Preliminary design of a high-frequency phased-array acoustic microscope probe for nondestructive evaluation of pressure vessel and piping materials

Jeong Nyeon Kim, Richard L. Tutwiler, Judith A. Todd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


In pressure vessel and pipe inspection, ultrasonic nondestructive evaluation plays a pivotal role in both in-situ and laboratory examinations. Scanning acoustic microscopy (SAM) has been a well-recognized laboratory tool for both visualization and quantitative evaluation of pressure vessel and piping materials at the microscale since its invention in 1974. While there have been multiple advances in SAM over the past four decades, some issues still remain to be addressed. First, the measurement speed is limited by the mechanical movement of the acoustic lens and the sample stage. Second, a single-element transducer with an acoustic lens forms a predetermined beam pattern for a fixed focal length and incident angle, thereby limiting control of the inspection beam. Here, we propose to develop a phased-array probe as an alternative to overcome these issues. Preliminary studies to design a practical high-frequency phased-array acoustic microscope probe were explored. A linear phased-array, comprising 32 elements and operating at 5 MHz, was modeled using PZFlex, a finite element method software. This phased-array system was characterized in terms of electrical input impedance response, pulse-echo and impulse response, surface displacement profiles, mode shapes, and beam profiles. Details of the construction of the model and the results are presented in this paper. Development of a phased-array acoustic microscope probe will significantly enhance scanning acoustic microscopy techniques for detecting surface and subsurface defects and microstructural changes in laboratory samples of pressure vessel and piping materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number041502
JournalJournal of Pressure Vessel Technology, Transactions of the ASME
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

Cite this