Printer Friendly

Acoustic emission testing--defining a new standard of acoustic emission testing for pressure vessels: part 2: performance analysis of different configurations of real case testing and recommendations for developing a new guide for the application of acoustic emission.

Introduction

Acoustic Emission is especially useful in testing of pressure vessels, enabling global and rapid testing of large structures, significantly reducing maintenance time and shutdown of facilities. Methods have followed several regulatory rules, codes or standards that have been created, defining the general application rules of this technique. AE testing can be applied according to two techniques (zonal location and planar source location by triangulation or planar method, in short), without any major impact on the analysis criteria of data recorded during the testing. Indeed, the criteria are primarily derived from the zonal testing method, which has limitation in terms of accuracy of analysis, limited to very basic criteria of counting signals collected by the sensors.

In Part 1 of this study [2], the author highlighted, from simulation calculations, that there were significant differences in performance between these two techniques (up to a ratio 5 to 7). The effect of the acquisition threshold has been also quantified. Using planar location method, the use of the amplitude correction has been evaluated, and considered as a good tool for increasing the accuracy of the result. The study presented in this article, based on a real industrial case treated by CETIM, aims to highlight the differences in results of testing applied on the same structure with different configurations, all consistent with current rules. We will answer to these questions:

What is the actual performance of the two testing techniques?

Which level of accuracy can we affect, or, what uncertainty should we associate to these criteria?

What is the effect of operating conditions on the result of the testing?

A. Analysis of Testing and Data Processing Methodology: BPG--Real industrial case

A.1 Definition of the case studied--context

The performance for both techniques used will be compared in accordance with the recommendations from GBP (Best Practices Guideline) as regulated in France. This analysis uses a specific application case; a spherical storage tank with a 45-mm thick unalloyed steel wall, is externally painted. The AE wave attenuation curve is shown in Fig. 1.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

Based on the GBP recommendations, the maximum allowed distances between sensors for this case are:

* For zonal location, the maximum authorized distance between sensors is 1.5 times [Distance at the assessment threshold = 50 [dB.sub.AE] maximum]; or approximately 1.5 x 6 = 9 m.

* For planar location, the maximum authorized distance between sensors of a single mesh (maximum acquisition threshold of 50 [dB.sub.AE]), is equal to the distance to the acquisition threshold + 6 dB; approximately 6 m.

We analyzed real AE data of pressurization testing of the spherical tank, first using the planar configuration, and second by the zonal configuration. Table 1 gives the following main characteristics:
Table 1: Main characteristics of the two configurations of testing.

Configuration      Number of Sensors   Maximum Distance
                                       between sensors

Zonal Location     22                  About 8.6 m
Planar Location    77                  About 5.2 m


A.2 Location tests results from Hsu-Nielsen source

A.2.1 Test analysis: In order to assess the two testing configurations, it is interesting to analyze the performance in terms of the detectability of Hsu-Nielsen sources (standard AE source). These sources are generated prior to the pressure test on the singularities of the structure. These sources are generated on the vertical and circular welds (location tests 1 and 3), and on the welds of the supports (location test 2). For each case, we calculate the number of detected events (zonal location), and the number of localized events (planar location). We note that the real number of generated sources (pencil lead breaks) is very close to the number of localized events in planar testing configuration. Results are shown in Figs. 3-5.

In the case of location test 2, the difference of performance is significant between the two testing configurations. Only 2 events are located with the zonal testing configuration while 210 events are located with the planar testing configuration. This is because the presence of obstacles to the propagation of the AE waves (support of the tank) disrupts the detection of events by sensors close enough in theory. Therefore, only two events were collected by 3 or more sensors. However, the zonal testing configuration meets the minimum requirements for detection, since it receives each Hsu-Nielsen source by at least one sensor (zonal location).

[FIGURE 2a OMITTED]

[FIGURE 3a OMITTED]

Results of these tests are summarized in Table 2. Each entry indicates the number of detected or located events. The threshold level used are 50 dB or 65 dB. These tests show vast differences in terms of detection and level of information between the two test configurations. From these tests conducted on a real case, the zonal test configuration will be able to locate only 18% of the Hsu-Nielsen AE sources on average, against 100% for the planar testing configuration.

We also observe that in the case of planar configuration, the number of detected events exceeds the number of generated sources. This can be caused either by the detection of pencil-lead break rebounds, or through contacts caused by the operator during testing.

It is, however, important to remember that these two test configurations are in accordance with the rules defined in the 'Best Practices Guideline' (GBP).

[FIGURE 4a OMITTED]

[FIGURE 5a OMITTED]

A.2.2 Comparisons with simulation calculations: Referring to simulation calculations developed in Part 1 [2], we find:

* A location rate of 43% of the Hsu-Nielsen AE sources in the zonal test configuration,

* A location rate of 100% in the case of planar test configuration.

