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Rafa Kaczmarek, Karol Kaczmarek, Jacek Sania, Ryszard Krawczyk

Performing of Ultrasonic Tests Using the TOFD Technique


inView of the Requirements of Related Standards

Abstract: The article concerns the time of flight diffraction testing technique
(TOFD), which is, next to the simultaneous TOFD + Phased Array testing, one of
the most effective methods of volumetric non-destructive tests. The article dis-
cusses the advantages of the TOFD technique as well as the basis of diffraction
phenomenon and the formation of imaging signals. In addition, the article pre-
sents a TOFD image of a welded joint and describes its characteristic elements.
Also, the article discusses the TOFD-related testing standards and analyses their
requirements related to welded joints and their acceptance criterion, i.e. the qual-
ity level according to PN-EN ISO 5817. The target readers of the article include
NDT personnel, inspectors, welding engineers and welding equipment manu-
facturers wishing to implement an effective tool enabling the detection of weld-
ing imperfections.

Keywords: time of flight diffraction, TOFD, non-destructive testing of welds, ul-


trasonic tests.

doi: 10.17729/ebis.2016.4/6

Introduction terms of workmanship and as regards the as-


Increasing requirements in terms of the re- sessment of test results. For this reason, the
liability of welded products and structures TOFD technique is likely to become increasingly
require the use of new more advanced test- popular in industry. Undoubtedly, factors in-
ing techniques allowing the verification of creasing the application potential of TOFD tech-
quality and workmanship. Modern ultrason- nique-based tests in Poland include relatively
ic techniques, such as TOFD, Phased Array low testing equipment costs, possibility of ob-
and Full Matrix Capture (also known as To- taining funds from the National Centre for
tal Focusing Method) are becoming increas- Research and Development (within implemen-
ingly important. Each of the above-presented tations of innovative projects) and the initia-
techniques is at a different stage of develop- tion (in 2016) of training courses for operators
ment. The TOFD technique, widely used for of TOFD technique-based ultrasonic tests at the
many years in English-speaking countries, has Welding Education and Supervision Centre of
become internationally standardised, both in Instytut Spawalnictwa in Gliwice.

dr in. Karol Kaczmarek (PhD (DSc) Eng.); dr hab. in. Jacek Sania (PhD (DSc) hab. Eng.), Professor at IS
Instytut Spawalnictwa, Welding Education and Supervision Centre; mgr in. Rafa Kaczmarek (MSc Eng.),
dr in. Ryszard Krawczyk (PhD (DSc) Eng.) Czstochowa University of Technology; Welding Department

