Finite element modelling of a reflection differential split-D Eddy current probe scanning surface notches

Mohseni, Ehsan and Ramos França, Demartonne and Viens, Martin and Xie, Wen Fang and Xu, Baoguang (2020) Finite element modelling of a reflection differential split-D Eddy current probe scanning surface notches. Journal of Nondestructive Evaluation, 39 (2). 29. ISSN 0195-9298 (

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Differential eddy current probes are commonly used to detect shallow surface cracks in conductive materials. In recent years, a growing number of research works on their numerical modelling was conducted since the development of analytical or semi-analytical models for such a sensor may be prone to intractable complications. In this paper finite element modelling (FEM) has been employed to simulate the interaction of a reflection differential split-D probe with surface electrical discharge machined (EDM) notches in 3 dimensional (3-D) half space. In order to attain a better insight into the correct setup of the FEM parameters, a simple multi-turn cylindrical absolute coil has also been modelled. The outcome generated through the simulated scan of this absolute coil over a surface notch in aluminum is validated with existing experimental impedance data taken from the literature. Parameters contributing to reliable FEM simulation results, such as maximum mesh size, mesh distribution, extent of the surrounding air domain and conductivity of the air are investigated for the 3-D modelling of both absolute and differential probes. This study shows that the simulation results on a commercial reflection differential split-D surface pencil probe closely estimate the experimental measurements of the probe’s impedance variations as it scans three EDM notches having different depths in aluminum. The simulation results, generated by Comsol Multiphysics FEM package, for the cases of absolute and differential probes are checked for their extent of validity.