To illustrate these calculations, we observe in Fig. 6 the minimum locatable amplitudes in zonal test configuration (with the distance between sensors of ~8.6 m). When these amplitude values are less than 98 [dB.sub.AE] (approximate magnitude of a Hsu-Nielsen source), this means that the Hsu-Nielsen source is locatable. When this value is greater than 98 [dB.sub.AE], this means that the Hsu-Nielsen sources are no longer locatable.

We notice that the Hsu-Nielsen sources are locatable at the center of each mesh, and for an ideal configuration where no obstacle disturbs the propagation.

[FIGURE 6 OMITTED]

A.2.3 Conclusions:

1. These location tests carried out on a real structure show that the two test configurations produce different level of detection performance. Although the zonal test configuration is able to detect any Hsu-Nielsen source, it was able to locate only 18% of sources against 100% for the planar testing configuration. Nevertheless, these two configurations are in accordance with the rules defined in GBP.

2. There is a good correlation between simulation and tests. Indeed, the simulation, which predicted a location rate of around 40% for zonal test configuration does not take into account any obstacles to the propagation of AE waves. This value of 40% is one actually measured on the test location test 1, the only one for which no obstacle does not disturb the propagation.

The AE test requires pressurization, and its schedule is shown in Fig. 7. The analysis criteria come from GBP. First, the zonal location analysis is performed for the two test configurations. In the second step, we analyze the located AE activity.

[FIGURE 7 OMITTED]

A.3.1 Zonal location analysis: The analysis criteria used in this section are based on GBP [1] and are:

* AE events of amplitude greater than or equal to 50 [dB.sub.AE] (N1S). This criterion is calculated on the whole duration of the test,

* AE events of amplitude greater than or equal to 65 [dB.sub.AE] (N2S). This criterion is calculated on the whole duration of the test,

* AE recorded during the constant pressure stages. We consider the AE events of amplitude greater than or equal to 50 [dB.sub.AE] (N3S). This criterion is calculated from 2 minutes after the beginning of the plateau,

* Changes in activity and intensity during the test. The activity (number of AE events) and intensity (energy) are evaluated throughout the test.

* Felicity ratio calculated on the second stage of pressure rise.

Tables 3 a (zonal test configuration) and 3b (planar test configuration) include the values of analysis criteria for all areas (an area is the part of the structure covered by a sensor).

Several observations can be drawn from these two tests:

* The total number of recorded events ([greater than or equal to] 50 [dB.sub.AE]) is about 1300 for zonal test configuration against about 2500 for the planar test configuration, or about twice.

* We can translate that into saying that half of the information disappears from this type of analysis using a zonal test configuration: It is obvious that the higher the number of sensors, the better the coverage level of the structure. Therefore, we will have more chance to perceive AE events.

* If we analyze these results further, we note that some areas classified as category 2 with the planar test configuration disappear from this category with the zonal test configuration: For example, the area covered by the sensor c2 (Table 3b), which reported 292 events over 50 [dB.sub.AE] is classified in category 2.

* With zonal test configuration, we can assume that some of this activity is 'recovered' by the sensor c1, perhaps by the sensors c17 and c19, but much of this information is lost (moreover, none of the sensors, c1, c17 and c19 are classified in category 2);

* The classification criteria defined in the GBP are almost identical for both cases. For criteria N1S and N2S, values boundary between Level 1 and Level 2 are higher in the case of the zonal location. It is hardly justifiable, since two opposing effects should be taken into account:

--The average distance from a source to the sensor is higher in the case of the zonal configuration (then, the attenuation is higher, therefore less probability to record signal with amplitude exceeding 50 [dB.sub.AE])

--However, the areas being more extensive in this case, the number of events is potentially higher for each zone.

* The positions of the sensors used in the case of a zonal test configuration more strongly influence the result: In the case studied, if the sensors 2 and 4 were kept in place of the sensors c1 and c3, the sensor c2 area would have been classified in category 2 or more. Chance has a greater impact in the case of a zonal test configuration.

A.3.2 Comparison with simulation calculations: The simulation calculations developed in Part 1 [2], assuming an amplitude distribution of AE sources between 55 and 115 [dB.sub.AE], showed that 34.6% of sources were detected in the case of a zonal test configuration, against 59% (ratio 1.71) for a planar testing configuration. In the real case studied, we find this order of difference between the two configurations (1300 vs. 2500 events; ratio of 1.92). This shows that the hypothesis used in the simulation calculations are quite close to reality.

A.3.2 Planar location analysis: The planar location analysis is based on the description of the events that have been located. Only concentrations of localized events (clusters) are taken into account. Concentration thresholds are defined in the GBP [1]. The results of location analysis obtained in the two test configurations are illustrated in Figs. 8a to 8d below. First, we observe that the number of localized events is significantly different with the two configurations:

* On the lower hemisphere, 37 events for the zonal test configuration vs. 139 with the planar test configuration,

* On the upper hemisphere, 45 events for the zonal test configuration vs 144 with the planar test configuration.

