Just the mention of the word crack, fissure or fracture is enough to panic the general public as it relates to aircraft that they may be using at some point. The idea of any kind of breach to an aircraft’s frame also sets off alarm bells in the minds of pilots, mechanics and everyone else involved in the industry. That is because these kinds of structural defects tend to get worse over time and can endanger the safety of passengers, crews, craft and cargo. So the question become remains: What is the best way to assess the structural integrity of aircraft in a way that does not involve destroying vital systems and parts? For our part we say that ultrasonic testing is the most effective NDT method to accomplish this.
Basic Principles of Ultrasonic Testing
Ultrasonic Testing (UT) uses high frequency sound energy to conduct examinations and make measurements. Since sound waves have a constant velocity when passing through a given substance, a change in acoustical impedance can be detected. This creates an echo from which an image can be made and interpreted. The results of these frequencies can be used for flaw detection/evaluation, dimensional measurements, material characterization, and much more.
The Advantages of Ultrasonic Testing Over other NDT Methods
Ultrasonic Inspection is a very fruitful and versatile NDT method in the aerospace industry. Some of the advantages of ultrasonic inspection over other kinds of NDT methods include:
- It is sensitive to subsurface imperfections.
- The depth of penetration for flaw detection or measurement is superior to most other NDT methods.
- It is highly accurate in determining reflector position and estimating size and shape.
- Almost no equipment of system preparation is required saving owner from lengthy downtime.
- Electronic equipment provides results that can be read and acted upon immediately.
- Detailed images can be produced with automated systems.
Why NDT is Pivotal to Aircraft Maintenance
Regularly scheduled maintenance is critical to ensuring aircraft safety. Therefore, it is crucial that mechanics use methods that can be used repeatedly and that are accurate without destroying key aircraft components and systems. Ultrasonic testing in particular, can detect problems that are of special concern in our industry such as corrosion, fatigue, fabrication defects, etc. It is important to use such methods in our industry in order to give the public greater peace of mind about the safety of air travel in general.
Our ultrasonic emersion tanks and automated ultrasonic inspection equipment can detect the minutest imperfections in an aircraft’s structure. Moreover, our equipment is beneficial to your business because it inflicts no damage on the components being tested and can mean the difference between life and death.