No. 4/2016 BIULETYN INSTYTUTU SPAWALNICTWA 47


The TOFD technique is characterised by of NDT personnel as to the use of modern UT
anumber of advantages justifying its imple- methods, and at the same time, allay fears
mentation for verifying the quality of weld- related to the implementation of new and
ed joints to a significantly greater degree than previously rarely used testing techniques (in
presently. One of the most important advan- Poland). This task is by far facilitated by the
tages of the method, as regards non-destructive complete standardisation of TOFD tests as re-
tests, is the very high and repeated detectabili- gards the workmanship and the assessment of
ty, particularly of flat discontinuities. The high the quality of joints.
TOFD detectability has been verified by results
of research programmes aimed to confirm the TOFD Technique versus Conventional
effectiveness and reliability of TOFD tests. In Ultrasonic Tests Based on the Echo
one of such programmes, performed by the Method
Netherlands Institute of Welding (NIL), TOFD Conventional ultrasonic tests utilise the laws
tests were compared with manual ultrasonic of geometric optics, i.e. reflection law, refrac-
tests (UT) and X-ray radiographic (RT-X) and tion law and transformation law in relation to
(RT-) tests. Both the probability of detection the ultrasonic waveform. One of the examples
(POD) and the false call rate (FCR), amounting is the echo technique utilising the phenome-
to 82% and 11% accordingly, speak for the use of non of the directional reflection of an ultrason-
the TOFD technique. As regards the other vol- ic wave. High signal amplitudes are obtained
umetric methods, POD and FCR amounted to when ultrasonic beams are reflected from flat
52% and 22% for UT, 60% and 11% for RT- and surfaces (e.g. incomplete fusions) perpendicu-
66% and 15% for RT-X accordingly [1]. lar to the direction of an ultrasonic beam and
The valuable and interesting comparison of from rectangular reflectors (e.g. a crack reach-
the TOFD technique possibilities and those of ing the surface or incomplete penetrations in
RT- also results from experience gained when the Y-bevelled weld root). In cases of unfavour-
building pipeline DN1000 [2]. The authors have ably oriented discontinuities, an incident beam
compared the test results concerning 356 pipe- may be reflected in another direction and not
line welds tested using both the TOFD technique return to the transducer, thus not giving the sig-
and the RT method and the source of Ir192. nal of discontinuity on a defectoscope.
The total length of imperfections detected us- Conventional techniques of ultrasonic tests
ing the TOFD technique (in case of the same aim to leave only one type of wave generated in
welds) was almost 3 times greater than that of a material subjected to a test. Such a situation
the imperfections detected using the RT meth- occurs in cases of most common tests utilis-
od. The reason for such a large discrepancy of ing simple transducers of longitudinal waves
test results was ascribed to the low detectability and angle transducers of transverse waves. In
of flat discontinuities (primarily incomplete fu- cases where more than one type of ultrason-
sions) in the radiographic tests. The presence of ic wave is generated, as is the case with angle
the above named imperfections was later con- transducers of transverse waves, the analysis
firmed (at the repair stage) by magnetic particle of indications can cause some difficulties as it
tests of weld segments subjected to grinding [2]. is not possible to ensure if a signal appearing
The possibilities and advantages of TOFD on the defectoscope screen comes from the
tests call for the replacement of convention- primary wave type, e.g. longitudinal wave (in
al volumetric tests, where possible, with the the examples discussed). Such a phenomenon
TOFD technique. However, in order for this to is undesirable as it impedes the interpretation
happen, it is necessary to raise the awareness of indications.
48 BIULETYN INSTYTUTU SPAWALNICTWA No. 4/2016
Similar to other techniques of ultrasonic discontinuity surface along with the transfor-
tests, the TOFD technique utilises the laws of mation of the longitudinal wave into a trans-
geometric optics. However, the phenomenon verse wave as well as the excitation of, both
of the generation of diffracted waves on dis- longitudinal and transverse, diffracted waves
continuity edges is of primary importance. at the tops of the gap.
Such waves are generated as a result of striking
the edge of discontinuity by a high amplitude Incident wave Diffracted waves
wave emitted from a transmitter. In accord-
ance with the Huygens principle, each centre
point reached by a wave (including atoms at
the top of the centre) becomes the independ- Back-wall reflection
Discontinuity
ent source of spherical waves (Fig. 1). Spherical
waves have a low amplitude, propagate within
the wide range of angles, and their generation
only slightly depends on the angle of an inci- Diffracted waves
dent beam [3]. This may lead to the obtainment
of signals of unfavourably oriented discontinui-
ties, the detection of which is problematic using Fig. 1. Schematically presented generation of diffracted
the conventional echo technique, in particular, waves on discontinuity edges
flat discontinuities such as cracks and incom-
plete fusions, unacceptable for quality levels B
