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Full Matrix Capture and Total Focusing Method: The Next Evolution in Ultrasonic Testing

Nondestructive testing is an ever-evolving field. New technologies arrive that supplement and sometimes supersede existing tech-niques, as they better facilitate the goal of nondestructive inspec-tions: to more accurately detect and characterize material defects, and thusly better ensure public safety. Within the domain of ultrasonic testing (UT), phased array ultrasonic testing (PAUT) techniques represented a leap forward in UT capabilities when they were adapted for industrial applications, allowing more flexibility in beam focusing, beam steering, and data imaging. This article will describe, in an introductory manner, what many feel is the next great stride to come in the advancement of industrial ultrasonics: full matrix capture (FMC) and the total focusing method (TFM). To preface the discussion of FMC/TFM, it is important to establish the two acronyms’ distinctions from the other. Although the terms are often used interchangeably and individually to explain the technique, the true full description of the inspection technique discussed in this article is FMC/TFM. In basic terms, FMC is a method of data acquisition, while TFM describes a postprocessing image reconstruction algorithm applied to the FMC data. To say FMC only means one has the raw acquired waveforms (A-scans) solely, and TFM cannot stand alone without the FMC dataset to image.

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