Advanced science.  Applied technology.


Ultrasonic Inspection Services


Ultrasonic inspection technology generates high frequency sound energy for nondestructive testing. Electronic transducers generate ultrasonic waves to reveal defects or measure thickness. SwRI uses ultrasonic technology to evaluate infrastructure with expertise in conventional thickness gauging, time-of-flight diffraction, phased array, and ultrasonic imaging. Our certified inspectors apply established inspection procedures and develop solutions to emerging and challenging problems.

Ultrasonic Research

SwRI is internationally known for ultrasonic R&D supporting manufacturers of ultrasonic inspection equipment and end users. Our Ph.D.-level scientists and engineers conduct laboratory and field research in multidisciplinary teams specializing in fusion of sensors and ultrasonic waves. SwRI’s data mining and visualization research helps advance ultrasonic inspection capabilities through algorithms, software, and signal and visual processing development. Visit our patents database to learn more.

Immersion Ultrasonic Testing

We have developed immersion ultrasonic testing systems and methods to both visualize component external and internal geometry and to locate and characterize internal damage. The immersion technique is particularly effective at viewing flaws such as voids, porosity, inclusions, and cracks. Applications include:

  • Evaluation of Pipeline weld quality test articles
  • Detection of delamination in composite panels
  • Corrosion damage characterization
  • Turbine blade casting evaluation
  • Material property characterization

Ultrasonic Array Testing & Development

Array-based approaches can be used for NDE and NDT testing with both robotics and manual examinations. We develop custom solutions with multiple ultrasonic probes configured in an array to allow steering of the ultrasonic energy into a specific region for inspection. Additionally, we have expertise at scanning a single ultrasonic transducer along a structure and processing the collected data together to create images of the structure condition using focusing techniques. These techniques are suited for imaging parts and locating potential issues. We have experience both developing novel array-based inspection systems for costumers as well as applying these systems or more conventional systems in a field setting as an inspection service.

Robots & Delivery Systems

We design and develop robotic inspections systems to evaluate structural integrity in nuclear power plants and petrochemical industries. Robotic delivery systems are suited for high radiation nuclear components, pressure vessels, pipeline nozzles, process industries using mixing tanks, and boilers. Our ultrasonic pigging systems inspect for flaws in components such as pitting, accelerated corrosion, erosion, fatigue cracking, stress-induced cracks, internal voids, and delamination. The primary inspection technologies employed by these robots include ultrasonics, electromagnetics, remote field eddy current (RFEC), and guided waves.

Ultrasonic NDE Areas

  • Aircraft – Components and structures
  • Energy infrastructure – Offshore equipment, pressure vessels, pipelines, and refining equipment
  • Government infrastructure – Bridges and roadways
  • Medical – Biomedical devices and medical components
  • Utility infrastructure – Nuclear power plants and reactor pressure vessels
  • Power generation components – Turbine blades, nozzles, and thermal sleeves