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Home > News > ​Matrix vs Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing: Which One is Better?

​Matrix vs Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing: Which One is Better?

Aug. 03, 2022

For non-destructive testing (NDT), the industry is increasingly using phased-array ultrasonic testing (PAUT). It has replaced other traditional ultrasonic and radiographic NDT methods with its high defect detection and accurate measurement capabilities. For industries such as aerospace, power generation, and pipeline services, phased-array ultrasonic inspection offers many advantages.

 

Advantages of phased-array ultrasonic inspection

PAUT offers a number of advantages over other NDT methods, including

 

1. Increased inspection speed

Phased array probes use multiple transducers, which helps to inspect larger surfaces in a short period of time. Multiple inspections can be performed using a single probe, saving time spent on setup reconfiguration and changing probes for each unique test.

 

Using a phased array system, digital feedback can be received instantly. This helps to identify defects faster and understand weld quality.

Multi-function Phased Array Ultrasonic Flaw Detector

 

Multi-function Phased Array Ultrasonic Flaw Detector

 

2. Improved flaw detection capability

In PAUT, the probe is used to guide and control the direction and shape of the beam produced by the transducer. Unlike eddy current techniques, the beam can be manipulated to scan the surface at different angles. The steered scanning and optimized control allow for increased coverage to detect defects in the material. Materials with complex geometries can be inspected by controlling the beam at angles that may be difficult to perform manually.  

 

PAUT is also effective in determining material thickness. During the inspection, ultrasound can be used to determine any changes in material thickness due to corrosion or erosion.


HS PA20-Fx phased array flaw detector is a high-end phased array flaw detector, which is specially developed for the high-end detection requirements of the market. The phased array flaw detector has 64/128 detection channels, which can detect complex structures or materials such as ultra-thick carbon steel and honeycomb plate. Matching a double crystal matrix array probe can solve the problem of thick stainless steel detection. The HS PA20-Fx phased array flaw detector can be equipped with two groups of TOFD detection channels, which can scan the weld with a thickness of 100 mm at one time.


E.g

Detect honeycomb panels with HS PA20-Fx phased array flaw detector description.


Actual Honeycomb Panel

 Actual Honeycomb Panel

3. Reliability of results

Phased array probes provide an excellent repeatability factor for test results. The ability to inspect complex geometries and detect defects makes PAUT a reliable testing method.

 

Matrix and Phased Array Ultrasound Testing

Matrix arrays and phased-array ultrasonic testing are two methods of ultrasonic testing (UT). They have similarities but also significant differences. Matrix and Phased Array UT differ from conventional ultrasound in that multiple elements are used to transmit and receive sound waves. In contrast, conventional UT probes use a single crystal to generate ultrasound and therefore can only produce a single A-scan (line graph) at a given location.


Matrix vs Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing

In Phased Array UT, the word "phased" refers to timing control, and the word "array" refers to multiple elements. The principle of mutual wave interference allows phased array systems to shape the ultrasonic beam. This is achieved by varying the time delay of the sound pulse from each element. As a result, the beam can be focused and the beam angle can be changed electronically.


HS PA20-Ex Multi-function Phased Array Ultrasonic Flaw Detector

 HS PA20-Ex Multi-function Phased Array Ultrasonic Flaw Detector

 

Focusing improves sensitivity at a given location while sweeping through a range of beam angles electronically helps in cases where access to the surface is limited, or when the internal features of interest are not parallel to the inspected surface. However, phased arrays are complex and require an understanding of more difficult concepts, such as the focus law that controls the timing of elemental pulses. Although powerful and versatile, the setup of phased array inspection can be time-consuming and the interpretation of results can be complex.

 

Finally, because phased-array probes typically have only one row of ultrasound elements (sometimes called a one-dimensional array), they can only produce a full-thickness slice (called a B-scan, D-scan, or S-scan) at a given probe location. To generate a plan view of the inspection area (called a C-scan) requires mechanical motion with an external tool, using an encoder or gantry assembly. d-scan or s-scan) at a given probe position.

 

Multi-function Phased Array Ultrasonic Flaw Detector HS PA20-Aex

Multi-function Phased Array Ultrasonic Flaw Detector HS PA20-Alex


To generate a plan view of the inspection area (called a C-scan), mechanical movement is required using an external tool, using an encoder or gantry assembly. d-scan or s-scan) at a given probe position. To generate a plan view of the inspection area (called a C-scan), mechanical movement with an external tool is required, using an encoder or gantry assembly.

 

In the term matrix array UT, "matrix" refers to a 2D array, in this context, a 2D array of ultrasonic elements.

 

In summary, both Matrix Array and Phased Array UT are advanced NDT methods that produce imaging results compared to the more basic line maps of traditional UT. Phased array ultrasound equipment can transmit sound over a range of angles and focal depths, giving it the flexibility to perform a variety of inspection tasks, including weld inspection. The trade-off is that phased-array ultrasound is relatively more complex, requires more expertise, and is more expensive than matrix-array ultrasound.


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