and C according to PN-EN ISO 5817.
Unlike in the ultrasonic echo technique, in
TOFD technique-based tests various types of ul-
trasonic waves, i.e. longitudinal, transverse and
a) b)
surface (Rayleigh) waves, are excited in a ma-
terial being tested. Signals obtained from each Fig. 2. Generation of diffracted waves on the edges of
of these waves provide information about the agap (1 mm x 3 mm) in soda-lime glass [4]
a) longitudinal wave (red marker) before reaching the gap,
presence of a discontinuity in the material and b) longitudinal wave after passing the gap, partial reflec-
can be used in analysis. However, the most fre- tion and the excitation of diffracted waves (black markers)
quently used are longitudinal waves, propagat-
ing (in a material being tested) within the wide Fundamentals of TOFD Tests
ranges of angles, also as lateral waves. As a rule, the TOFD technique is aimed at the re-
Figure 1 presents the schematic generation ception of imaging (diffraction) signals. Unlike
of diffracted waves on discontinuity edges. Fig- in the echo method, in the TOFD technique the
ure 2 presents the insertion of ultrasonic waves amplitude of signal is not used for assessing the
into soda-lime glass using a TOFD transducer size of analysed material discontinuities. The
[3]. Such a centre (soda-lime glass), because of appropriate setting of defectoscope gain only
similar velocities of longitudinal and transverse aims to ensure the obtainment of good quali-
waves (5800 m/s and 3450 m/s accordingly), ty imaging. The gain should be high enough so
well reflects phenomena taking place in steels. that a TOFD image, using the grey scale, could
Figure 2a presents the front of a longitudinal easily represent recorded disturbances. How-
and transverse wave before reaching a gap. In ever, the value of gain must not be excessive-
turn, Figure 2b presents the partial direction- ly high, as this could deteriorate the quality of
al reflection of a longitudinal wave from a flat TOFD images. Annex B of standard [5] presents
No. 4/2016 BIULETYN INSTYTUTU SPAWALNICTWA 49
examples of TOFD images with proper and im- than 3 MHz are used. Recommendations con-
proper gain values. cerning the adjustment of frequency, transduc-
Because of the low amplitude of imaging er angles and sizes when performing the TOFD
signals, it is necessary to use relatively high technique-based tests of welded joints are pre-
gain (usually 80-100 dB). The typical configu- sented in Table 2 of PN-EN ISO 10863 [5].
ration of TOFD transducers consists of two an- In typical TOFD tests, the signal of a longitu-
gle transducers of longitudinal waves mounted dinal wave is of the greatest importance. The
in a push-pull system at the constant distance velocity of a longitudinal wave is by twice fast-
from each other (Fig. 3). Such an arrangement er than that of a transverse and surface wave.
of transducers minimises the number of signals As a result, a longitudinal wave reaches the re-
coming from the directional reflection of an ul- ceiving transducer and gives an impulse as first.
trasonic beam. In practice, only discontinuities This is important because of practical reasons
parallel to the scanning surface (e.g. laminar as the pro,cess of sizing requires the knowledge
imperfections in a sheet) cause the directional of wave velocity at which a given signal propa-
reflection of a beam emitted by a transmitting gated. Sizing can be performed only using sig-
transducer in the direction of a receiving trans- nals which covered the entire distance from the
ducer. An angle of the refraction of transduc- transmitting transducer to the receiving trans-
ers is restricted within the range of 40 to 70. ducer as one wave type as it is only then that
In cases of joints having thicknesses restricted the signal velocity, necessary for further calcu-
within the range of 6-50 mm, the most frequent- lations, is known. In practice, the sizing of dis-
ly used angle amounts to 70 or 60. When test- continuities does not pose difficulties within
ing elements having thicknesses up to 50 mm, such a linearization range, where only signals
without dividing into zones, the beam inter- of one ultrasonic wave type, i.e. longitudinal,
section point corresponds to 2/3 of the thick- are present. As a result, only the fragment of a
ness of an element subjected to a test. Usually, TOFD image between the lateral wave and lon-
the TOFD technique involves the use of strongly gitudinal back-wall reflection can be used for
dampened transducers having a small diameter assessing the deposition depth of a discontinui-
(usually 3 or 6 mm). A small transducer diam- ty (Fig. 4). The fragment between the back-wall
eter ensures the generation of a strongly diver- reflection and the transformed wave are used
gent beam in the wedge, which when entering only for the detection of indications.
a material being tested, si-
multaneously generates a Transmitter Receiver
longitudinal wave within
lateral wave
the wide range of angles
as well as transverse and
surface waves. The range incident wave difracted wave
of transducer frequency
is higher in comparison
with that used during con- backwall reflection
incident wave
ventional ultrasonic tests
and amounts to 1-15 MHz.
In cases of thicknesses up
to 50 mm, frequencies
amounting to or higher
Fig. 3. Scheme of A type image generation during the TOFD technique-based tests

