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Industrial Applications of Scanning Acoustic Microscopy

Scanning acoustic microscopy (SAM) is a modern, powerful technology for visualizing the internal structure of solid samples. It uses high frequency ultrasonic waves to get information from inside inhomogeneities and, therefore, is a sensitive, precise and safe technique for material characterization. It can be successfully used in scientific and research practices but has the greatest potential as a technology used in nondestructive quality evaluation. The present paper describes the methodology and different aspects of ultrasonic testing performed on a variety of industrial samples with a scanning acoustic microscope. The samples came from different areas of manufacturing and were intentionally chosen as revealing specific characteristics for different discontinuities. Acoustical images (B- and C-scans) were obtained with an optimized configuration of the microscope and analyzed for each sample. It was demonstrated that SAM technology can effectively detect, evaluate and classify imperfections: porosity in aluminum casting, undersized and cavernous resistance spot welds, low penetration depth of laser weld seams, insufficient or damaged areas of adhesive bonding of metals and fiber reinforced composites, and so on. The precision and value of the obtained acoustic images in some cases were proven by destructive testing.

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