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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE / National Bureau of Standards

Eddy Current
Nondestructive Testing

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The Bureau's overall goal is to strengthen and advance the Nation's science and technology
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National Bureau of Standards
Library, -01 Admin. Bldg,

FEB 2 7 1981
not -j <c

Eddy Current Nondestructive Testing

no. S~$9

C. 3~
Proceedings of the Workshop on
Eddy Current Nondestructive Testing,
held at the National Bureau of Standards,
Gaithersburg, Maryland, on November 3-4, 1977

Edited by:

George M. Free

Center for Absolute Physical Quantities

National Measurement Laboratory
National Bureau of Standards
Washington, DC 20234


iptrml 0
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, Philip M. Klutznick, Secretary

Jordan J. Baruch, Assistant Secretary for Productivity, Technology and Innovation


Issued January 1981

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 80-600172

National Bureau of Standards Special Publication 589

Nat. Bur. Stand. (U.S.), Spec. Publ. 589, 153 pages (Jan. 1981)



For sale l>y the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office
Washington. D.C. 20402 Price $5.50

Although testing with eddy cur- These Proceedings are a record of that
rents is regarded as one of the major Workshop.
methods for nondestructive inspection,
many people in the industry regard The purposes of the Workshop were to
this technique as one that offers much (1) review the current status of eddy cur-
greater potential than is presently rent measurement methodology and applica-
realized. It is now used primarily tions, (2) define the directions for im-
for the sorting of alloys by conduct- proved techniques and applications, and
ivity measurements and for the inspec- (3) assess the needs for work on standards
tion of relatively thin conducting mate- and underlying science to address present
rial; thin-walled tubing constitutes a and future problems. The attendees were
major inspection item for eddy current drawn from industry, university, and gov-
techniques. ernment. We have thanked them all indi-
vidually, but it is appropriate here also
In the Nondestructive Evaluation to express our appreciation to them again
(NDE) Program at the National Bureau of and particularly to the speakers.
Standards, we are working to improve the
reliability of nondestructive measure- I also wish to express my apprecia-
ments. The present effort in eddy cur- tion to the planners of the Workshop,
rent testing is directed primarily at Norman Belecki, George Free, and Barry
conductivity measurements; a measurement Taylor of the NBS Electricity Division?
service and standard reference materials George Birnbaum, of the NDE Program; and
are planned to help the industry improve Robert Green of the Johns Hopkins Uni-
this type of NDE measurements. Looking versity. I am confident that these Pro-
beyond that, however, we at NBS agree ceedings will serve their intended pur-
that new ideas and developments can lead poses and help the industry and NBS de-
to greater utilization of eddy current fine fruitful areas for additional work
methods. One means to examine that to improve eddy current nondestructive
potential was a Workshop on Eddy Current testing.
Nondestructive Testing; the Workshop was
held at NBS on November 3 and 4, 1977,
under the joint sponsorship of the NBS
Electricity Division and the NDE Program.
Harold Berger
Program Manager
Nondestructive Evaluation
February 1978


The intent of these Proceedings is Due to the method of printing the pro-
to provide a record of the NBS Workshop ceedings, not all pictures and diagrams
on Eddy Current Nondestructive Testing. turned out to be of equal clarity. I apol-

With the excpetion of the first paper, ogize beforehand to those authors whose
an overview of eddy current testing by pictures or diagrams are not of the excel-
Dr. Robert McMaster, each paper present- lent quality which the participants viewed
ed was followed by a period of discus- at the workshop.
sion. The Proceedings followed the
same format. Unfortunately, the com-
ments of participants could not be at-
tributed in all cases, but where it is
possible the authors of the many com-
ments, questions, and ideas are noted.
Some editing of the discussion periods
was done, consequently the discussion George M. Free
periods are not "verbatim." Editor



Harold Berger



Robert C. McMaster

Richard B. Moyer

Carlton E. Burley

Robert A. Betz

Allen E. Wehrmeister

Clyde J. Denton

E. R. Reinhart

Patrick C. McEleney

Tracy W. McFarlan

Hugo L. Libby

D. L. Waidelich

E. E. Weismantel

Arthur Jones

George Free

Arnold H. Kahn and Richard D. Spal


Leader: Robert E. Green


Leader: Norman B. Belecki



vi i

The proceedings of the Eddy Current Nondestructive Testing Workshop held at NBS in
November 1977 contain papers related to all areas of eddy current testing. A historical
overview of the discipline from its inception until the present is given. Other papers
discuss the use of eddy current testing in the primary metals industry (both ferrous and
nonferrous metals), the use of eddy currents for the sorting of metals and for defect de-
tection, the state-of-the-art in eddy current instrumentation, and the use of signal pro-
cessing in the analysis of eddy current signals. The development and use of eddy current
standards is discussed as well as several of the newer areas of eddy current development,
i.e., multi frequency and pulsed eddy current techniques.

Key words: Conductivity; defect detection; eddy current test; mul tifrequency; nondestruc-
tive testing.


National Bureau of Standards Special Publication 589. Proceedings of the Workshop on Eddy
Current Nondestructive Testing held at NBS, Gaithersburg, MD, November 3-4, 1977. Issued
January 1981.


Robert C. McMaster
Departments of Electrical Engineering and Welding Engineering
The Ohio State University
Columbus, OH

1. Historical Development of Eddy Current

2. Oersted's 1820 Discovery of the Magneti
Theory and Test Methods
Field of an Electric Current
It is probable that no other form of
nondestructive testing has a history of As described by Maxwell, "....Con-
illustrious scientific creativity and jectures of various kinds had been made as
practical development that compares with to the relation between electricity and
the past century and a half of development magnetism, but the laws of these phenomena,
of the concepts and applications of elec- and the form of these relations, remained
tromagnetic induction and eddy current entirely unknown till Hans Christian
testing. James Clerk Maxwell, in his Oersted, at a private lecture to a few
remarkable two- volume work A Treatise on advanced students at Copenhagen, observed
Electricity and Magnetism ,
published in that a wire connecting the ends of a
several editions from 1873 to 1891, sum- voltaic battery affected a magnet in its
marized the first half century of this vicinity. This discovery he published in a
history [l] 1 . In addition, he conceived tract. .dated
. July 21, 1820 [2].
and published the comprehensive group of ....Oersted discovered that the current
relations known as Maxwell's equations for itself was the cause of the action, and
the electromagnetic field, which mathe- that the 'electric conflict acts in a
matically represent almost the entire revolving manner', that is, that a magnet
present knowledge of this subject. For the placed near a wire transmitting an electric
past hundred years, physicists and re- current tends to set itself perpendicular
searchers in electricity and magnetism have to the wire, and with- the same end always
occupied themselves with numerous appli- pointing forwards as the magnet is moved
cations of Maxwell's theory. However, around the wire.... The space in which
during this past century, no one has these forces act may therefore be con-
conceived any significant new law to be sidered as a magnetic field.... In the
added to Maxwell's principles (with the case of an indefinitely long straight wire
possible exception of Einstein's theory of carrying an electric current. ... the lines
relativity, which extends the theory of the of magnetic force are everywhere at right
electromagnetic field to a four- angles to planes drawn through the wire,
dimensional framework of three spatial and are therefore circles each in a plane
dimensions and a fourth dimension of perpendicular to the wire, which passes
time). NOTE: In the following segments through the wire." (Had Oersted been
abstracted from Maxwell's treatise, the provided with a much larger current, it is
symbol .... indicates omissions. Paren- possible that even a piece of nonmagnetic
theses are used to indicate explanatory conducting metal lying adjacent to the
words or comments inserted by the author of current-carrying loop would have reacted to
this paper. Superscript numbers following sudden application of the current, by eddy
headings identify the specific articles of current reaction. Had this accident oc-
Maxwell's treatise used as sources. curred, it is possible that the discovery
of the effects of eddy currents might
possibly have occurred more than 150 years

figures in brackets indicate literature references at the end of this paper.


3. Ampere's 1820 Discovery of the Mutual 2. The use of comparison-coil

arrangements to reduce or eliminate test
Interaction of Two Currents^^ signal components related to common
properties of two test objects.
Maxwell continues "...The action of
3. The use of differential-coil
one circuit upon another was originally
arrangements to compare local differences
investigated in a direct manner by Ampere
in properties of adjacent areas of a
almost immediately (in 1820) after the
single test object.
publication of Oersted's discovery. .. .Am-
4. The methods of coupling
pere's fundamental experiments are all of magnetizing-coil fields with test ma-
them examples of.... the null method of terial surfaces.
comparing forces.... In the null method,
5. The use of dual -coil systems to
two forces, due to the same source, are
balance out external magnetic and elec-
made to act simultaneously on a body
tric field effects (including terrestrial
already in equi 1 ibrium. . No effect
. . is
produced, which shows that these forces
are themselves in equilibrium. This
method is peculiarly valuable for com-
paring the effects of the electric cur-
rent when it passes through circuits of
different forms. By connecting all the
conductors in one continuous series, we
ensure that the strength of the current
is the same at every point of its
course.... Since the current begins
everywhere throughout its course almost
at the same instant, we may prove that
the forces due to its action on a sus-
pended body are in equilibrium by ob-
serving that the body is not at all
affected by the starting or the stopping
of the current.
Figure 1. Maxwell's sketch illustrating
Faraday's basic test arrangement with
"Ampere's balance consists of a
astatic balance coil arrangement [1].
light frame capable of revolving about a
vertical axis, and carrying a wire which
(It would be difficult to estimate how
forms two (rectangular loop) circuits of
many hundreds of 20th century patents are
equal area, in the same plane or in
based upon these simple discoveries by
parallel planes, in which (loops) current It would
Ampere a hundred years earlier.
flows in opposite directions. The object
also be difficult to estimate the man-
of this arrangement is to get rid of the
years of effort and dollar costs lost
effects of terrestrial magnetism on the
during recent developments of eddy cur-
conducting wire.... By rigidly connecting
rent test systems by workers who were not
two circuits of equal area in parallel
aware of the full significance of
planes, in which equal currents run in
Ampere' s 1820 work.
opposite directions, a combination is
formed which is unaffected by terrestrial
3.1 Ampere's first experiment
magnetism. ... (This balance) is therefore
called an Astatic Combination (see fig. (Shielding of lead wires)^ 5 ^
1). It is acted upon, however, by forces
arising from currents or magnets which In Maxwell's words, "Ampere's first
are so near to it that they act dif- experiment is on the effect of two equal
ferently on the two circuits Am- currents close together (flowing) in
pere's theory of the mutual action of opposite directions. A wire covered
electric currents is founded on four ex- with insulation is doubled upon itself
perimental facts and one assumption." and placed near one of the circuits of
the astatic balance (See fig. 1). When a
Ampere's 1820 experiments provided current is made to pass through the
several useful techniques employed in (looped-back) wire and (the compensated
present-day eddy current test systems, loops of) the balance, the equilibrium of
including: the balance remains undisturbed, showing
that two equal currents close together in
1. The methods of shielding lead- opposite directions neutralize each other.
wire connections to test coils.
If, instead of two wires side by side, a circular flow path of eddy currents in the
wire be insulated in the middle of a metal adjacent test material. Small diversions
tube, and if the current pass through the and excursions of eddy currents from a
wire and back by the tube, the action truly circular path will have very small
out'-ide the tube is not only approximately effects upon signal pickup coils coinci-
but accurately null. This principle is of dent with the magnetizing coils. Local
great importance in the construction of detectors of distortions of the eddy
electric apparatus, as it affords the current magnetic field can have far
means of conveying the current to and from greater sensitivity to small disconti-
any galvanometer or other instrument in nuities than large-area pickup coils.)
such a way that no electromagnetic effect
is produced by the current on its passage 3.3 Ampere's third and fourth
to and from the instrument. In practice, QVnQV ,. on
. (507-509,
v 520-521)'
experiments '

it is generally sufficient to bind the

wires together, care being taken that they
Ampere's third experiment demon-
are kept perfectly insulated from each
strated that external currents or magnets
other, but where they must pass near any
had no tendency to move a straight
sensitive part of the apparatus it is
current-carrying conductor in the direc-
hotter to make one of the conductors a
tion of its length (see fig. 2). The
tube and the other a wire inside it."
fourth experiment showed that the force
( i'hese techniques, including also twisted
lead pairs, are commonly used to connect
instruments to sensing coils or semicon-
ductor detectors used today to detect eddy
current magnetic field test signals. At
higher frequencies, shielding by concen-
tric conductors (usually grounded at one
end) aids in avoidance of interfering
signals from ambient electromagnetic
fields or moving ferromagnetic machine
parts or test objects.)

