Ultra-low noise front-end electronics for air-coupled ultrasonic non-destructive evaluation
- ISSN: 09638695
- DOI: 10.1016/S0963-8695(02)00091-9
Air-coupled ultrasonic inspection has been demonstrated to be a non-contact method of great interest in non-destructive evaluation (NDE) applications. The absence of direct contact or a liquid couplant provides this technique very attractive benefits in front of the well-known and well-developed liquid-coupled ultrasonic inspection systems. A wide range of defects can be detected by means of ultrasound coupled to and harvested from the specimen in absence of contact when using appropriate transducers designed for their operation in air. This paper presents an easy way to integrate air-coupled piezoelectric transducers in conventional ultrasonic NDE equipment. The design of a specific front-end electronics by using an ultra-low noise amplifier enables existing inspection systems to be used for the dry-coupled ultrasonic test of materials and structures. The amplifier provides the receiver with a signal-to-noise ratio large enough for good quality signal processing and imaging. System dynamic ranges of more than 100 dB are achieved.