The present study is aimed at enhancing the ability of ultrasonic time of flight diffraction (TOFD) testing on austenitic stainless welds through revealing characteristics of ultrasonic wave propagation in the welds. The angle between the wave beam and the columnar grain is the key factor that affects wave scattering and attenuation. The signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of the test signal can be enhanced when the angle is within a specific range. Both the higher wave amplitude and the required angle between the primary ultrasonic beam and columnar grain in the weld region are easy to obtain through adjusting the probe’s center separation when the probes are arranged on the side of the weld root. However, the secondary wave is adopted to maintain testing requirements when the probes need to be put on the side of the weld crown because of inaccessibility on the side of the weld root. In the case of secondary wave testing, wave construction is so complicated that it is difficult to distinguish the diffracted wave in the testing signal of the secondary wave testing. Therefore, the wave propagation model for calculating the arrival time of wave echoes is also investigated to avoid wave confusion. Based on the revealing characteristics of wave propagation, either the primary wave or the secondary wave of the TOFD technique can be used to detect discontinuities in austenitic stainless welds.
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