3.2 Ampere's second experiment (Effect of

+ k N (506)
crookedA current
paths) v '

Maxwell reports: "In Ampere's second

experiment one of the wires is bent and
crooked with a number of small sinuosi-
ties, but so that in every part of its Figure 2. Maxwell's sketch illustrat-
course it remains very near the straight ing Faraday's third experiment showing
wire. (See fig. 1) A current flowing no force acting along the length of a
through the crooked wire and back again current carrying conductor.
through the straight wire, is found to be
without influence upon the astatic balance. acting between two adjacent current-
This proves that the effect of the current carrying loops varies as the square of the
running through any crooked part of the distance between the two loops. Analyses
wire is equivalent to the same current of these results indicates that the mutual
running in the straight line joining its potential M of two closed circuits carry-
extremities, provided the crooked line is ing unit current expresses the work done
in no part of its course far from the by electromagnetic forces on either
straight one. Hence any small element of conducting circuit when it moves parallel
a circuit is equivalent to two or more to itself from an infinite distance to its
component elements, the relation between actual position. Any alteration of its
the component elements and the resultant position, by which M is increased, will be
element being the same as that between assisted by the magnetic forces. Even
component and resultant displacements or when the motion of the circuit is not
velocities." (This basic principle has parallel to itself, the forces acting on
been generally ignored with respect to its it are still determined by the variation
significance in detection of small dis- of M, the potential of one circuit on the
continuities that locally distort eddy other. The force between the circuits is
current flow paths. A circular test dM/dx, and thus M, is related to the
coil, for example, produces a mirror-image energy of the electromagnetic field of the
current-carrying circuits.

4. Faraday's 1831 Discovery of the Law of 4.1 Faraday's law for induction by variation
ci + + t a * (528-541)
Electromagnetic Inductiorr of primary current^^'

Maxwell notes that: "The discovery Maxwell advises the reader to read
by Oersted of the magnetic action of an Faraday's "Experimental Researches,
electric current led by a direct process Series i and ii," and then summarizes
of reasoning to that of magnetization by four forms of Faraday's law of induction
electric currents, and of the mechanical His description of the first form of
action between currents. It was not, Faraday's law follows:
however, till 1831 that Faraday, who had
been for some time endeavouring to pro- "Let there be two conducting cir-
duce electric currents by magnetic or cuits, the Primary and the Secondary
electric action, discovered the condi- circuit. The primary circuit is con-
tions of magneto-electric induction. The nected with a voltaic battery by which
method which Faraday employed in his the primary current may be produced,
researches consisted of a constant appeal maintained, stopped, or reversed. The
to experiment as a means of testing the secondary circuit includes a galvanometer
truth of his ideas, and a constant culti- to indicate any currents which may be
vation of ideas under the direct influ- formed in it. This galvanometer is
ence of experiment. Faraday. ... shows us placed at such a distance from all parts
his unsuccessful as well as his success- of the primary circuit that the primary
ful experiments, and his crude ideas as current has no sensible direct influence
well as his developed ones. The reader, upon its indications.
however inferior to him in inductive
power, feels sympathy even more than "Let part of the primary circuit
admiration, and is tempted to believe consist of a straight wire, and part of
that, if he had the opportunity, he too the secondary circuit of a straight wire
would be a discoverer. Every student near and parallel to the first, the other
should therefore read Ampere's research parts of the circuits being at a greater
as a splendid example of scientific style distance from each other.
in the statement of a discovery, but he
should also study Faraday for the culti- "It is found that at the instant of
vation of a scientific spirit, by means sending a current through the straight
of the action and reaction which will wire of the primary circuit the galvano-
take place between the newly-discovered meter of the secondary circuit indicates
facts as introduced to him by Faraday and a current in the secondary straight wire
the nascent ideas of his own mind. in the opposite direction. This is
called the induced current. If the
"The method of Faraday seems to be primary current is maintained constant,
intimately related to the method of the induced current soon disappears, and
partial differential equations and in- the primary current appears to produce no
tegrations throughout all space.... He effect on the secondary circuit. If now
never considers bodies as existing with the primary current is stopped, a secon-
nothing between them but their distance, dary current is observed, which is in the
and acting upon one another according to same direction as the primary current.
some function of that distance. He Every variation of the primary current
conceives all space as a field of force, produces electromotive force in the
the lines of force being in general secondary circuit. When the primary
curved, and those due to any body ex- current increases, the electromotive
tending from it on all sides, their force is in the opposite direction to the
directions being modified by the presence current. When it diminishes, the elec-
of other bodies. He even speaks of the tromotive force is in the same direction
lines of force belonging to a body as in as the current.
some sense part of itself, so that in its
action on distant bodies it cannot be "These effects of induction are in-
said to act where it is not. This, creased by bringing the two wires nearer
however, is not a dominant idea with together. They are also increased by
Faraday. I think he would rather have forming them into two circular or spiral
said that the field of space is full of coils placed close together, and still
lines of force, whose arrangement depends more by placing an iron rod or a bundle
on that of the bodies in the field, and of iron wires inside the coils."
that the mechanical and electrical action
on each body is determined by the lines
which abut on it.

(This experiment demonstrates the material, under or lagging behind the

fundamental principles of the use of moving primary coil. The decay rate of
magnetizing coils in eddy current test- dc current measured at a fixed distance
ing. The need for a time-varying primary behind the moving primary coil. The
current is clearly indicated. The ad- decay rate of dc current measured at a
vantage of close coupling or spacing fixed distance behind the moving primary
between the magnetizing coil and test coil would contain information similar to
metal surface is also shown. This phase and amplitude data obtained by
translates into control of lift-off of phase-plane analysis of ac eddy current
probe coils, and preference for high test systems in common use today. Of
coil-fill factors with encircling-coil course, this type of system would perhaps
eddy current tests. The need for pul- best be used with very rapid scanning
sating or alternating primary current is over test surfaces.)
also now evident. Finally, the advan-
tages of using ferrite or iron cores in 4.3 Faraday's law for induction by
eddy current probe coils are suggested.
motion of the secondary circuit^*^
Present-day eddy current test systems
make full use of each of these prin-
Maxwell states also: "If the secon-
ciples, enunciated clearly by Faraday in
dary circuit be moved, the secondary
current is opposite to the primary when
the secondary wire is approaching the
primary wire, and in the same direction
4.2 Faraday's law for induction by motion
when it is receding from it. In all
of the primary circuit^"^ cases, the direction of the secondary
current is such that the mechanical
"We have seen that when the primary action between the two conductors is
current is maintained constant and at opposite to the direction of motion,
rest the secondary current rapidly dis- being a repulsion when the wires are
appears. Now, let the primary current be approaching, and an attraction when they
maintained constant, but let the primary are receding. This very important fact
straight wire be made to approach the was established by Lenz."
secondary straight wire. During the
approach, there will be a secondary (This example suggests that a
current in the opposite direction to the rapidly-moving conducting test material
primary. If the primary circuit be moved such as sheet metal in a rolling mill
away from the secondary, there will be a could pass by a stationary test coil
secondary current in the same direction carrying direct current which induces
as the primary. flow of current in material both ap-
proaching and leaving the area of this
(Two principles are implied by the local magnetization. Detectors of the
concept of induction by motion of the eddy current field in either location
primary circuit. The first is that po- could respond to local discontinuities or
larized and directional secondary cur- variations in material properties which
rents can be induced by moving a straight- influence the amplitude and distribution
line primary current over a conducting of the eddy currents.)
test surface. Secondly, alternating
current could be induced in a conducting 4.4 Faraday's law for induction by the
secondary circuit or test material when a relative motion of a magnet and the
constant-current primary coil is moved
secondary circuit^*^
cyclically up and down or side to side
over a secondary coil or conducting test
Maxwell continues with: "If we
surface. Where scanning eddy current
substitute for the primary circuit a
tests are required, it is possible that a
magnetic shell, whose edge coincides with
permanent magnet or a direct-current
the circuit, whose strength is numerical-
magnetizing coil could be used to induce
ly equal to that of the current in the
eddy currents, without the need for an
circuit, and whose austral face corre-
electronic oscillator or ac power supply.
sponds to the positive face of the cir-
An additional concept implied by this
cuit, then the phenomena produced by the
technique of induction would be that of
relative motion of this shell and the
using dc magnetic field detectors to
secondary circuit are the same as those
measure the magnitude of secondary cur-
observed in the case of the pri-
rent or eddy currents in a conducting
mary circuit. " (The coil of the preceding
) " " ) "

examples could be replaced by a permanent where M is the potential of the coupled

magnet when relative motion exists between circuits, and I is the current in any coil
the magnet and test material in eddy cur- winding.
rent tests, providing adequate secondary
current magnitude and speed of motion can
be attained. 5. Lenz's 1834 Law Showing Effects
Opposing Causes in Electromagnetic
4.5 Summary expressions for Faraday's
n * A
4.- (531,534,536)'
law of -induction ' ' Maxwell's narrative of the develop-
ment of basic electromagnetic theory
Maxwell summarizes the various continues its description of the early
statements of Faraday's law with the years of development as follows: "In
following statements: "When the number of 1834, Lenz enunciated the following
lines of magnetic induction which pass remarkable relation between the phenomena
through the secondary circuit in the of mechanical action of electric cur-
positive direction is altered, an elec- rents, as defined by Ampere's formula,
tromotive force acts round the circuit, and the induction of electric currents by i

which is measured by the rate of decrease the relative motion of conductors....

of the magnetic induction through the Lenz's law is as follows:
circuit. .. .The intensity of the electro-
motive force of magneto-electric induction "If a constant current flows in the
is entirely independent of the nature of primary circuit A, and if, by the motion
the substance of the conductor in which it of A, or of the secondary circuit B, a
acts, and also of the nature of the con- current is induced in B, the direction of
ductor which carries the inducing cur- this induced current will be such that,
rent.... The electromotive force of the by its electromagnetic action on A, it
induction of one circuit on another is tends to oppose the relative motion of
independent of the area of the section of the circuits.
the conductors. .. .The electromotive force
produced in a coil of n windings by a cur- (Stated more generally, Lenz's law
rent in a coil of m windings is states that the electromagnetic field
proportional to the product mn. . .
will act so as to oppose or resist any
effort made to change its intensity or
Maxwell finally states the "true law configuration. Where mechanical motion
of magneto- induction" in the following causes the change, mechanical force |

terms: "The total electromotive force developed within the system will oppose
acting around a circuit at any instant is the change. If mechanical motion is
measured by the rate of decrease of the absent, electromotive forces will be
number of lines of magnetic force which induced which tend to maintain the status
pass through it. When integrated with quo, namely to maintain the total fluxj
respect to time, this statement becomes: linkages in the system.)
The time integral of the total electromo-
tive force acting round any circuit,
together with the number of lines of 6. Neumann's 1845 Develpment of
magnetic force which pass through the (S
Mathematical Theory of Induction v
circuit, is a constant quantity. ... This
quantity may even be called the funda-
Maxwell's history of developments
mental quantity in the theory of electro-
continues with: "On (Lenz's) law, F. E.
magnetism. Faraday. ... recognized in the
Neumann founded his mathematical theory,
secondary circuit, when in the electro-
of induction in which he established the
magnetic field, a 'peculiar electrical
mathematical laws of the induced currents;
condition of matter' to which he gave the
due to motion of the primary or secondary
name of the Electrotonic State." |

conductor. He showed that the quantity M

.... is the same as the electromagnetic
(This quantity being defined as of
potential of one circuit on the other....
most fundamental nature appears to be
We may regard F. E. Neumann, therefore,
similar to the concept of 'flux linkages',
as having completed for the induction of
measured by the product of the number of
currents the mathematical treatment which
winding turns and the total magnetic flux
Ampere had applied to their mechanical
enclosed in the winding, N0. This
quantity is also expressed by the term MI,