[FIGURE 8a OMITTED]

[FIGURE 8b OMITTED]

[FIGURE 8c OMITTED]

Thus, less than 30% of events located with the planar test configuration are observed with a zonal test configuration. On the other hand, if we observe carefully the concentration areas (clusters) identified in the 2 cases, we note:

* On the lower hemisphere, 1 cluster for the zonal test configuration vs. 3 with the planar test configuration; the cluster near c2 (12 events), classified in category 2 with the planar test configuration, does not appear with the zonal test configuration.

* On the upper hemisphere, 1 cluster for the zonal test configuration vs. 2 with the planar test configuration.

[FIGURE 8d OMITTED]

A.3.3 Conclusions: If we make a synthesis of both analyses (zonal and planar), we reach the conclusions summarized in Table 4:
Table 4: Summary of analysis performed in both test configurations.

Configuration               Zonal test            Planar test
                          configuration          configuration

Areas classified as     c35, c39, c41, c65     c2, c21, c25, c36,
Category 2                     and             c40, c41, c65 and
                                                      c77

Clusters classified             --            1 cluster (near c2)
as Category 2


If the differences in this table seem minor, the consequences in terms of further investigations on them are very different: In fact, for any area or cluster in category 2 or more, further investigations are recommended. Therefore, considering the differences in distances between sensors for both test configurations, it would be necessary to conduct these investigations on:

* 5 areas of 58 [m.sup.2] or 290 [m.sup.2] for the zonal test configuration

* 8 areas of 21 [m.sup.2] or 168 [m.sup.2] for the planar test configuration (in fact, the surface would be lower, since the sensors are closer to each other near the poles of the spherical tank).

On the other hand, it is important to note that the information from these two tests is not identical: For example, areas c2 and c21, classified in category 2 with the planar test configuration (including a cluster classified in category 2, near c2) will not undergo any further investigation after the AE inspection carried out with the zonal test configuration.

Based on the case discussed above, we adopt, in this section, an acquisition threshold of 40 [dB.sub.AE] (instead of 50 [dB.sub.AE] in the previous sections). The test configuration is the one that uses 77 sensors (planar test configuration). Anxious to achieve the testing of this spherical tank in the best detection conditions, CETIM had adopted this acquisition threshold value, allowing a better detection without being disturbed by environmental conditions. The analysis follows the same pattern as in the previous section, under GBP requirements: First, zonal location analysis, and second, analysis of the located AE activity.

A.4.1 Zonal location analysis: The zonal location analysis is identical to that conducted in A.3.1 for the planar test configuration. Indeed, the zonal location analysis, as defined in the GBP, takes into account only the events of magnitude greater than or equal to 50 [dB.sub.AE]. The conclusions of the analysis are identical to those in A.3.1. However, we note that approximately 11,500 events were recorded at acquisition threshold of 40 [dB.sub.AE] , vs. about 2500 for a threshold of 50 [dB.sub.AE].

A.4.2 Planar location analysis: The analysis in planar location provides different results from those described in A.3.2, because the location capability is enhanced by the lower acquisition threshold used. Figures 9a and 9b illustrate the located AE activity on both hemispheres. In this case, the number of located events is:

* On the lower hemisphere, 460 vs. 139 AE events observed with a threshold of 50 [dB.sub.AE], and 37 with the zonal test configuration,

* On the upper hemisphere, 440 vs 144 events observed with a threshold of 50 [dB.sub.AE], and 45 with the zonal test configuration.

Therefore, lowering the threshold from 50 to 40 [dB.sub.AE] will have multiplied by 3 the number of located AE events; In this configuration, we get about 10 times more located events than zonal test configuration.

The information obtained is more extensive with a threshold of 40 [dB.sub.AE]: 24 clusters of more than 5 events are identified, vs. 5 with a threshold of 50 [dB.sub.AE]. The information obtained with a higher threshold is included at a lower acquisition threshold, but this information is amplified. For example, the cluster located near c2, which does not appear with the zonal test configuration, is identified as having 12 events with the planar testing configuration (50 [dB.sub.AE] threshold), and becomes a region with 55 events by lowering the acquisition threshold to 40 [dB.sub.AE].

It is important to note that using a lower acquisition threshold allows more explicit information: For example, the area of sensor c21, classified in category 2, did not have any cluster identified with a threshold of 50 [dB.sub.AE]. Lowering the threshold has highlighted a cluster in this area. Another example: a located high activity area (15 events) appears between sensors c16, c27 and c28. This active region was not detected with a threshold of 50 [dB.sub.AE], and it did not belong to a category-2 area.

A.4.3 Conclusions: The acquisition threshold is a fundamental parameter of an AE test. The example of the real case shows that lowering the threshold from 50 to 40 [dB.sub.AE] amplifies the information picked up by a factor of three. A volume of information three times larger allows greater accuracy in diagnosis, and therefore a smaller area of investigation for possible additional testing. The effect of the acquisition threshold is not taken into account in GBP, which imposes a 'maximum' acquisition threshold, not to exceed. The zonal analysis is still limited to AE events of magnitude exceeding 50 [dB.sub.AE], and analysis of located AE events has the same criteria, regardless of the threshold used for acquisition.