50 BIULETYN INSTYTUTU SPAWALNICTWA No. 4/2016


Normally, the TOFD-based tests are performed velocity of a transverse wave, the above named
using a scanner provided with an encoder. The signals are moved to longer times. Figure 4 pre-
use of an encoder enables the graphic presenta- sents aTOFD image after the synchronisation of
tion of test results in 2D images, where, depend- alateral wave and linearization, obtained when
ing on the direction of scanner movement in testing a 15 mm MAG welded joint fragment. In
relation to the ultrasonic beam axis, parallel addition to the above named constant signals,
and non-parallel scans can be obtained. Usu- the TOFD image contains two internal indica-
ally, non-parallel scans (in relation to the beam tions of large incomplete side fusions, one indi-
axis) are performed, i.e. where the direction of cation reaching the surface opposite in relation
scanning is parallel to the weld. If it is necessary to the scanning surface (indication of the lack
to obtain further information about the nature, of penetration on 115 mm of the joints) as well
location and space orientation of a discontinui- as several point indications of short interlayer
ty, it may be useful to make a parallel scan per- incomplete fusions.
formed in the direction determined by the axes
of transducers, usually transversely in relation Standardisation of the TOFD
to the weld axis. Technique-Based Tests
A typical TOFD image contains signals of The oldest standardisation document concerned
asubsurface and back-wall reflection, consti- with the TOFD technique was British standard
tuting a very comfortable reference point at the BS7706. The standard was replaced by Europe-
stage of TOFD image linearization and the di- an standard EN 583-6, and currently ISO 16828,
mensioning of indication depth (Fig. 4). The specifying the fundamentals of the TOFD tech-
term of a lateral wave stands for the part of nique-based tests. Afterwards, standards con-
alongitudinal wave beam running directly un- cerning tests of welded joints were developed,
der the surface, whereas the term of a back-wall i.e. standard ISO 10863, specifying primary re-
reflection stands for the part of a longitudinal quirements as well as defining test levels and
wave beam reflected from the opposite surface classifying indications and ISO 15626, specify-
and entering the receiving transducer. In addi- ing acceptance levels corresponding to quality
tion, the range from the back-wall reflection to levels according to ISO 5817. The last two stand-
the transformed wave contains signals which ards constitute the basis for using the TOFD
have covered at least some part of the path technique in acceptance tests with the accept-
as atransverse wave. Due to the twice lower ance criterion being a quality level according
to ISO 5817. The correlation
Lateral wave Indications
between quality levels, test
levels and acceptance lev-
els in relation to the TOFD
technique-based tests is
Back-wall reflection
presented in Table 1.
The source of primary
guidance on performing
tests using the TOFD tech-
Transformed wave nique is PN-EN ISO 16828
Non-destructive testing. Ul-
trasonic testing. Time-of-
Fig. 4. TOFD image of a welded joint composed of B-scan (right) and A-scan (left); flight diffraction technique
A-scan represents the area marked with the cursor (blue line) in B-scan as a method for detection and
No. 4/2016 BIULETYN INSTYTUTU SPAWALNICTWA 51
Table 1. Welded joint quality levels with corresponding
test and acceptance levels when performing the TOFD The primary standard concerning tests of
technique-based tests [6] welded joints involving the TOFD technique
Quality level Test level Acceptance level is PN-EN ISO 10863 Non-destructive testing of
according to according to according to welds. Ultrasonic testing. Use of time-of-flight-
ISO 5817 ISO 10863 ISO 15626 diffraction technique (TOFD). The standard de-
B C 1 fines the primary principles and requirements
C at least B 2 concerning tests of joints and specifies four test
D at least A 3 levels, i.e. A, B, C and D. Each subsequent test
level from A to D requires better document-
sizing of discontinuities. Among other things, ed confirmation of the correct adjustment of
the standard provides primary definitions, gen- equipment and detectability of welding im-
eral information concerning the test configura- perfections, being the object of interest in such
tion of TOFD, the interpretation of TOFD images tests, and provides higher assurance of discon-
as well as requirements related to equipment tinuity detection. The standard also specifies
and testing personnel. The standard defines the requirements related to the quality of obtained
two primary types of TOFD scans, i.e. parallel test results (TOFD images), provides guidance
scans, where the scanner moves in parallel to on the interpretation and classification of de-
the axis of ultrasonic beams and a non-parallel tected imperfections as well as on the reporting
scan, where the scanner does not move in par- of results. The standards also provide guidance
allel to the axis of ultrasonic beams. It should on identifications at the test specification stage,