7. Helmholtz 1847 Derivation of Laws of "It appears, therefore, that a

(543 system containing an electric current is
Induction From Conservation of Energy^
a seat of energy of some kind; and since
we can form no conception of an electric
In Maxwell's opinion: "A step of
current except as a kinetic phenomenon,
still greater scientific importance was
its energy must be kinetic energy, that
soon after made by Helmholtz in his
1 is to say, the energy which a moving body
'Essay on the Conservation of Force, and
has by virtue of its motion.
by Sir William Thompson, working somewhat
later, but independently of Helmholtz.
"We have already shown that the
They showed that the induction of elec-
electricity in the wire cannot be con-
tric currents discovered by Faraday could
sidered as the moving body in which we
be mathematically deduced from the elec-
are to find this energy, for the energy
tromagnetic actions discovered by Oersted
of a moving body does not depend upon
and Ampere by the application of the
anything external to itself, whereas the
principle of Conservation of Energy.
presence of other bodies near the current
alters its energy.
8. Faraday's Recognition of Electromagnetic
Kinetic Energy and Momentun/^ 9. Influence of Faraday's Research Upon
19th Century Inventors
Maxwell reports that: "Faraday
showed that (the phenomenon of self- Michael Faraday's two-volume work
induction) and other phenomena which he "Experimental Researches in Electricity"
describes are due to the same inductive influenced numerous investigators and
action which he had already observed the inventors in Europe and the United States
current to exert on neighboring conduc- from the 1830' s to the end of the nine-
tors. In this case, however, the induc- teenth century. This led many others to
tive action is exerted on the same con- experiment with electromagnetic effects
ductor which carries the current, and it and to develop many basic inventions such
is so much the more powerful as the wire as Morse's telegraph, Bell's telephone,
itself is nearer to the different ele- and Edison's many improvements on tele-
ments of the current than any other wire graphic, telephonic, fire alarm, and
can be. He observes, however, that 'the stock ticker communication systems.
first thought that arises in the mind is Faraday in 1831 also showed before the
that the electricity circulates with Royal Society a homopolar generator (a
something like momentum or inertia in the disc rotating between the poles of a
wire. ' Indeed, when we consider one large horseshoe magnet) for converting
particular wire only, the phenomena are mechanical energy into electric energy.
exactly analogous to those of a pipe full His influence upon inventors with little
of water flowing in a continued stream. or no scientific training was very great,
If while the stream is flowing we sud- for Faraday's accounts of his experiments
denly close the end of the pipe, the did not use any complicated mathematical
momentum of the water produces a sudden formulas. A biographer of Thomas Edison
pressure, which is much greater than that notes that Faraday appeared to be the
due to the head of water and may be Master Experimenter whose laboratory
sufficient to burst the pipe. . . notes communicated the highest intellec-
tual excitement--and hope as well.
"These results show clearly that, if Faraday's explanations were simple,
the phenomena are due to momentum, the steeped in the spirit of truthfulness and
momentum is certainly not that of the humility before nature. For Faraday, the
electricity in the wire, because the same natural laws were revealed through ex-
wire, conveying the same current, ex- periment. To American inventors, Fara-
hibits effects which differ according to day, poor and self-educated, indifferent
its form; and even when its form remains to money or titles, exemplified the
the same, the presence of other bodies ethics of a true man of science, whom
such as a piece of iron or a closed they could emulate. Thus, during the
metallic circuit, affects the result." period from 1831 to about 1875, the
(This latter effect is that involved in inventions made on the basis of Faraday's
eddy current testing.) research were often developed by trial
and error, empirically, and step-by-step.

10. Maxwell's Proposal for Development of simple equations in both integral and
v differential form were derived by the
Theory of the Electromagnetic Field
methods of Lagrange, using relationships
from the calculus of variations. Solu-
Based upon the facts previously
tions for alternating fields are also
summarized in this introduction, James
available for many configurations of the
Clerk Maxwell outlines his plan for
developing a unified theory of the elec-
tromagnetic field, as follows:
It is of interest that simpler
techniques, using an 'operational map'
are therefore led to
"We inquire
have been devised by the author for
whether there may not be some motion
presenting these types of equations and
going on in the space outside the wire,
their derivations in simple form for use
which is not occupied by the electric
by second-year engineering students.
current, but in which the electromagnetic
Since the equations are available in
effects of current are manifested.
nearly all basic textbooks on the elec-
tromagnetic field, they will not be
"I shall not at present enter on the
repeated here. Lord Kelvin devised the
reasons for looking in one place rather
solutions of Bessel's equation for the
than another for such motions, or for
cases of probe coils, for example, and
regarding these motions as of one kind
than another.
provided the so-called Kelvin functions
from which simple cases can be readily
calculated by hand or by digital com-
"What I propose now to do is to
examine the consequences of the assump-
tion that the phenomena of the electric
current are those of a moving system, the
11.1 Development of practical electro-
motion being communicated from one part
magnetic induction test methods
of the system to another by forces, that
It has been reported that Hughes
nature and laws of which we do not even
attempt to define, because we can elimi-
demonstrated the basic features of eddy
current nondestructive testing in the
nate these forces from the equations of
1860's showing that it was possible to
motion by the method given by Lagrange
differentiate between metallic conducting
for any connected system.
coins by a simple arrangement of magne-
" tizing coil and induction of eddy currents
1 propose to deduce the main
in the coins.
structure of the theory of electricity
from a dynamical hypothesis of this kind,
12. Early Tests for Eddy Current and
instead of following the path which has
led Weber and other investigators to many
Hysteresis Losses in Electrical Steel
remarkable discoveries and experiments, Sheets
and to conceptions, some of which are as
Active practical interest in use of
beautiful as they are bold. I have
chosen this method because I wish to show
electromagnetic means for sorting of
metals and detection of discontinuities
that there are other ways of viewing the
did not result in many useful test devices
phenomena which appear to me more satis-
factory, and at the same time are more prior to the beginning of the twentieth
century. However, the numerous develop-
consistent with the methods followed in
the preceding parts of this book than ments including that of alternating cur-
rent electric power systems, and the use
those which proceed on the hypothesis of
of transformers and other induction
direct action at a distance."
machines, provided a base of practical
design and a need to investigate the
11. Maxwell's Equations for Electric
losses occurring in magnetic core
Circuits and for Electromagnetic materials used in these devices. Much
effort was devoted to reduction of eddy
Fields current and magnetic hysteresis losses in
laminated steel sheets, particularly by
Maxwell's remarkable achievement of addition of silicon and other alloying
integrating the available knowledge con- elements which lowered their electrical
cerning electromagnetic circuits and conductivity and use of purer iron alloys
fields provides the basis for analysis of with, in some cases, directional rolling
all basic eddy current and electromag- to attain maximum permeability and minimum
netic induction problemsand for most of hysteresis losses.
modern electromagnetic theory. These
To a first approximation, in cores core materials introduced odd harmonics
formed of thin magnetic laminations, it into the magnetizing currents or voltages
was shown that eddy current losses tended across inductances of their magnetizing
to increase in proportion with the square coils (or into unloaded secondary wind-
of the frequency, and hysteresis losses ings on the cores), and the high sensi-
in accordance with the 1.6th power of the tivity of the harmonic signals to mate-
frequency of alternation of the magnetic rial conditions and mechanical stressing
field intensity. Numerous laboratories, were known and purposely avoided where
including those of electrical equipment possible.
manufacturers such as Westinghouse and
The General Electric Company, and of These various effects, well-known to
manufacturers of electrical steel sheets electrical designers at the turn of the
such as Al legheny-Ludlum and Armco Steel century, have since become possible
Company, established measurement labora- methods for control or read-out of eddy
tories to monitor properties of produc- current nondestructive test signals.
tion steel sheets and assure specified (However, in general, the highly-
electromagnetic loss factors for elec- permeable electrical steel sheets now
trical steel sheets. The well-known commercially-available are not ideal for
Epstein test, and many others, were used eddy current tests since their eddy
for these material tests. current losses are so very low. For
their evaluation, electromagnetic induc-
Many improvements resulted, includ- tion tests responsive primarily to hy-
ing use of thinner sheets, use of ori- steresis effects, including higher har-
ented steel sheets, and use of insulating monic effects, may prove more useful.)
coatings between sheets to limit eddy
current flow paths. Also discovered
during these magnetic core improvements 13. Development of Techniques for Analysis
were the undesirable effects of mechan- of Inductive ac Electrical Circuits
ical clamping stresses and stresses
resulting from punching and shearing of The sinusoidal oscillations of
laminations, which tended to increase alternating-current electric power
core losses under ac excitation. Hydro- system voltages and currents introduced
gen annealing and other techniques, such new complexities in analysis of circuit
as those developed by Dr. Trigvie Yensen performance, as compared with analyses
of Westinghouse Research Laboratories, for Edison's earlier direct-current
led to improved materials such as Hyper- electric power systems. As early as
sil, Hypernik, and other magnetic sheet 1893, Professors Crehore and Beddell of
alloys with superior properties. Control Cornell Univeristy prepared a textbook of
of other alloying elements, additions of analysis of ac electric circuits, in-
up to 50% nickel, and orientation of cluding effects of resistive, capacitive,
grain structures and magnetic domains and inductive circuit elements. This
were used to develop special steels with book was based upon detailed solution of
rectangular hysteresis loops which are the differential equations developed by
used in magnetic switching of electrical Maxwell, and involved use of calculus in
currents, saturable reactors and magnetic each solution. Soon thereafter, Stein-
amplifiers, and many novel electromag- metz came to the United States with the
netic devices. These developments il- Thomson-Houston Company (later General
lustrated the variations in electrical Electric Company) and he developed much
conductivity, magnetic permeability, simplified methods of analysis using
grain orientation and anisotropy, me- rotating line segments which he called
chanical stresses, alloy contents, and "vectors" (now called sinors) to repre-
impurity contents, which influenced the sent sinusoidal quantities. As such line
electromagnetic response of ferromagnetic segments rotated about one end (at the
materials and changed the apparent induc- origin of coordinates), their vertical
tance and resistive losses measured by projections mapped out the ordi nates of
their magnetizing coils. The use of the sinusoidal waves, when these vertical
direct-current bias to adjust the ap- projections were plotted as functions of
parent inductance in saturable reactors time. Together with the technique of
and transductors for power control pur- representing impedances on a complex
poses also illustrated a means for re- plane (with resistance R as a horizontal
ducing magnetic permeability and incre- coordinate, and inductive reactance, X ,

mental inductance or inductive reactance. as a vertical coordinate), the use of

It was also observed that many magnetic these phasor quantities reduced the


solutions for steady state alternating part, many of these early comparator
currents to simple algebra and trigonome- systems were short-lived, and received
try, rather than integral calculus. little acceptance in industry. By com-
These methods of signal analysis on the parison, a few such developments, spon-
complex plane are widely used today in sored by major industries or persistent
analysis of eddy current tests, following creative inventors who sought support and
their clear enunciation by Dr. Friedrich set up their own companies, survived and
Forster of West Germany, following World are used in their modernized form in
War II. American industry today.

14.1 1925-1945 American developments of

14. Early Industrial Development of electromagnetic tests for steel products
Electromagnetic Induction Comparators
Examples of continuing development
Numerous electromagnetic induction of electromagnetic induction tests for
or eddy current comparators were patented use in inspection of round bars, tubes,
in the United States in the period from billets, and products of the steel in-
1925 until the end of World War II in dustry of the United States were those of
1945. Many of these were referenced in Magnetic Analysis Corporation and Repu-
1950 by McMaster and Wenk in an ASTM blic Steel Corporation. Both are based
publication, updating a prior (1948) upon the continuing efforts of a few
summary of basic nondestructive test dedicated individuals who passed their
methods. (See Tables I, II and Appendix skills and enthusiasms along to their
I.) Innumerable examples of comparator successors in the same development
tests were reported in the literature and organizations. Charles W. Burroughs,
in patents. Many provided simple com- Carl Kinsley, and Theodore W. Zuschlag
parator coils into which round bars or were among the pioneers of the Magnetic
other test objects were placed, producing Analysis Corporation, whose test products
simple changes in amplitudes of test are still commercially available in 1978.
signals, or unbalancing simple bridge Archibald H. Davis, Horace G. Knerr, and
circuits. In nearly all cases, and Alfred R. Sharpies received basic patents
particularly where ferromagnetic test for Steel and Tubes, Inc. (now Republic
materials were involved, no quantitative Steel Corporation). Their developments
analyses of test-object dimensions, were extended and continued in the Elec-
properties, or discontinuities were tromechanical Research Laboratory of
possible with such instruments. Often, Republic Steel in Cleveland by Cecil
difficulties were encountered in repro- Farrow, Archibald W. Black, William C.
ducing test results, since some test Harmon, and Joseph Mandula to the large-
circuits were adjusted or "balanced" to scale, automated, production-line eddy
optimize signal differences between a current test machines for tubes, bars,
"known good test object" and a "known and billets in use today. (Other steel
defective test object," for each group of companies had early inventors and devel-
objects to be tested. Little or no opers of electromagnetic tests but, in
correlation could then be obtained be- many cases, their managements did not
tween various types of specimens, each support their continuing developments
type having been compared to an arbi- over a period long enough to achieve
trarily-selected specimen of the same practical applications.) Within the
specific type. General Electric Company, an early se-
quence of inventive development was
Many simple comparators operated on pioneered by men like James A. Sams,
60 alternating current from 110 volt
Hz Charles D. Moriarity, and H. D. Roop.
ac circuits, using conventional instru- Ross Gunn of the U. S. Naval Research
ments such as voltmeters, ammeters, Laboratory pioneered a new form of probe-
wattmeters and, occasionally phase me- coil magnetizing system with two small
ters. Such meters typically absorbed diameter pickup coils displaced symmet-
energy from the test circuits, and had rically along a diameter of the magne-
typical accuracies and reproducibilities tizing coil. This was an early example
often of only 1% or 2% of full-scale of use of one size of coil for magneti-
readings. In other cases, well-known zation, and of pickup coils of much
Wheatstone bridge circuits were employed different size, in non-concentric posi-
to balance out comparison test arrange- tions. (See Tables I and II for details
ments, and to provide greater sensitivity of operation of these test systems, and
to signal differences. For the most for other examples from this period.)

14.2 Post World War II developments 15. Development of Quantitative Eddy
in electromagnetic induction tests Current Test Systems By Institut
Dr. Forster
Rapid technological developments
prior to and during World War II (1941- By far the most important factor
1945) in many fields contributed both to contributing to the rapid development and
the demand for nondestructive tests and industrial acceptance of electromagnetic
to the development of advanced test induction and eddy current tests during
methods. Radar and sonar systems made the 1950-1965 period in the United States
acceptable the viewing of test data as was the introduction of sophisticated,
images on the screens of cathode-ray stable, quantitative test equipment, and
tubes or oscilloscopes. Developments in of practical methods for analysis of
electronic instrumentation, and in quantitative test signals on the complex
magnetic sensors used both for de- plane, by Dr. Friedrich Forster. Dr.
gaussing ships and for actuating magnetic Forster is rightly identified as the
mines, brought a resurgence of activity. 'father of modern eddy current testing.'
After the war ended, developments such as His experience prior to World War II
Professor Floyd Firestone's "supersonic included advanced university education in
ref lectoscope" for ultrasonic testing, physics and a significant introduction to
and Dr. Freidrich Forster' s advanced eddy electromagnetic measurements related to
current and magnetometer systems, became the metallurgy and structure of steels
available as industrial nondestructive and non-ferrous metals in German research
testing systems. These systems offered institutes. During World War II, this
new dimensions for nondestructive mea- advanced knowledge was used in naval
surement both of material properties and warfare, particularly with respect to
of discontinuity locations and relative magnetic mines. At the conclusion of the
sizes. The ten-year lag (from 1945 to war, after a period of imprisonment by
about 1955) in industrial management's the French, Dr. Forster retrieved his
acceptance of novel developments was technical reports and, "with the aid of a
uniquely short, in the case of these screwdriver and a technician," began his
instruments. Electronic instrumentation further development of electromagnetic
based upon vacuum and gas-filled electron test instruments in the upper story of an
tubes was approaching the peak of its old inn just a few miles from Reutlingen,
development. These developments permit- where he later established his Institut
ted easy construction of variable- Dr. Forster. By 1950, he had developed
frequency oscillators and power supplies precise theory for many basic types of
for the magnetizing coils of eddy current eddy current tests -

including both abso-


test systems. They also permitted minute lute and differential or comparator test
voltage or current signals to be ampli- systems, and probe or fork coil systems
fied linearly to levels adequate for used with thin sheets and extended sur-
display systems, graphic and permanent faces. Painstaking calibration tests
recording systems, and for operation of were made with these coil systems and
sorting gates, automation of scanning, with mercury models (in which defects
and mechanization of materials handling could be simulated by insertion of small
during tests. Aerospace and nuclear pieces of insulators). Each test was
power industries were developing rapidly, confirmed also by precise solution of
and made unique demands for sensitivity Maxwell's differential equations for the
and reliability of instruments for ma- various boundary conditions involved with
terials evaluation and reliability as- coils and test objects, at least for
surance during service. These industries symmetrical cases such as round bars,
(and government agencies related to these tubes, and flat sheets where such math-
industries) were the primary sponsors of ematical integrations were feasible.
research to advance the art of all forms Further studies were made of the non-
of nondestructive testing. However, in linear response characteristics of fer-
the case of eddy current instrumentation, romagnetic test objects, and methods
governmental support was significantly utilizing very low test frequencies (5
less than in other fields of nondestruc- Hz), harmonic signal analysis, compa-
tive testing, for two reasons which are rators at various levels of magneti-
discussed next. zation, and precise bridge circuits were
developed. In most instances, Dr. Forster
replaced measurements of the inductance or

impedance of test magnetizing coils with However, even more significant has
the more precise technique of measuring been the complete transfer of Dr.
response with unloaded 'secondary coils' Forster's advanced technology to enter-
coupled to the test materials almost iden- prising American firms manufacturing and
tically with the magnetizing coils. The distributing nondestructive testing
extent and depth of these scientific equipment, since 1952. As many of you may
studies were not matched by any laboratory remember, Dr. Forster made his first
in the United States, whether under gov- presentation before an ASNT audience early
ernment sponsorship or operating indepen- in the 1950's, after learning aboard ship
dently. By extensive publications (not about five words of English, namely:
initially in the form of U. S. Patents, "Sonny boy" and "I love you." This first
but in the open literature), Dr. Fb'rster personal presentation in the United States
made the end results of this research was followed by meetings with management
available to the world of technical per- of the Magnaflux Corporation, in which the
sonnel. His monumental contribution of author served as a technical advisor to
almost the entire theory and technology of explain Dr. Forster's designs and
electromagnetic induction and eddy cur- discussion. Agreements for licensing
rent test techniques to the ASNT Nonde- under Forster patents were later
structive Testing Handbook in the 1955- concluded, and the basic Forster
1959 period provided the means for ed- instruments were "Americanized" by use of
ucating thousands of other nondestructive U.S. components and electron tubes, for
test personnel in the theory, methods, Magnaflux, by the NDT staff at Battel le
equipment, and interpretation of eddy cur- Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio.
rent tests. This integrated presentation (Here, again, the author had an
was then used throughout the world to up- opportunity to become aware of the
date eddy current test technology. remarkable character of these new instru-
ments.) During the next few years, in-
creasing amounts of technology were
16. Importation of Dr. Fb'rster' s Eddy transferred to Magnaflux, whose staff
Current Technology to the United States (under Dr. Glenn L. McClurg) became quali-
fied in the design and production of Dr.
The unique developments in Dr. Forster's various instruments, and then

Fb'rster s new laboratory in Reutlingen, marketed these electromagnetic induction

West Germany, were made known in the test systems throughout the United
United States, not only by those capable States.
of reading his publications (in German)
prior to 1950, but also by missions in
which American personnel were sent to Dr. 17. Proliferation of Sources of Eddy
Forster's laboratory for education and Current Equipment Derived from
experience with these new forms of test Dr. Forster
instrumentation. Richard Hochschild, for
example, made a visit of perhaps six The collaboration between Dr.
months in Reutlingen. Upon his return, he Forster and the Magnaflux Corporation
prepared summary reports which were dis- lasted perhaps ten years, during which
tributed by the AEC sponsors of his visit. rapid progress was made in both the German
Other personnel from private industry and laboratory and in the United States in
from other laboratories made visits to advancing the art of eddy current testing.
learn of these new techniques. In the Upon completion of the arrangement with
United States, numerous facilities began Magnaflux, Dr. Forster marketed his in-
research to test these new concepts and struments through the Forster-Hoover
instrumentation, including significant organization in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Rudy
efforts at Oak Ridge National Hentschel who was trained in Reutlingen

Laboratories, at the Hanford Works, and in at Institut Dr. Forster, provided infor-
other facilities. The splendid creative mation transfer to this new organization.
work of Mr. Hugo L. Libby at Hanford (More recently, he has developed similar
during the past quarter century, and that advanced instruments at his own facility
of Robert Oliver, Robert McClung, Caius V. in Ann Arbor.) After a few years, the
Dodd, J. A. Deeds, and others at Oak licensing of Forster instruments to Auto-
Ridge, which have continued into the mation Industries, Inc. resulted in fur-
1970' s, may well have initially been ther transfer to advanced technology, and
inspired (and sponsored in response to) marketing of equipment throughout a new
the new work done by Dr. Fb'rster. organization. The most recent arrangement
with Krautkramer-Branson has repeated this

unique educational process. At present, be subject to rotations and phase shifts,
the large organizations manufacturing as well as to attenuation due to dielec-
many types of nondestructive testing tric hysteresis losses. In many ways,
equipment and marketing their services microwave nondestructive test systems are
widely in the United States are presenting analogous in performance applications to
updated versions of Dr. Forster' s basic immersion ultrasonic test systems. By
test instruments and modifications devel- Maxwell's theory of the electromagnetic
oped by their own staffs. Also in the field, microwaves are reflected like light
market are the instruments developed by waves by eddy currents induced in the
Magnetic Analysis Corporation, those based surface layers of highly-conducting metal-
upon Hugo Libby's research at Hanford (by lic materials. Thus, microwaves appear to
Nortec), those based upon the Oak Ridge have the capacity to apply high-frequency
Laboratory research and developments by eddy current tests to a metallic surface
Richard Hochschild and Donald Erdman from a distance, and perhaps to scan such
(which have migrated from the originators surfaces to detect discontinuities which
through the Budd Company, Automation change the pulse-reflection patterns.
Industries, and Tech-Tran in recent
years). Basically, in 1977, these various When the Radac eddy current systems
brands of conventional eddy current were sold to the Budd Company, Richard
instruments are redundant and similar in Hochschild turned his attention to for-
nature, having been updated to mation and development of Microwave
semiconductor circuit elements and more Instruments Company in Corona del Mar,
recently to integrated circuits in some California. Soon a series of instrument
cases. With the typical instruments used systems had been developed, and the long
to cover various needs and applications, task of educating industrial and scienti-
the presently-available instruments fic users in the capabilities and
operate with absolute or differential applications of electromagnetic tests had
probe coils, encircling coils, internal to be done all over again for these new
bobbin coils, and various special coil and higher frequencies. Of course, the theory
circuit arrangements, many of which were and design of microwave generators, horns,
described in the 1959 ASNT Nondestructive antennas, detectors, and display systems
Testing Handbook by Dr. Forster. Self- had been previously developed for
balancing or adjusting instruments, long-distance ranging in radar. Many
which establish reference points simply by textbooks presented the electromagnetic
the placing of probes upon reference test theory of microwaves in terms readily used
materials or specimens, are available in by electrical engineers. Microwave system
several cases, utilizing developments by components and electron tubes were commer-
Hugo Libby and other innovators. Designs cially available. However, these elec-
of probes based upon digital computer trical engineers rarely were aware of the
analyses of eddy current distributions in needs of nondestructive test engineers,
single- or multiple-layer sheet materials and NDT engineers had little familiarity
have been made feasible through the with microwaves. In fact, many NDT per-
pioneering work at the Oak Ridge National sonnel were still struggling to catch up
Laboratory. Special probes with split with the art of eddy current testing at
coils, internal magnetic shields, and the lower frequencies, as explained by Dr.
other complexities have also been Forster. After several years of diligent
developed for crack detection and other development and continued application
special applications. Digital displays of research and marketing efforts with the
test signals are also being introduced. assistance of Ron Botsco, Microwave
Instruments Company was sold and its
proprietor moved to greener pastures in
18. Introduction of Microwave the area of medical services. A few other
Nondestructive Test and Measuring Systems organizations built simple microwave test
systems, but the development of industrial
At very high frequencies, electromag- microwave nondestructive testing has been
netic fields can be concentrated into languishing during the 1970' s. Limited
beams and propagated through space. When research sponsored by ARPA and other
such a beam pulse strikes a conducting government agencies has resulted in
metallic surface, for example, it is indications of possibilities of crack
reflected and may return as an echo to the detection from a distance, since slots and
site of the original pulse transmitter, or wires simulating discontinuities in metal-
to other detectors, as in radar detection. lic test object surfaces can be detected
In dielectric materials, microwaves can under proper conditions of microwave
pulse-reflection testing. (The theory of which duplicate phase-plane data consis-
microwave antennas and of time-domain re- tently permit a wide range of interpreta-
flectometry of microwaves in tubes, pass- tions to be made, depending upon the
ing along wires, and reflecting and refrac- strategic test conditions selected. Phase
ting in dielectric layers, offer many in- separation of signals to suppress unwanted
dications of potentially-valuable nonde- signals and provide desired signals with-
structive test applications.) Since mi- out interfering effects are especially

crowaves can be focused, microwave sys- valuable where consistency of geometry

tems could also potentially be designed and physical properties of test materials
analogous to optical instruments and test permit their use. The general use of ref- I

systems, as well as ultrasonic test sys- erence standards with drilled holes, milled !

tems. However, in 1978, there appears to or EDM slots, stepped wall thicknesses,
be no significant commercial development and certain natural defects provides a
or application of microwave nondestructive quick means of assuring proper operation i

tests in progress. during testing, or of calibration and ad-

justment of control settings at the begin-

On the other hand, a large-scale ex- ning of test sequences on objects of a par- i

ample of microwave exploration of objects ticular type or material. These advantages '

at great distances is occurring in radio generally accrue with nonferromagnetic test I

astronomy laboratories throughout the materials and symmetrical simple shapes of

world. For example, Professor John D. test objects. They cannot always be at-
Kraus of The Ohio State University has tained with magnetizable test materials or
constructed a large radio telescope in with parts of complex geometry where re-
Delaware, Ohio, and is using it continu- producible positioning may not be feasible.
ously to map the universe of radio stars
and objects which emit microwave signals. By use of magnetic bias (or 'satura-
The mapping has progressed to where many tion magnetization'), depths of penetra-
radio sources found have been confirmed by tion of eddy currents and a.c. magnetic
films from optical telescopes, and others fields into ferromagnetic materials can be
have been predicted in location. Possi- greatly increased. Many simple detectors
bilities of emissions from galaxies, of surface discontinuities operate quite j

'black holes', and other astronomical effectively during automatic scanning

features still exist. Professor Kraus has despite difficulties due to surface rough-
recognized this as a form of "nondestruc- ness or varia ions in hardness or magnetic
tive testing of outer space" and has permeabilities in test objects. Large-
written a delightful biographical book scale through-coil test systems for
"The Big Ear," which summarizes a lifetime smaller-diameter rounds and tubes, and ^

of study and applications of Maxwell's orbiting probe coil systems used with I

theory of electromagnetic fields in clear rods, welded tubes, and even rectangular j

and simple words. billets have been developed to a high

degree of ruggedness, serviceability, and
reliability for use in steel mills and on i

19. Advantages of Eddy Current Test large-volume inspection applications.

Systems Commercially Available in 1977-78 Automatic marking of defect locations !

permits salvage by grinding out and

The eddy current test systems avail- welding repair (if the latter is needed)
able commercially in 1978 have many ad- on production line operations. Detection
vantages which justify their present wide of defects in surface layers of steels is
usage. One great advantage is the repro- well-developed, but measurement of physi-
ducibility of measurements possible with cal or metallurgical properties of steels
many well-built instruments and test sys- is generally not feasible by eddy current j,

tems. Absolute conductivity meters and tests in the United States. One basic |

instruments designed for thickness mea- source of difficulty is the sequential use
surements of specific metals and alloys of sheets, tubes, or rounds from different
are often quantitative and can have accu- mills or different heats, in rapid succes- j

racies of 1% or better. Comparison in- sion on production lines. Although the

struments permit unique sensitivities for chemical and physical properties of these i
detection of discontinuities and of vari- steels from different sources may meet
ations in material geometries or proper- manufacturing requirements adequately, no
ties. With stable reference specimens, effort is made to control the magnetic ,1

tests can also be repeated with a high permeability properties of these steels to j
degree of confidence. Instruments with any type of calibrated standard. As a I
phase and amplitude signal capabilities

consequence, random variations in magnetic to measure material properties or dimen-
permeability prohibit the development of sions, the fact that the quantitative
reproducible correlations between absolute displays of signal amplitudes, component
measurements of eddy current test signals values, or phase angles have no direct
and the actual physical or metallurgical meaning to the untrained observer acts to
structures of the test objects. create doubt. When numbers have to be
'looked up in a book or chart' to find the
real meaning of test indications, the op-
High sensitivity to material electri- portunity exists for human errors. In
cal conductivity (in nonferromagnetic ma- addition, since the same book or chart
terials) has been attained with small would not be valid for materials other
probe coil test instruments typically oper- than a specific material for which the
ating in the range of 64 kHz test fre- chart is designed, untrained observers
quencies. Such small coil probes tend to will question the results. If modern eddy
be sensitive to lift-off, and 'lift-off current tests provided clear, informative
compensation systems' such as those de- images or direct read-outs in numbers of a
veloped by Dr. Fb'rster are often used to specific dimension, property, or service
correct lift-off effects over a small characteristic (which could be immediately
range. Similarly, small differential coil checked on reference samples if needed),
or field detector systems provide high their use could be multiplied indefi-
sensitivity to surface cracks in both non- nitely. For example, where today x-ray or
magnetic and in ferromagnetic materials. ultrasonic tests are specified for control
However, in general, for such crack detec- of weldments, no one dares to trust eddy
tion, manual positioning and scanning with current measurements of these same welds
these fine probes is usually required on for control of welding operators or for
nonsymmetrical part surfaces or materials acceptance of the welds for specific
in service structures and machines. There service conditions.
is no low-cost means for total inspection
for cracks on parts with complex surfaces, The second disadvantage of present
such as those for which liquid penetrant eddy current test systems is that they are
tests (or magnetic particle tests on iron greatly limited by artificial constraints
or steel parts) provide overall surface inherent in the thinking of present de-
inspection at high speed and low costs. signers, manufacturers, and users of these
tests. No one has made any fundamental
change from the basic designs which Dr.
20. Limitations and Disadvantages of Forster provided in 1955,
. nor in the
Presently-Available Eddy Current Test methods for interpreting test signals.
Systems Because of these unnecessary constraints
adopted by tradition, eddy current tests
The primary disadvantage of eddy cur- are far less informative or sensitive than
rent test systems available in 1977-78 is they should be. Examples of such mental
the fact that their test indications are straight- jackets are cited in a succeeding
psychologically-unacceptable. They are paragraph. True advancement to the next
far less effective in stimulating man- era of eddy current testing cannot occur
agement and worker comprehension and until the responsible and active engi-
corrective action than the graphic images neers, management, and test personnel
provided by other processes such as liquid- develop systems to utilize the full capa-
penetrant, magnetic-particle, or x-ray bilities of the method and use these
inspection, for example. These eddy cur- systems for effective control of people,
rent tests fail to produce a clear, visi- processes, products, and in-service ma-
ble, interpretable image of defects or terials and systems.
discontinuities from which an almost-
instant recognition of their nature, The third disadvantage of present
shape, size, or location is obvious to all eddy current test systems is that they are
observers. Thus, where the purpose of limited in penetration depths (often to
nondestructive testing is to motivate less than 5 or 10 mm) and in magnetizing
personnel to best efforts or to permit coil and detector adaptability to rough or
immediate correction or repair of defects, contoured test material surfaces. Few
eddy current tests which produce fugitive probes or test coils are designed to fit
traces on cathode-ray tube screens or into a sharp inside corner or intimately
'meaningless' movements of the needle of a to the outer edge of a sheet material, for
panel instrument, are quite ineffective. example. In general, many probe coils are
Secondly, even when these tests are used on rigid forms, and cannot conform to

irregular contours on test objects. It is the locus curves of response on the com-
also often assumed that smal 1 -diameter plex plane. Here, the signal closely
probe coils must be used to measure fine approaches the 'empty-coil signal' in both
defects or the properties of small areas amplitude and phase. The small contri-
of test objects. Yet, small coils assure bution of the eddy current losses to this
lack of deep penetration of the magnetic test signal also imply lack of test
field into metals or alloys (since the sensitivity.
coil field in air is proportionately
smal 1 ). The sixth disadvantage of some pre-
sent eddy current test systems is the
The fourth disadvantage of present variation of magnetizing current amplitude
eddy current test systems is their insen- with test frequency. Higher test fre-
sitivity to local conditions or disconti- quencies require higher power supply volt-
nuities which produce only small distor- ages to provide a given magnitude of cur-
tions in eddy current flow paths. (In rent in the test coils. If variations in
this sense, "small" is related to the test frequency result in inverse changes
diameter of the test coil.) In general, in magnetizing current, tests may be made
present test systems do not detect dis- on ferromagnetic test parts at widely-
continuities or defects which lie outside different levels of maximum magnetization,
the perimeter of the test coils. They are at different test frequencies. This can
also typically insensitive to small de- create difficulties with harmonic signal
fects which lie on the centerline of the generation and non-linear response charac-
test coils. In fact, existing test coils teristics in eddy current test measure-
integrate all magnetic flux lines which ments. Alternatively, if true constant
their winding turns enclose. With discon- -current magnetization levels cannot be
tinuities small in dimensions compared to provided as frequency varies over a wide
the coil diameter, the defect signals are range, the designer may limit the test
submerged in a large average coil signal instrument to one or a few discrete test
so that highly-sensitive detector circuits frequencies for which constant current
are needed to detect the minute changes in levels can be assured. Even when multi-
amplitude or phase. Even worse, present frequency tests are made at these few
coil -type detectors are insensitive to the frequencies, a loss of information at
tilt or angle of magnetic flux lines encir- other intermediate frequencies results.
cled by the coils. They simply measure
the time rate of change of the total mag- A final limitation of some present
netic flux enclosed by the test coil. eddy current test systems is their use of
This often loses signal magnitude by sinusoidal continuous ac current exci-
ratios as great as 100 to 1. Finally, the tations. A useful signal thus lost is
use of coils for detection of signals that of magnetic retentivity, and its
limits the most minute area detectable to relation to eddy current pulse decay char-
that roughly corresponding to the pick-up acteristics. Square wave or spike excita-
coil diameter (or the diameter of a ferro- tion can provide both retentivity signals
magnetic core within the pick-up coil.) and decay curves for eddy currents within
Modern microelectronics can far exceed the test materials. The use of coil -type
these limitations on reducing the size of pickups prevents detection of the dc
test area whose electromagnetic test components of test signals which could be
signal is detected and displayed. generated with pulse or rectangular
waveshapes, since response is zero to
The fifth disadvantage of present steady- state magnetic flux conditions.
eddy current test systems is their limi-
tation to higher test frequencies and to
tests at larger phase angles on the com- 21. Artificial Constraints in Design and
plex plane. The voltage signal amplitude Use of Eddy Current Test Systems
provided by a pickup coil is proportional
to the test frequency. If an effort is Possible present stagnation in deve-
made to operate at very low test frequen- lopment of new or unique forms of eddy
cies to attain deeper penetration and re- current test systems could result from
sponse to 'rear-surface' conditions, the constraints in thinking about novel ap-
signal can become too low to detect in the proaches, perhaps because these new con-
presence of normal noise signals. Even if cepts are not fully documented in the past
amplification can permit signal display, history of eddy current inspection. For
the low-frequency test condition leads to example, circular test coils were selected
signal points on the upper left portion of for initial investigations because they

were easy to build and many test objects by the magnetizing coil. If this detector
had circular symmetry. Theory also has array could be interrogated in sequence by
been directed to circular test coils since rapid techniques such as used to read
the solutions of Maxwell's equations for computer memories or to digital ize images,
the electromagnetic field could be at- for example, the resultant multi -channel
tained more easily with symmetric circular data could be analyzed by digital
boundary conditions (such as can be solved techniques, and displayed in any desired
with Bessel's equation and its modifi- image format (including two- or three-
cations). Actually, however, test coils dimensional images on a television
can be wound around square, triangular, or screen).
spherical forms. They could be made
highly flexible so that they can be made A particularly desirable change from
to conform to surfaces of any shape. In prior art would be to utilize very large
all cases, advantages accrue in eddy cur- diameter magnetizing coils closely fitting
rent testing if the magnetizing coil lift- test-object contours, to assure deep geo-
off can be minimized. Flexible magnetizing metrical penetration of the magnetizing
coils with stranded conductors imbedded in field. For example, a 10 in diameter test
rubber- like sheets or tubes might offer coil could easily project strong magnetic
considerable advantages. Applied under fields 2 or 3 inches in front of the coil
pneumatic or other pressure, such flexible face. Used with lower test frequencies,
sheet magnetizing coils could be fitted to such a coil might provide penetration
gently curved test parts with essentially through 1 or 2 inches of nonmagnetic test
zero lift-off. If the detector coil could material (particularly in the case of ma-
also be in intimate contact with the terials with electrical conductivities
curved surface of the test object, maximum less than about 10% IACS). With arrays of
test sensitivity and elimination of non- semiconductor type magnetic field detec-
uniform lift-off conditions could be tors, detail sensitivity to near-surface
attained. discontinuities might become sufficient to
provide good recognizable images of typ-
A further typical constraint lies in ical discontinuities and defects. Alter-
the assumption that the magnetizing coil natively, a linear array of magnetic field
and the pick-up coil should be either (a) detectors might scan linearly across the
one and the same coil, or (2) of identical field, or be rotated to provide a circular
diameter and coincident in position. scan of the field within or adjacent to
True, the literature describes such simple the magnetizing coil. The instantaneous
arrangements redundantly. However, the appearance of a recognizable eddy current
pickup coil could be of any diameter image of defects would convert this test
(preferably smaller than the magnetizing into a psychologically-acceptable test and
coil), and be placed at any angle and in greatly increase demand and use for eddy
any desired position with respect to the current tests. The repeatability of such
magnetizing coil. For example, the pick- images, as coil and probes are moved over
up coil could be located at any point, and test surfaces, or tests are repeated after
in any orientation, within or completely a time period, would do much to establish
outside the annul us of the magnetizing confidence in the reliability of such
coil, or even at a point directly under images. In general, the instantaneous
only one point of the magnetizing coil character of eddy current images and the
winding. In fact, if the pickup coil is ease with which depth sensitivity could be
replaced by a semiconductor magnetic field changed or polarized eddy current flow
detector, total freedom exists with established, might compare favorably with
respect to the number, positions, and x-ray or ultrasonic test images of welds
angulations selected for the individual or with fluorescent penetrant or magnetic
semiconductor detector elements. For particle tests of surface cracks or seams
example, an array of semiconductor detec- and laps.
tors could be placed anywhere within,
under, or external to the magnetizing coil Another potentially attractive tech-
windings to provide a multiplicity of nique is that of using differential probe
input signals with only one magnetizing signal pick-ups (preferably by detecting
coil. Ideally, such an array should cover unbalance in a four-detector array analo-
the entire area enclosed within the mag- gous to a Wheatstone bridge) which would
netizing coil or be extended over an area be a direct map of the flow of eddy cur-
much larger than the magnetizing coil to rents below test surfaces. The reality of
provide total test information concerning eddy current flow paths and their devia-
the entire eddy current test field created tions caused by discontinuities could then

be visualized readily. Since local detec- use of the analogue circuits used previ-
tors in the vicinity of crack ends, for ously for such purposes. In addition,
example, can have surprisingly large test incoming test data could be continu-
signals (as compared to those of large- ously compared with prior data (from the
area pick-up coils), unique opportunities same or other test objects) to detect and
exist for precise measurements of crack define differences resulting from discon-
lengths and of crack extension rates. tinuities or changes in material proper-
These topics are of special interest where ties. A further operation of data-
fracture mechanics analyses are to be made smoothing as point-by-point data are
of cracks to determine their capability to entered into memory could add an addi-
propagate under service stresses. tional degree of precision. Simple extrap-
olation or interpolation estimates could
be derived from test data so that changes
22. The Pending Revolution in in trends could be detected rapidly as
Microprocessor Control of Eddy Current tests progress. Of course, differential
Tests measurements, or comparison measurements,
could be made also from absolute input
Already upon us in the 1977-78 time signals, thus eliminating the need for
period is the explosion of use of micro- several test arrangements (absolute, dif-
processors and digital computer techniques ferential, or comparison coils) to attain
as integral components of nondestructive full information from eddy current tests.
test systems and controls. The costs of
these components have become so low that A further natural consequence of use
they are now toys for amateurs 1 i ke the of digital techniques in data collection
older "ham" radio operators. Home compu- and analysis would be the possibilities
ters are available in the corner computer for real-time control systems based upon
store which rival large-scale digital eddy current test inputs. Recognition of
computers of just a few years ago. Micro- material damage in service, high stress
processors have already invaded control of levels, or high temperature effects could
ignition and carburetors in automobiles or be used to shut down or control systems to
domestic appliances in the house-wives' prevent premature failures. In addition,
kitchens. They are urgently needed in in processes such as fusion welding, a
eddy current instruments, where EPROMs multiplicity of eddy current detectors
(erasable read-only program memories) can could be used to monitor and control the
be dedicated to specific purposes, such as welding process. Input signals might be
providing direct correlations of eddy cur- derived from changing conditions such as
rent test signals with material dimensions material thickness, edge or weld groove
or properties. Since small test instru- distance, conductivity of metal, tempera-
ments could now be made direct reading for ture of metal ,
depth of penetration of
any valid measurements by eddy currents, fusion, and final weld inspection for root
the old business of table look-up or in- defects, undercutting, cracking, lack of
telligent interpretation has become obso- penetration at the root, and other unde-
lete. The advantages are obvious in that sired conditions. Other similar pro-
each purpose could involve a separate low- duction control applications could be
cost test instrument, or plug-in PROM's cited.
could be used to change the correlation
data from one test material to another or Still another advantage could be at-
from one test frequency to another. tained in telemetering and storage of eddy
current test data. Digital data could be
The additional advantages to be at- stored in computer memory, transferred to
tained by integration of microprocessors magnetic tapes, floppy discs, or other
and computers into eddy current test in- large-scale memories, and used as perma-
strumentation are the possibilities for nent inspection records (much as data on
much more sophisticated real-time analysis nuclear pressure vessels obtained by ul-
of test signals. Positions of signal trasonic tests are digitized and stored
points could be determined on the complex today). In addition, digital data storage
planes, the directions of signal change may in the future permit direct correla-
established in response to each test mate- tion of conditions detected by one type of
rial variable, and undesired signal com- test (such as ultrasonics) with another
ponents could be eliminated, without the type of test (such as eddy currents).

23. Future Development of Direct-Imaging mapped similarly for the specific test
Eddy Current Test Systems objects in advance.

As noted earlier, the greatest limi- A further potential advantage of

tation of eddy current tests, as compared television screen imaging of eddy current
with more popular tests like x-ray, pene- test signals could be the low-cost, high-
trant, magnetic particle, and C-scan ul- speed production of permanent video tape
trasonic tests, is the lack of interpre- records of all test conditions and
table images derived from eddy current results. Such video tapes can be made
tests. Of course, there is no reason why today on recorders so low in cost that
eddy current test probes could not be they too are becoming toys in the home.
scanned over test-object surfaces, just as Such video tapes are easily transported
is now done in immersion ultrasonics to and can be played back later and at other
establish C-scan (or plan view) images locations for review of test results.
showing defect locations on the test sur- Video-taped images of standard reference
faces. However, such scanning is slow and specimens and defects might also be used
costly which inhibits its use even with during visual evaluation of the eddy cur-
ultrasonic testing. If eddy current tests rent test images. Also feasible, in these
could provide instant images (somewhat cases, is digital enhancement of image
like x-ray fluoroscopy) or permit re- contrast, and display of enhanced images
cording of test information so that it in various colors or with various
could be displayed on the face of a brightness levels which could be adjusted
cathode-ray tube like a television pic- for best discrimination of significant
ture, the data could become psycho- discontinuities or defects.
logically attractive and understandable to
many more observers. In addition, if eddy
current test images could be informative 24. Future Development of Deep-
of conditions through much greater metal Penetration Eddy Current Test Systems
thicknesses so as to compete effectively
with x-rays and ultrasonics, their useful- The future should see a huge improve-
ness could be increased. ment in the depth capabilities of eddy
current test systems. At present, most
With semiconductor detectors, such as eddy current tests are used for surface
indium-arsenide Hall devices, the detector and near-surface inspection where they
size can be made quite small (as compared provide high test sensitivities.
to the diameters of large magnetizing Uniquely-good performance can be attained
coils). If the semiconductor detectors with thin-wall test objects, namely those
were formed into arrays (like checker- whose metal wall thickness is a small frac-
boards) of perhaps 100 by 100 elements or tion of the eddy current penetration
more, within a magnetizing coil of large depth. (Eddy current penetration depth is
diameter, the individual picture elements the metal depth at which the eddy current
could then be read-out one-by-one in se- density, J, is reduced to about 37% of its
quence, just as microprocessor or digital value at the test material surface closest
computer images are recorded and repro- to the magnetizing coil.) At a depth of
duced on the X,Y coordinates of a televi- three times this penetration depth, the
sion picture tube screen. (The hobby eddy current density is only about 5% of
computers are now often equipped with the surface current density. At five
facilities and programs (in software or times the penetration depth, the eddy cur-
PROM's) for such data display as images in rent density is negligible at less than
color.) Such data could be collected from 0.5% of its surface intensity. The stan-
the detector array, subjected to inter- dard penetration depth is an inverse func-
pretation criteria, and the results dis- tion of the square root of the product of
played on a full -screen image in short test frequency, material conductivity,
times, such as one or two seconds. They and/or material magnetic permeability. In
could then be interpreted from the screen, highly- ferromagnetic test materials, the
particularly if the microprocessor also penetration depths are typically reduced
presents needed digital data correlations by a factor of 10 to 100, as compared with
for test conditions and test-object dimen- a nonmagnetic test material.
sions and properties. Such tasks as de-
termining if discontinuities were located Improvements in penetration depth are
in critical areas of test parts could also obviously attainable by lowering the test
be carried out by the microprocessor if frequency or saturating ferromagnetic
critical areas had been identified and materials to lower their relative magnetic

permeability. The first technique, of sible to utilize short electromagnetic
lowering test frequency, was limited in pulses in through-transmission electro-
the past by the difficulty of detecting magnetic testing. For example, Paul Gant
low test frequencies with pickup signal of Shell Development Laboratories in
coils. With semiconductor detector sys- Emoryville, California, used such a system
tems, or by adding integrating operational many years ago to transmit electromagnetic
amplifiers to pickup coils so as to inte- pulses along oil well drill pipe and steel
grate the test signals, it should be pos- tubes. Encircling coils used as trans-
sible to work at much lower test fre- mitters and receivers permitted detection
quencies. If, as an example, it were of larger discontinuities and of zones of
feasible to lower a conventional 10 kHz reduced wall thickness. Richard Hochschild
eddy current test frequency to 1 Hz, the also used radar- type echo ranging with his
standard penetration depth should increase microwave test equipment to establish
by 100 times. However, at such a low test distances to metallic sheet and other
frequency, it would take one second to reflectors.
complete one cycle of alternation. With
modern electronic integration systems, Time domain ref lectometry and stand-
such frequencies are not out of the range ing-wave analyses are widely used in high-
of feasible measurements. In fact, low frequency electronic engineering analyses.
frequency oscillators and analysis systems Microwave parts and 'plumbing' fixtures
should be able to handle frequencies as are available from electronic equipment
low as 0.01 Hz. manufacturers, for construction of such
systems. TDR plug- in hardware is avail-
However, increasing the penetration able for high-quality cathode-ray oscil-
depth by lowering of test frequency is of loscopes, which can be used directly for
no value if the magnetizing coil diameter time-domain reflection eddy current tests.
is such that the magnetizing field in air In such tests, microwave pulses are trans-
is reduced geometrically so that very few mitted along metallic or dielectric rods,
or no flux lines can reach the new pene- tubes, or sheets. Where impedance mis-
tration depth limits. The answer here is match conditions are encountered, reflec-
to employ large-diameter magnetizing coils tions occur. These systems are entirely
(although the eddy current detectors can analogous to ultrasonic pulse-reflection
be as small as desired). An example of a tests. Where the electromagnetic waves
large-diameter magnetizing coil in present travel in dielectrics or in air around a
use is the metal detector used to inspect metallic conductor, reflection can result
air passengers prior to boarding aircraft from liquid or solid dielectrics (such as
in the United States. Such large-size ceramics), or from metal surfaces (which
test coils should also conform to surface typically act as total reflectors). Such
contours of test objects, where feasible, techniques might apply for rapid inspec-
and provide adequate levels of low-enough tion of metallic material moving at high
test frequencies to meet inspection re- speeds in a rolling mill, or perhaps for
quirements. Ideally, where feasible, the insepction of dielectric coatings being
eddy current test should also result in applied to wires, tubes, or sheets under
interpretable images with good psycholo- fast transport conditions. (The travel
gical impact, so that they can influence speed of waves encountered in typical
both management and workers to their best electromagnetic time domain ref lectometry
efforts. on metallic structures is perhaps two-
thirds the speed of light (or about 2 x
10 8 meters per second.) Thus, echoes
25. Future Development of Time-Domain would return from a reflector one meter
Ref lectometry Eddy Current Tests from the source in a time period of 10" 8
seconds or 10 nanoseconds. Precision,
Time-domain ref lectometry is a well- fast-response, high-resolution electronic
known technique for detection of discon- signal detection and analysis equipment,
tinuities in high-frequency electromagne- such as a cathode-ray oscilloscope or
tic field transmission lines, telephone digital systems, would be needed in most
and telegraph lines, and by radar. Sim- cases (except when standing wave resonance
ilar time-domain ref lectometry techniques conditions are present).
are used in ultrasonic nondestructive
testing, and particularly in immersion Further development of the recent
testing. Short pulses of high-frequency efforts to use microwave beams to interro-
wave trains, or a single step or square gate metals surfaces at a distance, to
wave pulse, can be used. It is also pos- detect conditions such as slots or cracks,
highly-conducting surface coatings, di- serve the microwave signals from large
electric surface coatings, or projections trucks, bridges, and machinery. If the
and surface irregularities, is still car radio is tuned between broadcasting
needed to permit practical test systems to stations, so as to receive only "static"
be developed. In a similar sense, use of noise signals, variations in these signals
microwave distance measuring devices to can be quickly found as his car passes
detect movements of structures such as large trucks with metallic bodies, or
large tanks or bridges during earthquakes drives across older iron or steel bridges
or under service loading might also be with loose bolts or connections. If long-
feasible. The still higher frequency distance static is screened out (as in a
laser beams used to range distances in shielded room), the radio signals from
surveying are similar, since their electro- contacts dragging across metal surfaces,
magnetic waves are still shorter in wave- or from rotating bearings, or from loose-
lengths than microwaves. As optical wave- ly-bolted joints undergoing vibration, can
guides and signal transmission systems be heard distinctly. In fact, if while
improve, it may be possible that these wearing gloves, one taps a knife and fork
will also be used for analysis of elec- together while walking about in the vici-
trical and magnetic properties of mate- nity of the radio receiver, he can send
rials, and so join the ranks of practical Morse code or any other sequence of sig-
nondestructive test systems. nals which can be heard on the radio loud-
speaker. When two metals rub together,
enormous sounds and screeches can be heard
26. The Ultimate Goal: Intelligent as the metals complain of the damage their
Materials with Microwave Trouble Signals surfaces are undergoing. When ball or
roller bearings rotate under heavy load or
The ultimate goal with all forms of with inadequate lubrication, each
nondestructive test system development metal -to-metal contact can be announced by
should be that of discovering or develop- clicks and distinct signals. Often the
ing 'intelligent engineering materials' same sequence of signals is broadcast with
which detect troubles by themselves and each rotation of the shaft or of a ball or
transmit suitable alarm signals in time to roller with a damaged surface. In all
permit human control to prevent disastrous cases, the intensity of these signals can
failures. The presently-available tech- be greatly increased by connecting one of
nique of acoustic emission nondestructive the metal surfaces to the antenna lead of
testing is an example of transmission of the radio (preferably through a shielded
signals from materials under mechanical cable). The other metal surface may be
stresses or subject to damaging events grounded or allowed to stand insulated
such as stress corrosion or fatique damage from all other surfaces. On the other
leading to cracking. Man has not tried hand, short-circuiting the two pieces of
very hard to hear the many signals emitted metal together at the point of signal
by natural and artificial materials. Re- generation generally extinguishes the
cent interest has been directed to earth- radio signals broadcast.
quake prediction and prediction of danger-
ous storms. Probably many nondestructive The well-known triboelectric effect
test engineers have not bothered to "lis- (electrification by friction) known by the
ten" to the microwave signals emitted by Greeks 2000 years ago, illustrates the
metallic surfaces and structures under basis of such microwave emissions. During
stress, vibration, or surface attack. Yet, rubbing, one material steals electrons
engineers often have to work very hard to from the other material, particularly when
muffle or destroy these signals when they contact is broken. Since the electron
tend to interfere with intentional human cloud within conducting metals constitutes
microwave or radio transmissions. For a plasma, the sudden removal or injection
example, it has long been known that rail- of charge locally may create plasma oscil-
way axles rotating in journal bearings lations. If one of the metal pieces is
create radio "noise" which is considered insulated from the other, it is possible
objectionable. In fact, copper straps are that such oscillations result in electro-
applied to short-circuit these emissions magnetic waves traveling through the
to assure that they do not interfere with metal. It then serves as an antenna to
railway signal systems or other communi- broadcast these waves into the space
cations. around it. These weak signals can be
easily lost in static conditions. Tests
Every citizen who drives a car with a in a shielded room permit their clear
radio has also had an opportunity to ob- identification and their correlation with
material surface characteristics. The differences in electrical potential, mag-
author has found these signals to approxi- netic fields, and heat or temperature gra-
mate 'white noise

in that they can be

, dients. When alternating or varying cur-
detected at all frequencies from those of rents are induced in ferromagnetic
audio amplifiers, through those of a.m. materials, heat is produced not only by
and f.m. radio broadcasting, to frequen- ohmic losses proportional to the square of
cies of 100 MHz or higher. This could be the current density, but also by hyster-
expected from the short time duration esis losses in the magnetic material. The
involved in the robbery of electrons from total "iron" losses, composed of both eddy
a metal surface. current losses and hysteresis losses, are
sometimes employed to indicate material
Thus, the ultimate in-service monitor properties. The pick-up may detect vari-
system for metallic systems and machines ations in electrical potential distribu-
may well be formed of microwave monitors tion, in magnetic field strengths, in high-
of electron emissions. When the electron frequency electromagnetic wave properties,
charges are removed from a metal ,the eddy in temperature, in mechanical force or
current reaction is one of high frequen- torque, or in losses in the material of
cies, capable of being transmitted through the test object, or combinations of these
the metal antenna and from it to detectors factors. A large number of patents cover
at moderate distances. Increased stress- tests of these types (Tables III and IV).
ing or rubbing of contacts across contam-
inated (oxidized) metal surfaces results Potential Pick-up Methods:
in enhanced microwave distress signals.
These same signals can be used to create Electromagnetic induction tests with
television images of metal surfaces, in- potential contact pick-ups were proposed
cluding geometric features such as for testing of lead-sheathed cables and
scratches, or chemical features such as other tubular conductors by Atkinson (U.S.
corrosion, oxides, contaminants such as Patent Reissue 21,853) and Edgar (U.S.
fingerprints, or even the effects of ad- Patent 2,186,826). The method has not
sorbed gas layers or amorphous coatings. been too popular, however, because it is
With a low-voltage electron beam scanning difficult to screen the pick-up circuit
such surfaces (as in a vidicon television from the exciting electromagnetic field
camera tube), the surface features are not variations. Both Atkinson and Edgar pro-
damaged, and their images can be repro- posed methods of introducing suitable neu-
duced faithfully over long periods of tralizing or compensating voltages in the
time. In this special case, conditions pick-up circuit, 180 deg. out of phase
reflected by eddy current reactions as with the disturbing emfs. Braddon (U.S.
electrons transit metal surfaces can be Patent 2,074,739) provided a method of
imaged with remarkable clarity. Typical locating the flaws in cable sheaths with a
images enlarged 30X show detail approach- suitable indicator. Knerr (U.S. Patent
ing a few micrometers in dimensions. 2,124,577) also included the use of poten-
tial pick-ups in his method for test-
ing tubes and cylindrical objects.
Appendix I

Magnetic Field Distortion Pick-up Methods:

Electromagnetic Induction Non-Destructive
Tests The detection of flaws by measurement
of distortion in electromagnetic fields
(which would have uniform intensity in the
Principle of Operation: absence of flaws) has found wide use.
Chappuzeau and Emersleben (U.S. Patent
Electromagnetic induction non- 1,782,462) employed a series of coils
destructive tests are characterized by the whose turns were parallel to the surface
induction of varying electrical currents of test objects, such as tubes, bars, and
in the test object by means of repeated rails, to detect deviations from normal
variations in an electromagnetic field. magnetic field distributions. They fur-
This method contrasts with the electric ther employed tuned output and input cir-
current conduction tests in which current cuits to obtain optimum response to
flows into the test object through direct harmonic signals. Stein (U.S. Patent
electrical contacts from an external 1,992,100) proposed tube- and bar-testing
source. No input contacts are required apparatus which consists of main exciting
with induction- type tests. The induced coils which set up a normally neutral zone
current in the test object produces in the fields between them, and a test

coil located in the neutral zone, whose Michel (U.S. Patent 2,489,920) used
output actuates an indicator such as a vacuum tube phase discriminator circuits
cathode-ray tube. to actuate neon indicators and relays in a
metal detector for use in manufacturing
Several arrangements of exciting and linoleum. Bovey (U.S. Patent 2,495,627)
pick-up coils, including those in which used a rectifier bridge to convert unbal-
the exciting coil is placed within the anced field signals to a d-c. meter de-
tube and the pick-up coils are placed out- flection in his metal -object sorter.
side the tube, were patented by David
(U.S. Patent 2,065,118). He also employed Transformer Pick-up Methods:
electronic amplification of pick-up
signals, with provision for permanent Several tests have been proposed in
records or for marking the test object. which test objects form the cores of trans-
In U.S. Patent 2,065,119, he points out former arrangements. The primary coils
that voltages induced by distortion of the are excited with sinusoidal alternating
magnetic fields are exceedingly minute, currents, and the secondary induced volt-
often as low as one-millionth of a volt. age magnitudes and wave shapes are exam-
Also, a variation of 0.0001 in. in the ined to detect flaws or material prop-
position of the detector element from its erties. Kinsley (U.S. Patent 1,813,746)
true electrical center in the exciting proposed the use of a magnetic oscillo-
field can produce comparable signals. graph to examine such wave shapes, as well
Furthermore, as the article being tested as the use of relays operating on the dif-
moves through the exciting field, its mo- ference between secondary signals obtained
tion tends to deflect the electrical from standard and unknown test objects
center of the system in the direction of such as tubes and bars. Bill stein (U.S.
its travel. Precision adjustments of coil Patent 1,958,079) proposed a rail tester
locations are essential to correct these in which the secondary signal is amplified
difficulties. and its magnitude suitably indicated. In
U.S. Patent 2,084,274, he claimed improved
A simple means for testing interior sensitivity as a result of shunting the
surfaces of tubes was proposed by exciting and pick-up coils with suitable
Greenslade (U.S. Patent 2,104,646), and capacitors. Hallowell (U.S. Patent
consisted of search coils connected in a 2,010,189) employed a cathode-ray oscil-
Wheatstone bridge circuit. lograph with the exciting signal applied
to one set of deflection plates, and the
Hay (U.S. Patent 2,150,922) produced differential output signal (between stan-
longitudinal a-c. magnetization in cylin- dard and unknown test objects) applied to
drical test objects which were then ro- the second set of deflection plates. Ebel
tated past a fixed pick-up coil to reveal (U.S. Patent 2,111,210) used concentric
flaws. The depth of flaw penetration was exciting and pick-up coils of pancake
estimated by varying the exciting frequen- form, located in a plane parallel to the
cy or by providing d-c. saturation of surface of the cable sheaths under test.
ferromagnetic materials, so as to vary the A similar arrangement was patented by
depth of penetration of eddy currents. A Loewenstein (U.S. Patent 2,116,119), the
cathode-ray tube was used as an indicator. inner pancake coil diameter being designed
to intercept a component of flux greatly
In U.S. Patent 2,162,710, Gunn showed dependent upon the thickness of the sheet
a small probe containing exciting coils or tube being tested.
and pick-up coils located so as to be sen-
sitive only to distortions in eddy current To detect small flaws by eddy current
flow in the test object. The pick-up sig- flow in magnetic tubes and bars, Knerr
nal was synchronously rectified so that it (U.S. Patent 2,124,577) rendered the mater-
might actuate a sensitive d-c. galvano- ial substantially nonmagnetic by subjec-
meter. An automobile tire nail detector ting it to a high degree of magnetic satu-
patented by Wages (U.S. Patent 2,502,626) ration with a saturating d-c. coil or
employed a vacuum tube amplifier and place strong permanent magnet. A transformer-
circuit meter to detect magnetic field type exciting and pick-up circuit arrange-
distortion. ment was used to compare standard and
unknown test objects. In U.S. Patent
A third harmonic in the pick-up sig- 2,124,579, he indicates that pick-up coils
nal was found responsive to flaws in test should have small dimensions comparable to
objects excited uniformly with a 60-cycle those of flaws to be detected, for optimum
magnetic field, by Sams and Moriarty (U.S. sensitivity. A plurality of such small
Patent 2,007,772).
coils, disposed over the surface of the Schlesman (U.S. Patent 2,491,418)
test object, may be required for complete proposed that the standard and unknown
coverage. test objects be placed successively within
or across the opening of a high-frequency
Zuschlag arrives at similar conclu- cavity resonator. Changes in conditions
sions in U.S. Patents 2,353,211 and of cavity resonance would detect test ob-
2,398,488, in which he proposes the use of jects differing from the standard.
small pick-up coils near the surface of a
rotating specimen, and suggests several Magnetic Loss Pick-up Methods:
arrangements of circuit and detector.
Canfield (U.S. Patent 2,245,568) also pro- Burrows (U.S. Patents 1,676,632 and
poses to detect flaws by detecting vari- 1,686,679) proposed the use of pick-up
ations in eddy current flow, but he uses coils adjacent to tubes and bars excited
the quadrature component of pick-up flux by an alternating electromagnetic field.
as a sensitive measure of changes in eddy The pick-up coils were connected to the
current resistance. This component gives moving coils of a dynamometer relay or
an indication which is relatively insensi- meter whose fixed coils were connected in
tive to changes in permeability of the series with the exciting current, to ob-
article being examined. tain a measure of hysteresis losses in the
test specimen. The signal was obtained
Irwin (U.S. Patent 2,290,330) devel- from series-opposed pick-up coils, one
oped equipment for the simultaneous inde- coil being used with a standard specimen,
pendent measurement and recording of a and the second coil being used with the
magnitude related to the phase angle be- unknown specimen. The "duroscope," in-
tween excitation and pick-up waves, and a vented by Sams and Shaw (U.S. Patent
second magnitude characteristic of the 1 ,789,196-Reissue 18,889), provided mag-
pick-up a-c. signal. Variation of leakage netizing and pick-up coils in a single
flux, as through a shunt transformer path, probe, and used a similar wattmeter ar-
is employed by Thorne (U.S. Patent rangement to measure the iron losses in
2,311,715) to detect flaws which influence the area of cutting tools under the probe.
the permeability of rails.
DeForest (U.S. Patents 1,897,634 and
DeLanty (U.S. Patent 2,315,943) pro- 1,906,551) provided means for measuring
posed to concentrate the flux in tubular magnetic losses in sheets and tubes under
test objects by introducing low-resistance different testing conditions such that the
inserts within the tube at the point of indication was influenced first by the
testing. These high-conductivity inserts combined electrical and magnetic pro-
have induced in them large eddy currents perties of the material, and second, by a
which oppose the entry of magnetic flux change in, and characteristic of, but one
into the insert, and presumably con- of the unobserved properties--; for exam-
centrate the flux in the tube wall under ple, the magnetic one. These measurements
test. were correlated with stresses in the mate-
rial, in U.S. Patent 1,906,551.
High-Frequency Electromagnetic Wave
Pick-up Methods: Electromagnetic induction tests in
which plates and tubes were excited by a
Recent developments in ultra-high high-frequency field coil connected to a
frequency sources, wave guides, oscilla- vacuum tube oscillator were employed by
tors, and detectors, particularly in war- Kranz (U.S. Patent 1,815,717) and by Mudge
time radar developments, have contributed and Bieber (U.S. Patent 1,934,619). The
new techniques to non-destructive testing. reaction of the test object (presumably
Because of the normal time lag before issu- the magnetic losses) was detected by
ance of patents, only a limited number of changes in the amplitude of the exciting
such tests have been revealed. Two typi- oscillations in the vacuum tube circuit.
cal examples are given below:
Eddy current losses in the test
Larrick (U.S. Patent 2,489,092) pro- object were employed to detune a high-
posed the use of a high-frequency source frequency oscillator, one of whose har-
and open-ended wave guide against which monics was heterodyned with a different
the surface of the test object is placed. harmonic of a standard frequency signal to
Surface resistance and the thickness of provide beat signals, in a rod tester de-
nonconducting coatings are evaluated in scribed by Dana (U.S. Patent 1,984,465).
terms of the resonant frequency of the Roop (U.S. Patent 2,055,672) placed stan-
wave-guide system.