[FIGURE 9a OMITTED]

[FIGURE 9b OMITTED]

A.4.4 What is the interest of increasing the sensitivity of a testing? Additional checks (penetrant testing, magnetic particle testing, ultrasonic testing) were made following the AE results (realized with the planar test configuration, with a 40 [dB.sub.AE] acquisition threshold), on a majority of the emissive regions. It was found that 8 of the tested areas (clusters) showed significant indications (acceptable for the most part according to codes, unacceptable for the others). None of these regions would have been the subject of further investigations following the AE test carried out with the zonal test configuration (22 sensors). Only one of these regions would have been investigated following the AE test with the planar test configuration (77 sensors), with an acquisition threshold of 50 [dB.sub.AE].

This example shows that an application guide such as GBP in France, or other guides substantially equivalent in other countries do not allow reproducibility of AE testing, authorizing very different test configurations, whose differences are not taken into account in the analysis and interpretation of data recorded. So, being in accordance with such a guide does not guarantee the relevance of the result.

A. 4.5 Comparisons with simulation calculations The simulation calculations developed in Part 1 [2], assuming a distribution amplitude of AE sources between 55 and 115 [dB.sub.AE], showed that the effect of lowering the acquisition threshold from 50 to 40 [dB.sub.AE] for a planar test configuration, reduces the rate of non-detected sources by 3, and multiplies by 2 the rate of located AE sources. In the cases studied, we observed that the number of AE events (= detected sources) increased from 2500 to 11500, a ratio of about 4.6. The number of located AE sources has been multiplied by 3. Even if the results do not completely fit together, this shows that the assumptions used in the simulation calculations are however quite close to reality.

B. Pathways of Progress in the AE Test Implementation--Recommendations for Developing a new Guide for AE application

B.1 The necessity of a planar testing configuration

The analysis developed from numerical simulations or from real example (see preceding section 'A') shows that the first parameter influencing the testing is the configuration; that is to say, the number and arrangement of the sensors coupled to the structure. On this point, too much flexibility is allowed under the current guideline because only 'minimum' rules are imposed. On the other hand, both techniques (planar location mode and zonal location mode) are allowed, with almost no impact on the methods and analytical criteria, which are the same in both cases.

In order to make guideline meaningful, we should consider two new rules. The first rule needed is to reduce drastically the choice in the configuration of testing. That is to say, the distances between sensors have to be justified by demonstrating and overcoming the impact of the configuration adopted on the 'coverage level' of the structure. Given the large difference in performance between the zonal and planar test configurations, it seems reasonable to recommend, if not impose, the second rule of using the planar test configuration. By the addition of these two rules, AE tests will be more reliable, precise and reproducible.

B.2 Reference source

The term 'planar test configuration', which means that we are capable of carrying a planar location, is not sufficient to establish a strict framework. Indeed, the ability of a test configuration to locate is evaluated for a given source type, characterized by power or amplitude. Thus, the Hsu-Nielsen source (0.5 mm-2H) is now taken as a reference.

The comparison of data from simulation (see Part 1 [2]) with tests on real structures (unalloyed steel structure) tends to show that a distribution amplitude source centered on 85 [dB.sub.AE] is fairly close to experimental data. This shows that taking as reference the Hsu-Nielsen source (0.5 mm-2H), amplitude source between 95 and 100 [dB.sub.AE] is a minimum requirement of 'good supervision' of a trial. A source of lower energy, whose amplitude is closer to 85 [dB.sub.AE] could be taken as new reference. The integration of these requirements in a practice guide then will involve, from the end-users to justify its test configuration, firstly by providing the attenuation curve taken into account, and secondly by demonstrating, either by simulation or by experiment, that the tested structure is completely covered. The advantage of simulation is to highlight and identify the less-well monitored area, and to adopt compensatory measures if necessary.

B.3 Simulation: A tool for evaluating a test configuration

The simulation also enable an evaluation of 'performance' of a given test configuration by calculating the percentage of detection and location of a reference population of AE sources (e.g., amplitude centered on 85 [dB.sub.AE], between 55 and 115 [dB.sub.AE]). Simple and synthetics criteria, such as the rate of detected sources, the rate of located sources, the overall error of amplitude measurement could be calculated. By the use of mapping (see e.g., Figs. 11a and b), it allows visualizing the sensitivity level of a testing. This assessment enables:

* To compare quantitatively the performance of AE tests. Customers, users of this technology, and organizations using the results of a testing on one hand can take into account the quality level of a testing, and also ask, following the criticality of the tested device, a minimum requirement, more precisely determined by these criteria.

