Advances in Potential Drop Techniques for Non-Destructive Testing

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Title: Advances in Potential Drop Techniques for Non-Destructive Testing
Authors: Sposito, Giuseppe
Item Type: Thesis or dissertation
Abstract: In the field of Non-Destructive Testing, Potential Drop (PD) techniques have been used for decades, especially in the petrochemical and power generation industries, for monitoring crack growth and wall thickness variations due to corrosion and/or erosion in pipes, pressure vessels and other structures. Inspection is carried out by injecting currents in the specimen to be tested and measuring the arising electrical potential di erence between two or more electrodes placed on its surface. The presence of a defect generally increases the resistance and hence the measured voltage drop; inversion of these data can give information on the size and shape of the defect. However, while the principle underlying these techniques is relatively simple, some di culties have been encountered in their practical applications. Many commercial systems based on PD methods, for instance, require the injection of very large currents in order to obtain su ciently large signals; doubts have been raised on the stability of these methods to variations in the contact resistance between the electrodes and the inspected material. The present work aims to show that some of these problems can be easily overcome, and to evaluate the capabilities of PD techniques for crack sizing and corrosion mapping. After a brief review of the advantages, disadvantages and applications of the main electromagnetic methods for Non-Destructive Testing, an experimental setup for Potential Drop measurements which was developed for this work and which uses small alternating currents (AC) is described. The setup is benchmarked against existing PD systems and then used to validate a model that allows AC PD simulations to be run with a commercial Finite Element code. The results of both numerical simulations and experimental measurements are used to investigate the possibility of sizing defects of complex geometry by repeating the analysis at several di erent frequencies over a broad range, and of reconstructing the depth pro le of surfacebreaking defects without the need for assumptions on their shape. Subsequently, the accuracy to which it is possible to obtain maps of corrosion/erosion on the far surface of an inspected structure is discussed, and results obtained with an array probe that employs a novel arrangement of electrodes are presented. Finally, conclusions are drawn and suggestions for further research are made.
Issue Date: Jan-2009
Date Awarded: Mar-2009
Supervisor: Cawley, Peter
Lowe, Michael
Sponsor/Funder: Research Centre of Non-Destructive Evaluation (RCNDE)
Author: Sposito, Giuseppe
Department: Mechanical Engineering
Publisher: Imperial College London
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Qualification Name: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Appears in Collections:Mechanical Engineering PhD theses

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