In this study, a high-sensitivity Pb(
(PMN-PT)-based ultrasonic transducer was developed for detecting defective pressurized water reactor (PWR) fuel rods. To apply the PMN-PT substance to nuclear power plant facilities, given the need to guarantee their robustness against radioactive materials, the effects of neutron irradiation on PMN-PT were investigated. As a result, the major piezo-electric constants of PMN-PT, such as the electrical impedance, dielectric constant, and piezo-electric charge constant, were found to vary within acceptable ranges. This means that the PMN-PT could be used as the piezo-electric material in the ultrasonic transducer for nuclear power plants. The newly developed ultrasonic transducer was simulated using a modified KLM model for the through-transmission method and fabricated under the same conditions as in the simulation. The through-transmitted waveforms of normal and defective PWR fuel rods were obtained and compared with simulated results in the time and frequency domains. The response waveforms of the newly developed ultrasonic transducer for pressurized water reactor (PWR) fuel rods showed good agreement with the simulation outcome and could clearly detect defective specimens with high sensitivity.
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