* To adjust classification criteria to the performance level of the test configuration adopted. Indeed, currently, no guide, standard or code does define the classification rule incorporating the 'coverage' testing.

B.4 The advantage of the amplitude correction

The calculations developed in Part 1 [2] showed that taking into account the information from the location calculation, correcting the measured amplitude to reach the amplitude at the source allows appreciable gain in terms of accuracy of information: In fact, any located source is measured, in theory, without any error. In the case studied [2], for a planar test configuration, the average error of amplitude measurement on the detected AE sources would decrease from 26.1 to 14.7 [dB.sub.AE] (amplitude distribution of sources centered on 85 [dB.sub.AE]). This implies again that the test configuration should allow planar location as complete as possible, prohibiting the use of a zonal test configuration.

If we consider the case studied in Section A, we can observe (Figs. 10a and 10b) that the contribution of the amplitude correction modifies the information: For location tests with Hsu-Nielsen sources (Fig. 10a), the amplitudes are measured between 50 and 90 [dB.sub.AE] (average value of about 70 [dB.sub.AE]). After correction, the amplitudes are between 80 and 107 [dB.sub.AE] (average value of 94 [dB.sub.AE]). We should find in theory the origin amplitude of a Hsu-Nielsen source, which is approximately 100 [dB.sub.AE]. The amplitude correction can result in an average value close to the theory, and concentrates all the sources in the range of 27 dB. Without correction, the amplitudes are spread over an interval of 40 dB, centered at 70 [dB.sub.AE], which is 30 dB below the real value.

If we analyze the AE test results of this spherical tank during the pressure test (Fig. 10b), the amplitude correction changes the perception that we may have observed on the emitting regions: For example, the region 'D' has a maximum amplitude of 76.1 [dB.sub.AE] without amplitude correction, and the region 'K' 75.7 [dB.sub.AE]. After amplitude correction, the region 'D' has a maximum amplitude of 91.5 [dB.sub.AE], and the region 'K' 104.1 [dB.sub.AE]. Their ranking (in terms of maximum amplitude) is reversed. The information is much more relevant, without demanding excessive effort of analysis, in the case where the testing is implemented for a planar location.

[FIGURE 10a OMITTED]

[FIGURE 10b OMITTED]

In order to summarize the study developed in this article, and to show the great disparity in results of AE testing allowed by the existing guides, such as GBP in France, we can take the case of two active regions:

Region K:

--In the case of zonal test configuration, it is absolutely not detected and no inspection required after test.

--In the case of planar test configuration, with an acquisition threshold of 50 [dB.sub.AE], it belongs to category 2 (area of the sensor c40), and a cluster of 6 events appears (category 1).

--In the case of planar test configuration, with an acquisition threshold of 40 [dB.sub.AE], it belongs to category 2 (area of the sensor c40), and it is considered as an emissive region (cluster of 17 events), classified in category 2 (with a ranking 4 / 11 of the emissive regions).

--In the case of planar test configuration, with an acquisition threshold of 40 [dB.sub.AE], and the use of amplitude correction, it becomes the 2nd most emissive region.

This region, corresponding to a section of a vertical weld, has been inspected by ultrasound after the AE test. This revealed the presence of 3 internal indications, unacceptable under the applicable standards.

Region D:

--In the case of zonal test configuration, it is absolutely not detected and no inspection required after test.

--In the case of planar test configuration, with an acquisition threshold of 50 [dB.sub.AE], it is absolutely not detected and no inspection required after test.

--In the case of planar test configuration, with an acquisition threshold of 40 [dB.sub.AE], it belongs to an emissive region (cluster of 5 events), classified in category 1 (with a ranking of 3 / 11 of the emissive regions).

--In the case of planar test configuration, an acquisition threshold of 40 [dB.sub.AE], and the use of amplitude correction, its ranking changes from 3 / 11 to 7 / 11.

This region, corresponding to a section of a vertical weld, has been inspected by ultrasound after the AE test. This revealed the presence of 5 indications acceptable under the applicable standards.

These conclusions demonstrate first the benefit of using a planar test configuration, and secondly the contribution of applying the amplitude correction in the diagnosis.

B.5 A correction factor: the rate of local coverage

Although the planar test configuration allows to locate AE sources at least equivalent to a Hsu-Nielsen source, it is however important to be aware that the coverage of a structure is not homogeneous. The simulations developed at CETIM by Catty and Pinto using the CASTOR[R] software (for the calculation of pressure vessels), as represented in Figs. 11a and 11b illustrate this inhomogeneity. In Fig. 11a, we can observe that in the zonal test configuration, the distances (distance from the sensor reaching the 3rd) are between 3.3 m and 9 m. Figure 11b (planar test configuration) shows that these values fall between 1.4 m and 4.4 m.

