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Home > News > Thickness Gauges Vs Flaw Detectors: Which One to Choose?

Thickness Gauges Vs Flaw Detectors: Which One to Choose?

Oct. 21, 2022

What is the difference between an ultrasonic thickness gauge and a flaw detector? This is a common question when determining the right non-destructive testing (NDT) tool for an application, as the two devices are similar in some ways.

In this blog post, we will discuss their main similarities, differences, and unique advantages so that you can choose the instrument that is best suited to your task.


Similarities between ultrasonic thickness gauges and flaw detectors

Ultrasonic thickness gauges and flaw detectors use the same basic concepts. They both use a transducer that produces sound waves and measures the time it takes for the sound to leave the transducer, pass through the material, bounce off the reflector, and return to the transducer.


The reflection and transmission of high-frequency sound waves (known as ultrasound) have long been used to assess the integrity of welds as well as to test structural metals, pipes and tanks, boiler tubes, railway tracks and axles, aerospace composites, and many other industrial applications.

Digital Ultrasonic Flaw Detector

 Digital Ultrasonic Flaw Detector

Industrial ultrasonic inspection equipment continues to be popular because it is.

Cost-effective, fast, and reliable

Usually requires no preparation of specimens other than wetting with a coupling agent

No specific safety hazards or regulatory licensing requirements are associated with its use

The choice of ultrasonic thickness gauges or digital ultrasonic flaw detectors for an application depends very much on the primary objective of the measurement.


What is an ultrasonic thickness gauge?

The ultrasonic thickness gauge accurately measures the thickness of materials and locates surface corrosion or erosion from one side of the part. It can measure virtually any common engineering material such as metals, plastics, composites, fiberglass, ceramics, and glass.


Ultrasonic thickness gauges can measure the thickness of a wide range of products used for manufacturing quality control, such as plastic tubing and parts used in the medical industry. Inspectors also use them to test the structural integrity of critical components and infrastructure, such as aircraft turbine blades for wear or pipes and tanks for in-service corrosion.

Electromagnetic Ultrasonic Thickness Gauge

 Electromagnetic Ultrasonic Thickness Gauge

What is an ultrasonic flaw detector?

Ultrasonic flaw detectors are designed to locate and measure discontinuities such as cracks, voids, porosity, and debonding in various materials and welded joints. Defect detection may be applied to any standard engineering material. Most tests involve steel and other structural metals, but the flaw detector can also be used on plastics, composites, fiberglass, and ceramics. Flaw detectors are also capable of measuring the material thickness with reasonable accuracy.


Advice on choosing a flaw detector or thickness gauge

It comes down to the application and what is being measured to determine your ideal instrument. For applications where only repeatable accuracy and corrosion thickness measurements are required, we recommend using a thickness gauge. If you need to detect defects or voids, inspect welds and measure thickness, a flaw detector is a better choice.


We offer a diverse portfolio of non-destructive digital and portable ultrasonic flaw detectors and thickness gauges to suit your application and material measurement needs. If you want to get more information about the digital ultrasonic flaw detector, welcome to contact us today or request a quote.  

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