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Nondestructive Evaluation


Magnetostrictive Sensor-Based Guided Waves


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  image of magnetostrictive sensor, a pipe inspection system developed at SwRI, and the winner of an R&D 100 award

The magnetostrictive sensor, winner of an R&D 100 award, is a pipe inspection system developed at SwRI.

The magnetostrictive sensor (MsS®) technology was developed and patented by Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) for generating ultrasonic guided waves for long-range inspection and structural health monitoring of pipes, plates, bridge cables, and tubes. MsS also provides engineers with a fast, cost-effective means of inspecting steel pipes and tubes in processing and power generating plants for the oil, gas, and chemical industries.


Wave Modes

The primary wave modes used in the MsS technology are:

  • Torsional waves (for pipes and tubes)

  • Horizontally polarized shear waves (for plates)

  • Longitudinal waves (for bridge cables)

MsS Instrument and Probes

We have pioneered magnetostrictive sensor technology, which continues to gain international prominence, and have recently upgraded our latest system, the MsSR® 3030, which uses acoustic guided waves to detect flaws in:

  • Pipelines

      image of SwRI's MsSR 3030, the latest in our line of magnetostrictive sensor inspection systems

    The MsSR 3030 is the latest in our line of magnetostrictive sensor inspection systems for detecting defects in pipelines, steel cables, anchor rods, heat exchanger tubing and other metal structures. Our inspection systems are being used across the United States and in Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Venezuela, Mexico, Canada, Italy, Saudi Arabia and England.

  • Steel cables

  • Anchor rods

  • Heat exchanger tubing

  • Metal structures

We significantly reduced the system's size and weight, improved graphical user interfaces (GUI), and enhanced control and data acquisition capabilities.


The features of the second-generation MsSR 3030 include:

  • Computer-controlled through USB communication

  • Small and lightweight

  • Multi-frequency (4 to 250 kHz)

  • Multi-use (industrial and laboratory)

In addition to the MsS instrument and system software, SwRI supplies probes for:

  • Pipeline inspection

  • Bridge cables

  • Heat exchangers

  • Plates

These probes work on the principle of magnetostriction—easily configured for different sizes, inspection frequencies, and wave modes.


Selected Magnetostrictive Sensor Capabilities and Projects

Selected MsS capabilities and projects include:

For more information about our nondestructive evaluation (NDE) capabilities,  magnetostrictive sensor technology, or how you can contract with SwRI, please contact Sergey A. Vinogradov, Ph.D., at or call (210) 522-3342.


Contact Information

Sergey A. Vinogradov, Ph.D.

Nondestructive Evaluation

(210) 522-3342

Related Terminology

bridge cable inspection



guided wave

guided ultrasonics

horizontally polarized shear waves

longitudinal waves

magnetostrictive sensor technology


nondestructive evaluation

plate inspection

pipe wall thinning

steel pipe inspection

torsional waves

Related Information

The Magnetostrictive Sensor (MsS) was selected among the 100 most significant accomplishments of 1998 by R&D Magazine.

1996 Press Release

Technical Background

MsS Technology and System Promotional Flyer


| Sensor Systems and Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) Technology Department | Mechanical Engineering Division | SwRI Home |

Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a multidisciplinary, independent, nonprofit, applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with 9 technical divisions.

August 07, 2014