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Ultrasonic multi-skip tomography for pipe inspection

Author: Volker, A.W.F. · Vos, H.J. · Hunter, A. · Lorenz, M.
Source:38th Annual Review of Progress in Quantitative Nondestructive Evaluation, QNDE, 17 July 2011 through 22 July 2011, Burlington, VT, USA, 31, 1430, 785-792
AIP Conference Proceedings
Identifier: 462177
ISBN: 9780735410138
Keywords: Electronics · Corrosion · Multi-Skip · Support · Tomography · Wall Thickness Profile · Wave Field Inversion · Industrial Innovation · Fluid Mechanics Chemistry & Energetics ; Physics & Electronics · PID - Process & Instrumentation Development ; AS - Acoustics & Sonar · TS - Technical Sciences


The inspection of wall loss corrosion is difficult at pipe support locations due to limited accessibility. However, the recently developed ultrasonic Multi-Skip screening technique is suitable for this problem. The method employs ultrasonic transducers in a pitch-catch geometry positioned on opposite sides of the pipe support. Shear waves are transmitted in the axial direction within the pipe wall, reflecting multiple times between the inner and outer surfaces before reaching the receivers. Along this path, the signals accumulate information on the integral wall thickness (e.g., via variations in travel time). The method is very sensitive in detecting the presence of wall loss, but it is difficult to quantify both the extent and depth of the loss. If the extent is unknown, then only a conservative estimate of the depth can be made due to the cumulative nature of the travel time variations. Multi-Skip tomography is an extension of Multi-Skip screening and has shown promise as a complimentary follow-up inspection technique. In recent work, we have developed the technique and demonstrated its use for reconstructing high-resolution estimates of pipe wall thickness profiles. The method operates via a model-based full wave field inversion; this consists of a forward model for predicting the measured wave field and an iterative process that compares the predicted and measured wave fields and minimizes the differences with respect to the model parameters (i.e., the wall thickness profile). This paper presents our recent developments in Multi-Skip tomographic inversion, focusing on the initial localization of corrosion regions for efficient parameterization of the surface profile model and utilization of the signal phase information for improving resolution. © 2012 American Institute of Physics.