[FIGURE 11a OMITTED]

[FIGURE 11b OMITTED]

This kind of picture, once interpreted, can prove that a Hsu-Nielsen source can be located anywhere with the planar test configuration, and on the contrary only on a limited part of the spherical tank (represented in blue in Fig. 11a) in the case of the zonal test configuration. We also note that the presence of nozzles (represented by a hole in Fig. 11b) can be taken into account. However, the modelling of the disturbance of acoustic waves caused by such obstacles must be refined.

By recognizing this situation, inherent to the AE technique, we could act on the implementation of AE testing:

--Avoid placing the 'critical' regions in the less-well monitored areas of the vessel.

--Refine the diagnosis, for example, by adding an analysis parameter that would 'evaluate' the level of AE activity observed in a region compared to the minimum detectable. That is, a cluster with an average amplitude of 90 [dB.sub.AE] observed in an area where the minimum detectable amplitude is 60 [dB.sub.AE] has necessarily been well detected and localized. If the same cluster is located in an area whose minimum detectable amplitude is 90 [dB.sub.AE], it will be necessary to consider it differently.

B.6 Conclusions: Towards an application guide based on planar location

The AE test aims to detect emissive phenomena in a structure under examination. Then, the central concern of an application guide should be the detectability of a potential active source. The current guides are, however, constructed from an 'instrumentation' approach. The recommendations for implementing this technique and analysis criteria do not take into account (or only partly) what we must detect, but what one is capable of recording. For example, defining a criterion for counting the number of events exceeding a defined amplitude (N1S, N2S in GBP) does not provide relevant and reproducible information from one test to another, if we do not take into account, for example, the surface covered by a sensor. It would be necessary to rebuild a process from what is sought, meaning to ask the question: How can I be sure of detecting a source, with an amplitude at the origin of X [dB.sub.AE], taking into account its position on the structure? For instance, the implementation guide should establish for each testing, the following phases:

* Phase 1: From the geometry of the structure and attenuation of acoustic waves, defining a grid plan, justified by calculation or modelling. The proposed mesh must meet specific criteria: Overall coverage rate, local minimum and maximum coverage rate, taking care to specify the source of reference taken for the calculation of these criteria. After this phase, the mesh being defined in terms of geometry, coverage surfaces of each sensor are known.

* Phase 2: Defining criteria for zonal analysis related to the covered area and attenuation. This step consists in adjusting the criteria for zonal analysis to the specific case studied. We should remember that the adjustment of analysis criteria should allow treating each case the same way.

* Phase 3 (instrumentation of the structure, preliminary verification, pressure test, post-test verification): The different phases are substantially identical to those currently practiced. However, special attention should be paid to the verification of the location. It is especially important to check the conditions of localization in the most penalizing regions of the structure, which are not necessarily located close to sensors (see Sections A.2 and B.5). This step must also verify that the process of amplitude correction permits to find the real source amplitudes (allowing a margin of error).

* Phase 4 (zonal analysis): The analysis is globally identical to the one currently used. However, some of the criteria are poorly defined, such as, for example, estimating the evolution of the activity or the intensity, or Felicity ratio. This new version of the Guide (see Part 3 under preparation) will lay down rules that will make the calculation of these parameters independent of the operator. On the other hand, more accurate analysis criteria will be defined, replacing the only 3 classes actually used.

* Phase 5 (analysis of the located activity): This step necessarily incorporates the amplitude correction on the observed events. Specific criteria for this analysis will be integrated so that it is not confined to a single count of events, which is currently not identical from one testing to another, since it is related to the distance between sensors. Thus, criteria of density of events per square meter, average or maximum will be calculated to give a more physical sense to this analysis.

The implementation of these changes should provide more reproducibility of AE testing, and a more relevant diagnosis.

Conclusions

Acoustic emission is a unique method of testing, with great potential because it allows rapid diagnosis of large structures in a minimum time, enabling operators to minimize downtime of their facilities. All regulatory rules, codes and standards, which define the general application rules for this technique, authorize use of AE according to two methods (zonal location and planar location by triangulation). However, no comparative study of their performance, thus enabling their assessment, has been carried out.

The study described here from a real case shows that the differences of performance found between these two techniques are substantial, and therefore have a major impact on the results of a testing. Moreover, it shows that an application guide such as GBP does not implement reproducibility of AE testing, allowing too diverse test configurations. Moreover their differences are not taken into account in the analysis and interpretation of data recorded. So, being consistent with such a guide does not guarantee the relevance of the result.

Many ways of improvement exist, some of which are described in this article:

* Reducing drastically the choice in the test configuration, such as the distances between sensors, and better controlling the impact of the configuration adopted on the 'coverage level' of the structure,

* Evaluating the performance of a given test configuration using simple and synthetic criteria, such as the rate of detected sources, the rate of located sources, the overall error of measurement of amplitude, etc.

* Systematically applying amplitude correction to make a more relevant diagnosis.

* Taking into account the local rate of coverage in order to monitor most critical areas optimally.

* Adapting the analysis criteria to the test configuration, making these criteria closer to the structure.

