This disclosure is directed to an acoustic Barkhausen stress detector apparatus and a method of obtaining measurements of stress in or determination of the microstructure of ferromagnetic materials. In the preferred and illustrated embodiment, stress or microstructure information in a ferromagnetic specimen is tested and measured through application of a variable magnetic field. A sensitive acoustic detecting device including an input transducer(s) and amplifier(s) forms a signal based on Barkhausen acoustic phenomena which arise from a change in the magnetic field strength. Barkhausen acoustic information is in the form of vibrations produced within the material which occur as magnetic domain walls shift. The domain wall shifts occur at various locations within the material of interest, and the acoustic vibrations are propagated through the material and are observable at the surface by one or more transducers. The transducer and amplifier system forms output signals dependent on the stress levels and influenced by the microstructure in the material. After amplification and display on a suitable recording device, the signals are scaled to relate the stress and microstructure within the specimen. An array of transducers and associated amplifiers enables spatial resolution of stress distribution in a specimen.
James D. King; Gary L. Burkhardt; George A. Matzkanin; John R. Barton