Date of Award
Braze, Evaluation, Imaging, NDE, Ultrasound
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The inspection of welded and brazed joints has been performed in several industries using ultrasonic phased array. In the automotive sector, many of the current standards for brazed joint inspection do not apply due to the high variations in surface geometry and limited accessibility to the inspection region. As the automotive industry looks to integrate laser brazing into the production process, the need to determine the size and geometry of the joint, as well as the presence of any defects, is desirable to ensure product quality and reduce costs. Currently, the use of destructive techniques, such as cross-sectioning, is employed in the inspection process, with the ultimate desire being the shift to non-destructive methods. With this in mind, ultrasonic techniques have been investigated as a possible testing method. Ultrasound techniques have evolved over the decades, starting from a single element and eventually moving to phased array techniques. Recently, the investigation of the full matrix capture method has become popular in the field of ultrasound imaging. This technique, which separates the data acquisition process from the image formation process poses a viable solution to the inspection of laser brazed joints due to the ability to compensate for varying surfaces in post-processing.In this work, we make use of this technique, deriving the image formation process as an inverse problem for an arbitrary set of ultrasonic emitters and receivers. From this, the image formation process becomes equivalent to solving the inhomogeneous Helmholtz equation. By approximating the solutions to such an equation using the ray series expansion, an estimation of the solutions can be found in a time-efficient manner. When these solutions are found, the inverse process can be rewritten as a weighted, time-delayed summation of the acquired ultrasonic data. In current work, further approximations to this image formation process are often made; however, in the inspection of the laser braze process, these approximations are found to degrade image quality in a number of cases. In this work, we propose our second order corrections as a viable solution to increase the limit under which ultrasound imaging can currently occur. This is accomplished through the design of an ultrasonic array transducer and the manufacturing of a series of simulated defects, with the final assessment being performed on real joints.These techniques were found to improve imaging in a select set of samples when the radius of curvature dropped below 2 mm. In these cases, the use of the amplitude weighting was found to drastically improve system resolution, allowing for the determination of joint size, geometry and the presence of defects.
Ouellette, Andrew, "Adaptive, High-Resolution Ultrasound Phased Array Imaging for use in the Inspection of Laser Brazed Joints in the Automotive Sector" (2020). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 8325.
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