Finally, the results of this study show that using a test configuration for planar location method should be preferred. By increasing sensitivity and allowing the calculation of the real amplitude of an active source, it can greatly minimize the error levels on the measure, and thus the test results.

Backed by its experience, CETIM now plans to use these assessment tools and carry out well-controlled AE testing. Nevertheless, the professional guides, standards and codes should change so as to allow the industry to take advantage of the real potential of acoustic emission.

Reference

[1] Guide to good practice for AE testing of pressure equipment, 2nd Edition, June 2009. AFIAP (French Association of Pressure Equipment Engineers). Edited by SADAVE.

[2] J. Catty, "Acoustic Emission Testing--Defining a new standard of acoustic emission testing for pressure vessels Part 1: Quantitative and comparative performance analysis of zonal location and triangulation methods", Journal of Acoustic Emission, 27 (2009) 299-313.

JOHANN CATTY

CETIM, 52 Avenue Felix Louat, 60304 Senlis Cedex, France
Table 2: Number of detected and located events according to test
configurations for 3 tests.

Configuration      Zonal Configuration    Zonal Configuration
                    Number of Detected     Number of Located
                      Events, A>=50          Events, A>=65
                       [dB.sub.AE]            [dB.sub.AE]

Location Test 1            250                     85
Location Test 2            245                     2
Location Test 3            375                     50

Configuration      Planar Configuration   Planar Configuration
                    Number of Detected     Number of Located
                      Events, A>=50          Events, A>=65
                       [dB.sub.AE]            [dB.sub.AE]

Location Test 1            360                    210
Location Test 2            350                    210
Location Test 3            500                    350

Table 3 a: Classification table, according to GBP, in the case of the
zonal test configuration.

Voie     N1S     N2S                     N3S

                        5.93    9.50    6.96    9.50    11.42
                        Bars    Bars    Bars    Bars    Bars
                        no 1    no 1    no 1    no 2    no 1

1        63       2
3        54       2
13       47       4               1
15       29       1
17       25       2
19       23       8
20       22       1
22       17       2
35       73       6               1       1
37       57      11                                       2
39      139       8                                       1
41       89       6                       1       3       1
43       50       7                       1
44       59      14                               1
57       40       1               1       1
59       33       6
61       55       9
63       33       8       2
65      100      10                               1
66       41       4       1                               1
76      130       3       1       5               2       3
77      156       9       2       2

Voie                             N3S

        12,0    12,6    13.24   16.36   19.41   22.49   11.42
        Bars    Bars    Bars    Bars    Bars    Bars    Bars
        no 1    no 1    no 1    no 1    no 1    no 1    no 2

1                                                 8
3                                 1       1       2
13                                        5
15                                1       1
17                                                1
19                                                2
20                        4
22
35                1       1       2       1       3
37                        1               5       6
39                        1       2       3       2
41                1               1               4
43                        3
44                        1               3               1
57                                1       4       3
59                                2       1
61                                2       4       5
63        1                       1       1       3       1
65                                3       1
66                                        1
76        2               2       2       9       8
77                1       1       3       4       6

Voie         N3S        Act.    Int.     Rf     Classe
                                                Finale
        19.44   22.43
        Bars     B.
        no 2    no 2

1         1               2       1      >1       1
3                 1       2       1      >1       1
13                        2       2      >1       1
15                        1       1      >1       1
17                                2      >1       1
19                                       >1       1
20                                1      >1       1
22                               1_      >1       1
35                2       2              >1       2
37        1       1       2              >1       1
39                1       2       1      >1       2
41                        2       2      >1       2
43                        2              >1       1
44                2       1              >1       1
57                        1       1      >1       1
59                        1       2      >1       1
61                2       2       2      >1       1
63                        1              >1       1
65                        2              >1       2
66                        1       2      >1       1
76                        2       1      >1       1
77                        1       2     0.98      2

Table 3b: Classification table, according to GBP, in the case of
planar test configuration.

Voie     N1S     N2S    N3S              N3S

                        5,93    9,50    6,96    9,50    11,42
                        Bars    Bars    Bars    Bars    Bars
                        no 1    no 1    no 1    no 2    no 1

1         9       1
2       292      24
3        20       1
4        39       2               1
5         6
6         5
7        17       4               1
8        18
9        20
10        9       1
11       26
12       17
13       17                       1
14       38       3
15       11       1
16        3
17       11       1
18       27      11
19       10       5
20       14
21       61       9
22        6
23       39       9
24       18                       2
25      102      21
26        4
27        6                       1
28        8       1
29        8
30        3       1
31        3
32       74       4                       1
33       28       1
34       33       6
35       48       1
36      118       9                       2
37       26       2                                       1
38       39       1                                       1
39       61       4
40       94      16       2
41       69       5                       1       2       1
42       12       2
43       36       4                       1
44       29       5                               1
45       13
46       16       2
47       19       1                       2       1       1
48       22       5                                       1
49       11       3       1                       1       2
50       30      13
51       15               1
52       29       5                               1       3
53       10       2                                       1
54       33       7       1                       2
55       12       2                                       1
56       17       8
57       18                       1
58       18       2                       2
59       20
60       43       5                               1       2
51       14       1
62       24       3
63       14       3       2
64       23       4       1                       3       2
65       85       9                               1
66       30       2       1                               1
67       18       2
68       22       2
69       24       6       1       1
70       18       2                               2       1
71       29       4
72       16                       1
73       26               1                       3       3
74       14                                       1
75       10       2               1
76      101       3       1       2                       3
77      132       6       2       2

