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What are the five common probes used in ultrasonic testing?

Ultrasonic testing is a widely used non-destructive testing technique that utilizes high-frequency sound waves to detect flaws or characterize materials. One of the key elements in ultrasonic testing is the use of probes, which are devices that emit and receive sound waves. There are various types of probes available for different applications. In this article, we will discuss the five most commonly used probes in ultrasonic testing.

1. Contact Probe

The contact probe, also known as a straight-beam probe, is one of the simplest and most frequently used probes in ultrasonic testing. It consists of a single crystal or a group of crystals embedded in a plastic or metal housing. The probe is placed in direct contact with the specimen being tested, and the sound waves travel perpendicular to the surface of the material. This probe is ideal for examining welds, castings, and other homogeneous materials.

2. Angle Probe

The angle probe, also called a shear wave probe, is designed to produce shear-type polarized sound waves. It features a wedge-shaped crystal assembly that creates an angled beam. By adjusting the angle of the probe, the sound waves can be directed at specific areas of interest. This probe is often used to inspect welded joints, where it provides better penetration and sensitivity compared to the contact probe.

3. Immersion Probe

The immersion probe is primarily used in situations where the object being inspected cannot be easily accessed or brought to the test equipment. This type of probe consists of a transducer immersed in water or another couplant medium. The sound waves are transmitted through the medium and enter the specimen. Immersion probes are commonly employed for testing large structures, such as turbine blades, pipes, and tanks.

4. Phased Array Probe

A phased array probe is a more advanced type of ultrasonic probe that utilizes multiple elements to generate and receive sound waves. These probes can emit beams at different angles and focus the sound waves electronically, allowing for improved imaging capabilities. Phased array probes are highly versatile and suitable for a wide range of applications, including weld inspections, corrosion mapping, and composite material examination.

5. Dual Element Probe

The dual element probe consists of two separate crystals housed in a single unit. One crystal emits the sound waves, while the other crystal receives them. This design allows for better near-surface resolution and increased sensitivity to small flaws. Dual element probes are commonly used to inspect materials with rough surfaces or when testing through coatings or paints.

In conclusion, the choice of probe in ultrasonic testing depends on the specific requirements of the inspection job. Contact probes, angle probes, immersion probes, phased array probes, and dual element probes are among the most commonly used probes in this field. Each probe type has its advantages and limitations, and proper selection is crucial to ensure accurate and reliable results in ultrasonic testing applications.


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