be noted that the non-parallel scan defined personnel qualification, information to be pro-
above is usually performed (when testing weld- vided to the operator prior to the performance
ed joints) along a weld, i.e. parallel to its axis. of a test and requirements concerning test spec-
One might wonder why such an apparently il- ification. In addition, the standard constitutes
logical convention has been adopted. This is re- the source of guidelines concerning the design
lated to the history of the technique, which was of master samples for the verification of equip-
initially used for the sizing of fatigue cracks in ment settings and detectability in tests utilising
elements other than welded products. In such the TOFD technique.
products, the only reference direction for the Guidance on the evaluation of welded joints
scanner movement was the orientation of the based on the TOFD test results is described in
axis of an inserted ultrasonic beam. PN-EN ISO 15626 Non-destructive testing of welds.
Standard PN-EN ISO 16828 contains guidelines Time-of-flight-diffraction technique (TOFD). Ac-
concerning the adjustment of test parameters, in ceptance levels. The standard specifies three ac-
particular, the frequency and size of a transduc- ceptance levels, i.e. 1, 2 and 3, corresponding
er, wedge refraction angle, time window settings to quality levels B, C and D set out in PN-EN
and techniques used for adjusting the gain of a ISO 5817 accordingly. In addition, the standard
defectoscope. The standard contains guidance specifies the primary symbols and definitions,
on the interpretation of indications and useful provides information on principles of deter-
mathematical formulas enabling the calculation mining the length and height of a discontinuity
of scan resolution, size of dead zone and meas- on the basis of TOFD test results. The standard
urement uncertainty related to the deposition also discusses the principles of dimensioning
depth of discontinuity edge. It should be noted and summing as well as presents three alter-
that standard PN-EN ISO 16828 is not specialised native techniques of measurement cursor po-
as regards tests of welded joints but only con- sitioning. It should be noted that, unlike in
tains general guidance on TOFD tests. conventional ultrasonic tests, where acceptance
52 BIULETYN INSTYTUTU SPAWALNICTWA No. 4/2016
is conditioned by the amplitude and length TOFD technique do not require previous search
of indications, in TOFD tests, assessments are for laminar imperfections in sheets, if any, as
based on the height, length and location of in- such imperfections are easily detectible using
dications (reaching the surface or internal). TOFD tests.
It is worth paying attention to specific termi-
Primary Requirements of TOFD Tests nology used in the ultrasonic echo technique,
According to PN-EN ISO 10863 also appearing in standards concerning the
The primary requirement as far as TOFD tests TOFD technique. The notion of time window
are concerned is the assurance of detectabili- represents a time interval, during which a signal
ty over the entire area of interest. When test- received by a receiving transducer (receiver), is
ing welded joints during their formation it is detalised and recorded. In the TOFD technique,
assumed, accordance with valid standards, that the zero point of the time base corresponds to
the required area contains the entire volume of the moment of transmitting signal initiation.
a weld along with the adjacent area including It also means that the time lag, defined as the
10 mm on each side of the weld or the entire delay of the time base zero point in relation to
heat affected zone, whichever is greater. This the moment of signal initiation, amounts to
area is tantamount to the area most likely to zero. This notion cannot be identified with the
contain discontinuities formed during the mak- notion of range, as the latter is used to depict
ing of welded structures. When testing objects a distance and is expressed in millimetres. In
during their operation, the standard allows the PN-EN ISO 10863, the notion of range or depth
reduction of the above-presented test area and range is used to depict the range of observa-
requires the identification of the minimum size tion defined as the depth range. Another notion
of a discontinuity to be detected in an area sub- widely used in the TOFD technique is wedge de-
jected to a test. lay representing the time during which an ul-
The positioning of transducers during tests trasonic beam passes through the wedges of
should ensure the coverage of the entire area of ultrasonic transducers. The notion of wedge
interest and the obtainment of imaging (diffrac- delay should not be identified with the shift of
tion) signals from discontinuities, should the the time base zero point (time lag) used in the
latter occur. In cases of joints characterised by echo technique, as it is not connected with the
simple geometry and the narrow excess weld shift of the time base in TOFD imaging, but is
metal (of the face or root) on the side oppo- only used for the conversion of time at which
site to the surface subjected to scanning, guide- a beam reaches a specific depth, referred to as