Voie                             N3S

        12,0    12,6    13,24   16,36   19,41   22,49   11,42
        Bars    Bars    Bars    Bars    Bars    Bars    Bars
        no 1    no 1    no 1    no 1    no 1    no 1    no 2

1                                                 1
2                         2       1       7      19       2
3                                 1
4                                                 2
5                                         1
6
7
8                         1
9
10
11
12                                                4
13
14                4
15
16
17                                                1
18
19                                                1
20                        4
21
22
23
24
25                                       14
26
27                                                2
28
29                                        1
30                        1
31                        2
32                                        1
33                                3
34                                        2
35                        1       1       1       1
36                                2       1       1
37                        1               3       1
38                                                1
39                        1       1       1
40                                        6       8
41                1               1               2
42                                        1
43                        2
44                        1               1               1
45                                                1
46
47        1               1
48                                        3
49                1
50                                8       5       1
51        1                       1       1
52                        1
53
54                                1               2
55        1
56                                1       1
57                                1       3       2
58                                1       3
59                                2       1
60                                        1       6
51                                                1
62                        1       3       4
63        1                       1       1       2       1
64                        1                       1
65                                3       1
66
67                1                               2
68                                1               1
69                                1               4
70        1                               1       1
71                                2       2       1
72        1       1               1
73        2                       1       1
74                                        1
75                1                               1
76        2               1       2       9       8
77                1       1       1       4       6

Voie        N3S         Act.    Int.     Rf    Classe
                                               Finale
        19,44   22,48
        Bars     B.
        no 2    no 2

1         1               1       1      >1      1
2                 3       3       2      >1      2
3                         1       1      >1      1
4                         1       1      >1      1
5                         1       1      >1      1
6                         1       1      >1      1
7                         1       1      >1      1
8                         1       1      >1      1
9                         1       1      >1      1
10                        1       1      >1      1
11                        1       1      >1      1
12                        1       1      >1      1
13                        1       1      >1      1
14                        1       2      >1      1
15                        1       1      >1      1
16                        1       1      >1      1
17                        1       1      >1      1
18                        1       3      >1      1
19                        1       3      >1      1
20                        1       1      >1      1
21                1       1       3      >1      1
22                        1       1      >1      1
23                2       1       2      >1      1
24                        1       2      >1      1
25        7               3       3      >1      2
26                        1       1      >1      1
27                        1       1      >1      1
28                        1       2      >1      1
29                        1       1      >1      1
30                        1       2      >1      1
31                        1       1      >1      1
32                        1       1      >1      1
33                        1       1      >1      1
34                1       2       3      >1      1
35                2       2       2      >1      1
36                2       2       2     0.99     2
37                        1       2      >1      1
38                5       2       2      >1      1
39                        2       1      >1      1
40                1       2       2      >1      2
41                        2       2      >1      2
42                        1       1      >1      1
43                        1       3      >1      1
44                        1       1      >1      1
45                3       1       1      >1      1
46                        1       1      >1      1
47                        1       1      >1      1
48                        1       3      >1      1
49                        1       1      >1      1
50                        1       2      >1      1
51                        1       1      >1      1
52                        1       1      >1      1
53                        1       1      >1      1
54                1       1       2      >1      1
55                        1       1      >1      1
56                        1       2      >1      1
57                        1       2      >1      1
58                        1       1      >1      1
59                        1       1      >1      1
60                2       2       3      >1      1
51                        1       1      >1      1
62                        1       1      >1      1
63                        1       1      >1      1
64                        1       3      >1      1
65                        1       3      >1      2
66                        1       1      >1      1
67                        1       1      >1      1
68                        1       1      >1      1
69                        1       2      >1      1
70                        1       1      >1      1
71                        1       1      >1      1
72                        1       1      >1      1
73        1               1       1      >1      1
74                1       1       1      >1      1
75                        1       2      >1      1
76                        2       1      >1      1
77                        1       1     0.98     2
COPYRIGHT 2010 Acoustic Emission Group
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2010 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Catty, Johann
Publication:Journal of Acoustic Emission
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:Jan 1, 2010
Words:7398
Previous Article:Estimation of crustal structure in Horonobe area, Hokkaido, Japan, using multiplet-clustering analysis.
Next Article:Acoustic emission monitoring of steel-fiber reinforced concrete beams under bending.
Topics:

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters