels and the thickness of certain biological specimens. On-line or in-process measurement of extruded plastics or rolled metal often is possible, as is measurements of single layers or coatings in multilayer materials. Modern handheld gages are simple to use and very reliable. courtesy:ndt-ed.org/EducationResources/CommunityCollege/Ultrasonics/EquipmentTrans/DataPres.htm