Nondestructive ultrasonic inspection of friction stir welds

Tabatabaeipour, Seyed Morteza and Hettler, Jan and Delrue, Steven and Van Den Abeele, Koen (2015) Nondestructive ultrasonic inspection of friction stir welds. Physics Procedia, 70. pp. 660-663. ISSN 1875-3892 (

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Friction Stir Welding (FSW) is a relatively new solid-state welding procedure developed at The Welding Institute (TWI-UK) and the technique is widely employed for welding aluminum alloys in various applications. In order to examine the quality of the welds and to detect a variety of welding flaws such as wormholes and root-flaws, it is required to develop a methodical inspection technique that can be used for the identification and localization of such defects. The most prevalent and risky defect in this type of welding is the barely visible root flaw with a length varying from 100-700 μm. Due to the extreme characteristics of the flaw, off-the-shelf ultrasonic weld inspection methods are not always able to readily detect this type of minute defect feature. Here, we propose a novel approach to characterize root flaws using an oblique incident ultrasonic C-scan backscattering analysis. The implementation consists of an immersion ultrasonic testing method in pulse echo (i.e. backscatter) mode with a 3.5 MHz transducer, and makes use of an empirical procedure to engender of a shear wave dominated excitation at the root surface, and to properly gate the received signal for root flaw examination. By scanning the surface above the welded component, a C-scan image displaying the backscatter response from the root surface of the nugget zone can be obtained which allows a simple interpretation of the root flaw status of the weld.