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Special Issue "Sensors for Ultrasonic NDT in Harsh Environments"

A special issue of Sensors (ISSN 1424-8220). This special issue belongs to the section "Physical Sensors".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 November 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Anthony N. Sinclair
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto, 5 King’s College Road, Toronto, ON M5S 3G8, Canada
Interests: ultrasonic nondestructive evaluation (NDE) with a focus on image enhancement via signal processing; phased arrays; precise measurement of defect size; ultrasonic transducer design; characterization of material interfaces
Dr. Rob Malkin
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TR, UK
Interests: nondestructive evaluation and acoustics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Ultrasonic nondestructive testing (NDT) has traditionally been conducted in relatively benign environments, with temperatures between 0°C and 100°C and negligible radiation fields. However, there is a growing demand for the use of ultrasonics in high radiation fields at nuclear power plants, or at high temperatures such as those encountered in online inspection or processing monitoring in the petrochemical, metal processing, and various manufacturing industries. Commercial ultrasonic transducers are generally unable to operate in such environments, due to the breakdown of individual components, loss of sensitivity or failure of the entire system integrity.

This Special Issue is focused on the design, manufacture, testing, and operational experience of ultrasonic transducers for NDT and process control in very harsh environments. Manuscripts are welcome that deal with the entire transducer, or that concentrate on the materials and design of a single transducer component.

Prof. Dr. Anthony N. Sinclair
Dr. Rob Malkin
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sensors is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Nondestructive testing
  • Ultrasonic transducers
  • High temperature
  • Radiation fields
  • Nuclear power
  • Process control
  • Flaw detection

