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Implementation of Special PA UT Techniques for Manufacturing Inspection of Friction Stir Welds

Appropriate and efficient non-destructive inspection of friction stir welds is a major challenge in the aerospace industry. Select advanced UT phased array techniques have been considered in view of replacing conventional UT and radiographic testing for friction stir welds of aerospace components. This paper will address how special UT examination techniques are implemented using phased array technology, to improve on the generic techniques. One of the main challenges is the time consuming multiple probe configurations required to inspect the areas of interest. A dedicated probe design is used to implement multiple simultaneous inspection configurations. Combining inspection configurations optimizes the inspection process by reducing requirement for the examiner manipulations while enhancing volumetric coverage. Theoretical considerations on probe design will be presented, as well as the practical implementation of the focal laws using the UltraVision® phased array calculator. The performance of the special technique will be illustrated with ultrasonic data from practical trials on representative specimens with artificial and realistic flaws. It will be shown how the UltraVision software supports comprehensive visualization of the data generated by the special techniques, and how the advanced tools allow for efficient data analysis.

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