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What Is Ultrasonic Testing and What it’s Used For?

Technology has revolutionized material testing and tank inspection with the introduction of various innovative non-destructive testing methods. One such NDT method is ultrasonic testing. Ultrasonic testing is a versatile testing method that can be used to test most storage tanks and components. Water tank inspection services companies widely use the ultrasonic testing method to inspect metallic and non-metallic materials and containers.

So, what is ultrasonic testing? And what is it used for? You will find answers to some of your ultrasonic testing related questions.

Ultrasonic testing is a method of gauging the tank’s thickness or component and characterizing its internal structure. High-frequency acoustic waves are used to perform the ultrasonic test. Often, the rates of the sound waves used are higher than human hearing frequencies. The ultrasonic testing range can vary from 500KHz to 20 MHz.

Understanding the working of Ultrasonic Testing

In Ultrasonic testing, the reflections in the sound waves are recorded to gauge the tank’s thickness and analyze it for surface cracks and faults. High-frequency sound waves travel in directions. High pitch sound waves can travel through any material till they come in contact with another medium. When the sound waves come across another medium like water or air, it bounces back to its source. This phenomenon is used to calculate the thickness of the tank or testing component.

Professionals from tank inspection company use ultrasonic testing on all types of tanks and components. The ultrasonic testing work best on both metallic and non-metallic material. The most common types of materials tested through ultrasonic testing are plastics, metals, ceramics, and composites. 

Ultrasonic testing is also widely used in the medical profession for diagnostic imaging and research. 

Besides being a versatile form of non-destructive testing, the ultrasonic testing method has various advantages. Some of them are listed below.

  • Being a non-destructive testing method, the test component or tank is left undamaged. There is no necessity to cut the component to inspect the inside structure.
  • In ultrasonic testing, the component is not exposed to chemicals or explosives; thus, there is no damage to the structure.
  • Even if the tank or component is accessible from the side, ultrasonic testing can be performed.
  • The health hazard to the professionals conducting the test is zero. Those using ultrasonic testing for medical purposes are also not exposed to any health hazards while performing the analysis.
  • The results and evaluation of ultrasonic testing are reliable and accurate.

Like most other non-destructive testing methods, ultrasonic testing has some downsides. However, there are relatively fewer disadvantages of ultrasonic testing. Some of them are:

Non-destructive testing methods like ultrasonic inspection are complex and challenging to carry out. Only professionals with experience can conduct the test and interpret the recordings.

In the case of complex materials that require testing, setting up the test can be challenging. The complexity of the test depends upon the thickness and nature of the component’s material.

Since it’s a complicated procedure, ultrasonic testing costs more than other NDTs.

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