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Design of a Phased Array EMAT for Inspection Applications in Liquid Sodium
Sensors 2019, 19(20), 4460; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19204460 - 15 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
This article describes the development of a French CEA in-house phased array Electro Magnetic Acoustic Transducer (EMAT) adapted to hot and opaque sodium environment for in-service inspection of Sodium Fast Reactors. The work presented herein aimed at improving in-service inspection techniques for the [...] Read more.
This article describes the development of a French CEA in-house phased array Electro Magnetic Acoustic Transducer (EMAT) adapted to hot and opaque sodium environment for in-service inspection of Sodium Fast Reactors. The work presented herein aimed at improving in-service inspection techniques for the ASTRID reactor project. The design process of the phased array EMAT is explained and followed by a review of laboratory experimental test results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Ultrasonic NDT in Harsh Environments)
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Open AccessArticle
2D Ultrasonic Antenna System for Imaging in Liquid Sodium
Sensors 2019, 19(19), 4334; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19194334 - 08 Oct 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Ultrasonic techniques are developed at CEA (French Alternative Energies and Nuclear Energy Commission) for in-service inspection of sodium-cooled reactors (SFRs). Among them, an ultrasound imaging system made up of two orthogonal antennas and originally based on an underwater imaging system is studied for [...] Read more.
Ultrasonic techniques are developed at CEA (French Alternative Energies and Nuclear Energy Commission) for in-service inspection of sodium-cooled reactors (SFRs). Among them, an ultrasound imaging system made up of two orthogonal antennas and originally based on an underwater imaging system is studied for long-distance vision in the liquid sodium of the reactor’s primary circuit. After a description of the imaging principle of this system, some results of a simulation study performed with the software CIVA in order to optimize the antenna parameters are presented. Then, experimental measurements carried out in a water tank illustrate the system capabilities. Finally, the limitations of the imaging performances and the ongoing search of solutions to address them are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Ultrasonic NDT in Harsh Environments)
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Open AccessArticle
Ultrasonic Transducer for Non-Destructive Testing of Structures Immersed in Liquid Sodium at 200 °C
Sensors 2019, 19(19), 4156; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19194156 - 25 Sep 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
TUCSS transducer (French acronym standing for Transducteur Ultrasonore pour CND Sous Sodium) is designed for performing NDT (Non-Destructive Testing) under liquid sodium. Under sodium, the tests results obtained show that these transducers have sufficiently good acoustic properties to perform basic NDT of a [...] Read more.
TUCSS transducer (French acronym standing for Transducteur Ultrasonore pour CND Sous Sodium) is designed for performing NDT (Non-Destructive Testing) under liquid sodium. Under sodium, the tests results obtained show that these transducers have sufficiently good acoustic properties to perform basic NDT of a structure immersed under liquid sodium at about 200 °C using conventional immersion ultrasonic technics. Artificial defects were made next to an X-shaped weld and could clearly be detected. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Ultrasonic NDT in Harsh Environments)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
State-of-the-Art and Practical Guide to Ultrasonic Transducers for Harsh Environments Including Temperatures above 2120 °F (1000 °C) and Neutron Flux above 1013 n/cm2
Sensors 2019, 19(21), 4755; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19214755 - 01 Nov 2019
Abstract
In field applications currently used for health monitoring and nondestructive testing, ultrasonic transducers primarily employ PZT5-H as the piezoelectric element for ultrasound transmission and detection. This material has a Curie–Weiss temperature that limits its use to about 210 °C. Some industrial applications require [...] Read more.
In field applications currently used for health monitoring and nondestructive testing, ultrasonic transducers primarily employ PZT5-H as the piezoelectric element for ultrasound transmission and detection. This material has a Curie–Weiss temperature that limits its use to about 210 °C. Some industrial applications require much higher temperatures, i.e., 1000–1200 °C and possible nuclear radiation up to 1020 n/cm2 when performance is required in a reactor environment. The goal of this paper is the survey and review of piezoelectric elements for use in harsh environments for the ultimate purpose for structural health monitoring (SHM), non-destructive evaluation (NDE) and material characterization (NDMC). The survey comprises the following categories: 1. High-temperature applications with single crystals, thick-film ceramics, and composite ceramics, 2. Radiation-tolerant materials, and 3. Spray-on transducers for harsh-environment applications. In each category the known characteristics are listed, and examples are given of performance in harsh environments. Highlighting some examples, the performance of single-crystal lithium niobate wafers is demonstrated up to 1100 °C. The wafers with the C-direction normal to the wafer plane were mounted on steel cylinders with high-temperature Sauereisen and silver paste wire mountings and tested in air. In another example, the practical use in harsh radiation environments aluminum nitride (AlN) was found to be a good candidate operating well in two different nuclear reactors. The radiation hardness of AlN was evident from the unaltered piezoelectric coefficient after a fast and thermal neutron exposure in a nuclear reactor core (thermal flux = 2.12 × 1013 ncm−2; fast flux 2 (>1.0 MeV) = 4.05 × 1013 ncm−2; gamma dose rate: 1 × 109 r/h; temperature: 400–500 °C). Additionally, some of the high-temperature transducers are shown to be capable of mounting without requiring coupling material. Pulse-echo signal amplitudes (peak-to-peak) for the first two reflections as a function of the temperature for lithium niobate thick-film, spray-on transducers were observed to temperatures of about 900 °C. Guided-wave send-and-receive operation in the 2–4 MHz range was demonstrated on 2–3 mm thick Aluminum (6061) structures for possible field deployable applications where standard ultrasonic coupling media do not survive because of the harsh environment. This approach would benefit steam generators and steam pipes where temperatures are above 210 °C. In summary, there are several promising approaches to ultrasonic transducers for harsh environments and this paper presents a survey based on literature searches and in-house laboratory observations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Ultrasonic NDT in Harsh Environments)
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Other

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Open AccessTechnical Note
Pb(Mg1/3Nb2/3)-PbTiO3-Based Ultrasonic Transducer for Detecting Infiltrated Water in Pressurized Water Reactor Fuel Rods
Sensors 2019, 19(12), 2662; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19122662 - 13 Jun 2019
Abstract
In this study, a high-sensitivity Pb(Mg1/3Nb2/3)O3-PbTiO3 (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 [...] Read more.
In this study, a high-sensitivity Pb( Mg 1 / 3 Nb 2 / 3 ) O 3 - PbTiO 3 (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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Ultrasonic NDT in Harsh Environments)
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