lines concerning the positioning of transducers, linearization in English language publications.
presented in Table 2 of standard [5], guaran- Some attention should also be paid to cer-
tee the coverage of the entire area of interest. tain inconsistencies in PN-EN ISO 10863. In
In cases of joints characterised by wide excess item 10.1.1, the standard requires that the depth
weld metal on the opposite side, e.g. when test- range and sensitivity be adjusted prior to test-
ing thick X-bevelled joints, it may be necessary ing (in accordance with the requirements of
to perform additional scans further from the EN-583-6 [presently PN-EN ISO 16828]), which
weld axis. In such cases, it is necessary to veri- would imply the adjustment of gain in relation
fy detectability using appropriate master sam- to the level of structural noise and the veri-
ples. It is necessary to use a constant reference fication of detectability. At the same time, in
system, i.e. master sample, and the same cou- item 10.1.4, the standard requires that the am-
pling system as the one used during the cali- plitude of a lateral wave amount to 40-80% of
bration of a defectoscope. Tests utilising the the screen height, which, in fact, imposes the
No. 4/2016 BIULETYN INSTYTUTU SPAWALNICTWA 53
test gain. The noise level exceeding 20% of the depth conversion). Test level A can be used only
screen height and the achievement of the en- in cases of 6-50 mm thick joints representing
tire screen height by the lateral wave require quality level D. Test level B is used when test-
the repetition of the test. ing joints representing quality level C and hav-
It is required that, in the case of tests involv- ing a thickness of 6- 300 mm. In such acase, it
ing the single scan of the entire depth range, the is necessary to use amaster sample for gain ver-
time window start at least 1 s before the signal ification. In both cases it is not necessary to use
of a lateral wave and finish after the first signal test procedures and specimens for the verifica-
of a transformed wave. In cases of tests divid- tion of detectability. In cases of test levels C and
ed into zones, time windows should overlap by D, e.g. used for joints representing quality lev-
a minimum of 10% of the depth range. el B, it is necessary to use amaster sample for
In order to determine the distance between the verification of detectability and performing
the centres of PCS transducers, it is the most the above named tests on the basis of a written
favourable if the conversion of the time of lin- test procedure. Test level D is connected with
earization (i.e. when a beam reaches the depo- the use of the highest requirements in terms of
sition depth) is conducted through calibration master samples and the validation of test proce-
using alateral wave reflected at a known sonic dures. Test level D is recommended when test-
velocity. It is required that the result of depth ing elements having complicated shapes and
measurement be verified using an element of during operational tests [5].
a known depth and that a measurement error
not exceed 0.2 mm. However, the standard does Adjustment of Parameters for the
not specify the manner of calibration. It should TOFD Technique
be noted that in order to obtain such a pre- Table 2 of standard [5] presents guidelines con-
cise and verified result of depth measurement, cerning the adjustment of the TOFD technique
an element subjected to atest, an element on test parameters in relation to the thickness of
which the system is calibrated and an element ajoint being tested. The table contains informa-
on which calibration is verified, should demon- tion related to the necessary number of scans
strate the same sonic velocity. It should also be and parameters of heads used for searching
noted that the TOFD technique is significant- a given joint zone (depth range). In addition,
ly more sensitive to errors resulting from the the table provides information about frequency,
difference in an ultrasonic wave velocity than transducer size, nominal beam insertion angle
the echo technique utilising a transmitting-re- and the beam intersection point. Joints having
ceiving transducer. In addition, the standard thicknesses of up to 50 mm require a single
requires the verification of test fixtures opera- TOFD scan including the entire joint thickness
tional stability, i.e. gain and depth, at least prior range (from 0 to t). In such a case, the beam in-
to a test, every 4 h during the test and follow- tersection point is located at 2/3 of the depth.
ing the completion of the test.
Table 2. Parameters recommended during the TOFD technique tests
Standard PN-EN ISO 10863 defines of butt joints having a thickness of 6 to 50 mm [5]
four test levels, i.e. A, B, C and D. The
lowest level, i.e. level A does not re- Joint thickness Frequency f, Wedge refraction Transducer
t, mm MHz angle , size d, mm
quire the use of a master (reference)
6 to 10 15 70 2 to 3
sample but only the use of an element
>10 to 15 15 to 10 70 2 to 3
having aknown thickness allowing
the determination of linearization >15 to 35 10 to 5 70 to 60 2 to 6
parameters (flight timedeposition >35 to 50 5 to 3 70 to 60 3 to 6

