[6A1] Automated robotic inspection of plate using SH waves and miniaturised electromagnetic acoustic transducers

Oksana Trushkevych1, Morteza Tabatabaeipour2, Gordon Dobie2, Charles MacLeod2 and Rachel S. Edwards1
1University of Warwick, Coventry, UK
2University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK 

There is a growing need for faster, more reliable automated inspection of structures. Robotic inspection is a solution, however, current inspection uses point-by-point thickness gauging, accumulating large amounts of data and requiring significant operator input. Electromagnetic acoustic transducers (EMATs) can be designed to generate shear horizontal (SH) waves, which have been shown to be sensitive to defects such as wall thinning, and their use can reduce the amount of scanning required. However, commercial EMATs are large, and magnetic drag means that it is not currently possible to perform inspection of e.g. ferritic steel using robotic crawlers.

We have recently miniaturised EMATs, thus opening up the potential for automated inspection through reducing magnetic drag. Using multiple SH modes offers the potential for both localization of the robot through identifying geometric features of the sample, and characterisation of defects. This presentation describes the miniaturised EMATs and compares them with standard commercial designs. The EMATs have been implemented onto a robotic crawler and used to scan a 10 mm thick steel plate, chosen to mimic structures such as storage tank walls, with waves used to both map and characterise the sample. The results of mapping and characterisation are presented.