Towards an in-process ultrasonic phased array inspection method for narrow-gap welds

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The marriage of welding and Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) processes at the point of manufacture has enabled the detection and correction of defects during the welding process. This has demonstrated clear financial and production benefits by reducing weld rework and ensuring schedule certainty, however this is yet to be demonstrated for use with narrow-groove welding practises. Narrow-groove welds are notoriously difficult to inspect using traditional Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing (PAUT) techniques due to large thicknesses and the vertical nature of Lack-of-Sidewall Fusion (LOSWF) defects. This is further complicated by the presence of partially-filled weld geometries during in-process inspection, which cause geometric reflections which can mask or falsely indicate the presence of a defect. A solution to this is proposed in this work, by adapting a dual-tandem phased array imaging system for the imaging of LOSWF defects in a partial weld geometry. This considers a two array system utilising a phased array probe on each weld side, coupled with an advanced dual-aperture Full Matrix Capture (FMC) acquisition technique. Advanced multi-mode image processing algorithms such as the Total Focusing Method (TFM) and Phase Coherence Imaging (PCI), with adaptive delay law calculation, have shown high sensitivity to LOSWF defects in a mock partial weld geometry. Additionally, an adaptive Probe Centre Spacing (PCS) technique is defined for in-process inspection based on amplitude and phase coherence sensitivity in partial weld geometries, with the effects of partial weld reflections analysed and discussed. These results have demonstrated the effectiveness of a dual-tandem phased array approach to imagine LOSWF defects during the in-process inspection of narrow-gap welds.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103074
Number of pages11
JournalNDT and E International
Early online date23 Feb 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Feb 2024


  • ultrasonics
  • weld inspection
  • narrow-gap welding
  • in-process inspection
  • phased array ultrasonic testing (PAUT)


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