54 BIULETYN INSTYTUTU SPAWALNICTWA No. 4/2016


For thickness t=50100 mm it is necessary to requirements of related standards in terms of
divide a joint into two zones (Fig. 5). The first the amplitude of lateral wave as well as of struc-
zone includes the range of 0 to t/2, whereas the tural and electronic noise. Test levels C and D
second zone includes the range of t/2 to t. The require additional verification of the correct-
beam intersection point for the first zone is lo- ness of settings using the specimen for the ver-
cated at a depth amounting to 1/3 t. For the sec- ification of detectability.
ond zone, the beam intersection point is located Standard PN-EN ISO 16828 also provided in-
at a depth amounting to 5/6 t. As a rule, each formation on the recommended test param-
of the zones requires the use of different test eter ranges in the TOFD method, yet they are
parameters. An increase in the depth of agiv- significantly wider than those described above
en zone is accompanied by a decrease in re- according to PN-EN ISO 10863. It should be not-
quired frequency and angle and by an increase ed that the requirements of both standards are
in the transducer size. Similarly, for thickness not always coherent. For instance, according to
t =100200 mm, a joint must be divided into standard [5] concerning tests of welded joints,
three zones, whereas for thickness t=200300 the testing of a 10 mm thick joint requires us-
mm it is necessary to divide a joint into four ing the frequency of 15 MHz (Table 2 in [5]). In
zones. Exemplary parameters for joints hav- turn, according to PN-EN ISO 16828, a thickness
ing a thickness of up to 50 mm are presented of 10 mm is located on the border of thickness
in Table 2. ranges and, because of that, requires the fre-
quency range of 5 to 10 MHz (Table 1 in [7]).
In such a case it seems more favourable to sat-
isfy the requirements of the standard concern-
ing the testing of welded joints [5] and to use a
frequency of 15 MHz.
Fig. 5. Exemplary design of TOFD technique tests with Summary
division into zones using the NDT Setup Builder software
developed by Olympus; joint thickness: 52 mm; beam Because of high detectability and the entire ar-
intersection point for the first pair of heads is located at chiving of results, tests of welded joints using
adepth of 17 mm, for the second pair of heads it is locat- the TOFD technique constitute an advantageous
ed at a depth of 43 mm alternative to relatively expensive and prob-
Most of the parameters are presented in the lematic X-ray radiographic or conventional ul-
form of a range. This is because of the fact that trasonic tests, where the correctness of results
a change in the joint thickness of several milli- is highly dependent on operator knowledge
metres entails a significant change in the length and experience. An additional advantage con-
of the wave in the material, particularly in cas- nected with the use of modern TOFD test sys-
es of large beam insertion angles. Using high tems is the possibility of evaluating results on
frequency waves significantly reduces the am- an off-line basis, using compatible computer
plitude of diffracted waves due to damping and, software, while the testing equipment can be
as a result, leads to the lack of distinct indica- used to perform further series of tests, signifi-
tions in the TOFD imaging, hence the gradual cantly increasing its efficiency. Another impor-
reduction of frequency and wedge refraction tant aspect is the possibility of performing tests
angle accompanying the increase in joint thick- using the TOFD technique combined with the
ness. The precise adjustment of test parame- Phased Array technique, which, presently, is the
ters must be determined experimentally so that most effective system of detecting, characteris-
the obtained TOFD imaging could satisfy the ing and dimensioning imperfections in welded
No. 4/2016 BIULETYN INSTYTUTU SPAWALNICTWA 55
joints. For this reason, the article is concerned [3] Olympus NDT: Introduction to Phased Ar-
with discussing the most important require- ray Ultrasonic Technology Applications R/D
ments contained in standards related to the Tech Guideline. Published by Olympus NDT,
NDT of welded joints using the TOFD technique. Canada, 2004.
In addition, the article analyses the essence of [4] Ginzel E., Honarvar F., Yaghootian A.:
the formation of discontinuity indications us- AStudy of Time-of-Flight Diffraction Tech-
ing imaging (diffraction) signals and discusses nique Using PhotoelasticVisualisation. The
standard documents concerning tests utilising 2d International Conference on Technical
the TOFD technique as well as the primary re- Inspection and NDT (TINDT2008), Teheran,
quirements related to the performance of tests Iran, October, 2008.
and the selection of parameters. [5] PN-EN ISO 10863:2011: Non-destructive test-
ing of welds Ultrasonic testing Use of time-
References of-flight diffraction technique (TOFD)
[1] Charlesworth J. P., Temple J. A. G.: Engineer- [6] PN-EN ISO 15626:2014: Non-destructive test-
ing applications of ultrasonic time-of-flight ing of welds Time-of-flight diffraction tech-
diffraction. Second edition. Research Stud- nique (TOFD) Acceptance levels
ies Press Ltd, Baldock, 2001. [7] PN-EN ISO 16828:2014: Non-destructive test-
[2] Mackiewicz S., Kopiski J.: Dowiadczenia ing Ultrasonic testing Time-of-flight dif-
z zastosowa ultradwikowej techniki TOFD. fraction technique as a method for detection
Materials of the Seminar Non-Destructive and sizing of discontinuities
Testing of Materials, Zakopane, 2001.

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