dard and test bars in opposite sides of an uniformly along the tube wall, the heavy
inductance- type bridge circuit, whose un- currents, upon striking a high- resistance
balanced output signal was amplified and sand hole or pocket hidden from the sur-
applied to a thyratron relay which oper- face by a layer of homogeneous metal,
ated suitable markers to indicate the lo- caused a burn-out resulting from fusion at
cation of defects on the test object. the point, thus breaking down the wall of
the tubular object and revealing the
Zuschlag (U.S. Patent 2,077,161) re- hidden defect.
veals the difficulties of compensating
loss testers for variations (other than Mechanical Pick-up Methods:
flaws) in test objects and standards, and
for electromagnetic interference from ex- A novel method of detection was pro-
traneous sources, and proposes circuit posed by Burrows (U.S. Patent 1,599,645)
improvements to reduce their undesirable in which a magnetizable test object was
effects. In U.S. Patent 2,098,991, he placed on a rotatable spindle in a three-
proposes an artificial standard circuit phase rotating magnetic field. The torque
which introduces into the pick-up circuit developed in the object (which acted some-
signals corresponding to the indications what like the rotor of an induction motor)
of a standard test object, with which the was measured by the displacement of the
indications of an unknown test object are supporting spindle against a restraining
! automatically compared during testing. spring, and was assumed to measure signif-
Further improvements in the detection cir- icant physical characteristics of the test

cuit are shown in U.S. Patents 2,208,145, object.

2,329,810, and 2,329,811.
Technical Literature References
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signed exciting coil assemblies which pro- Non-Destructive Tests
duced uniform flux densities over the test
area in sheets, bars, and strips, so that
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"Nondestructive Testing to Detect
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Symposium on Non-Destructive Testing

table iii. patents on electromagnetic induction non-destructive tests.

Patent No. Patent Assignee

Inventor Title

1,599,645 1/26/24 Charles W. Burrows Burrows Magnetic Method of Testing Magne-

Equipment Co. tizable Objects
1,676,632 7/10/28 Charles W. Burrows Magnetic Analysis Method of and Apparatus
Corp. for Testing Magnetizable
1,686,679 10/ 9/28 Charles W. Burrows Magnetic Analysis Apparatus for Testing Mag-
Corp. netizable Objects
1,782,462 11/25/30 Helmut Chappuzeau Neufeldt und Kuhnke Arrangement for Testing
and Otto Emersle- Betriebsgesellschaft Magnetizable Objects
1,813,746 6/ 7/31 Carl Kinsley Magnetic Analysis Method of and Apparatus 8 No
Corp. for Magnetic Testing
1,815,717 7/21/31 Hermann E. Kranz Western Electric Co. Apparatus for Measuring 3 No
Variations in Thickness
of Metallic Bodies
1,869,336 7/26/32 Alfred V. de Forest Thermal Method of Testing 23 No
Metallic Bodies
1 , OV / , Oj'l LJ 1^/ oo Alfred V. de Forest American Chain Co. Method of and Apparatus 30 No
for Electromagnetic Test-
1,906,551 5/ 2/33 Alfred V. de Forest Magnetic Testing Method 12 No
and Means
T A QotTrtc on/1 virgn General Electric Co. Apparatus for Testing Metals No
J. /I. OdlUS tlUU
XVC. 10,007 / / -r/ JJ 10
F. Shaw
1,943,619 1/16/34 Wm. A. Mudge and Method and Apparatus for 2 No
Clarence G. Bieber Testing Materials
1,958,079 5/ 8/34 Arthur E. F. Bilstein The Pennsylvania Rail- Method and Apparatus for 21 No
road Co. Testing for Internal Flaws
1,984,465 12/18/34 David W. Dana General Electric Va- Method of and Apparatus 15 No
por Lamp Co. for Detecting Structural
Defects in Materials
1,992,100 2/19/35 Wilhelm Stein Testing Flaws and the Like 8 No
in Working Materials
2,007,772 7/ 9/35 J. A. Sams and Charles General Electric Co. Magnetic Testing Apparatus 6 No
D. Moriarty
2,010,189 8/ 6/35 Howard T. Hallowell, Standard Pressed Steel Means for Testing Metal 2 No
jr. Co.
2,055,672 9/29/36 Harold D. Roop Metal Testing Device 7 No
I , uOO ,118 Li./ LLf JO Archibald H. Davis, Steel and Tubes, Inc. Method and Apparatus for 9 No
Jr. Testing Metals for De-
2, Uuj, 1 iy llj ILJ oO Archibald H. Davis, Steel and Tubes, Inc Flaw Detection 11 No
0 720 2
of /9 2 /27
lo/ Of Fred D. Braddon Sperry Products, Inc. Indicating Device for Flaw 5 No
z A77/
1 u/, ,
loi A lo/
*t//I oi Theo. Zuschlag Magnetic Analysis Magnetic Analysis Method g No
2,084,274 6/15/37 Arthur E. Billstein The Pennsylvania Rail- Electrical Tester 64 No
road Co.
2,098,991 11/16/37 Theo. Zuschlag Magnetic Analysis Co. Magnetic Analysis 8 No
2,101,780 12/ 7/37 Carl K. Westfield U. S. Steel Corp. Electromagnetic Testing of 18 No
2,104,646 1/ 4/38 Grover R. Greenslade Pittsburgh Dry Sten- Means for Testing 3 No
cil Co.
1 ill 0 1 1/1C/70
o/ Lo/oo Lawrence C. Ebel Anaconda Wire and Apparatus for Determining No
z, ill, ziu 7
Cable Co. Wall Thickness
2,116,119 5/ 3/38 Alfred Loewenstein System for Electrically Meas- 13 No
uring the Thickness of
Metallic Walls, Sheets,
and the Like
2,124,577 7/26/38 Horace C. Knerr and Steel and Tubes, Inc. Method and Apparatus for 9 No
Alfred R. Sharpies Testing Metal Articles
2, 15U,y2z
nay Apparatus and Method for 9 No
Detecting Defects in Elec-
trically Conductive Ob-
2, 162, 710 6/20/39 Ross Gunn Apparatus and Method for 23 No
Detecting Defects in Me-
tallic Objects
2,186,826 1/ 9/40 Robert F. Edgar General Electric Co. Eccentricity Indicator 4 No
2,208,145 7/16/40 Theo. Zuschlag Magnetic Analysis Co. Magnetic Analysis 18 No
Re. 21,853 7/15/41 Ralph W. Atkinson General Cable Co. Method and Apparatus for 36 No
Measuring Eccentricity
2,245,568 7/17/41 Robert H. Canfield Method of and Apparatus 12 No
for Examining Ferromag-
netic Articles

McMaster and Wenk on a Basic Guide



Patent Ex-
Patent No. Inventor Assignee litlc
Date Number

2,290,330 7/21/42 Emmett M. Irwin Magnetest Corp. Method of and Apparatus No

for Testing Properties of
2,311,715 2/23/43 Harold C. Ghorne Apparatus for and Method 26 No
of Detecting Haws in
Rails and Other Objects
2,315,943 4/ 6/43 Loren J. DeLanty Sperry Products, Inc. Means for lesting lubes 2 No
2,329,810 9/21/43 Theo. Zuschlag Magnetic Analysis Electromagnetic Inspection 19 No
2,329,811 9/21/43 Theo. Zuschlag Magnetic Analysis Electromagnetic Inspection 19 No
2,334,393 11/16/43 Lyle Dillon Union Oil Co. Determination of Magnetic 10 No
and Electrical Anisotropy
of formation Core Sam-
2,340,150 1/25/44 Howard E. Somes Budd Induction Heat- fault- lesting Articles of 3 No
ing, Inc. Electrically Conductive
2,353,211 7/11/44J Theo. Zuschlag Magnetic Analysis Electrical Analysis 3 JNo
2,389,190 11/20/45 George F. Fermier Reed Roller Bit Co. Testing Means 4 No
2,398,488 4/16/46 Theo. Zuschlag Magnetic Analysis Magnetic Analysis 4 No
2,489,092 11/22/49 C. V. Larrick General Electric Co. High-Frequency Surface Test- 6 No
ing Instrument
2,489,920 11/29/49 F. C. Michel General Electric Co. Metal Detector 5 No
2,490,554 10/15/46 Harcourt C. Drake Sperry Products, Inc. Flaw Detector for Tubing 4 No
2,491,418 12/13/49 C. H. Schlesman Socony-VacuumOilCo., Automatic Inspection De- 2 No
Inc. vice
2,495,627 1/24/50 D. E. Bovey General Electric Co. Method for Sorting Metallic 1 No
2,502,626 4/ 4/50 Morris L. Mages Magnaflux Corp. Electronic Metal Detector 4 No

I s

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National Bureau of Standards Special Publication 589.
Proceedings of the Workshop on Eddy
Current Nondestructive Testing held at NBS, Gaithersburg, MD,
January 1981.
November 3-4, 1977 '"
UC u



Richard Moyer
Carpenter Technology Corporation
Reading, PA 19603

The scope of these remarks is to Almost twelve years ago, the newly
present the past, present, and future formed Institute committee surveyed the
applications of eddy current testing in steel industry NDT practices through a
the ferrous metals industry, or more series of questionnaires. The companies
specifically, in the basic steel producing reporting provided information on a total
industry. The source of the data for the of 313 NDT inspection systems. These
review of the past is a survey conducted involved four product types: bar, plate,
about ten years ago by the American Iron semi-finished, and tubular products. The
and Steel Institute. The current and distribution of these among the major NDT
future information originates from dis- disciplines is shown in the first table.
cussions and correspondence with members
of the AISI Technical Committee on Non- An assessment of equipment reli-
destructive Testing and Inspection Sys- ability was reported in the survey. Re-
tems. spondents were asked to judge the reli-
ability of a system as excellent, good,
I am grateful for the opportunity to fair, or poor. To these, numerical values
review for this particular audience where 4 through 1, respectively, were assigned.
we have been, where we are, and where we The resulting average ratings for the
would like to go. It is apparent that the various types and methods are shown in the
participants of this workshop and the second table.
National Bureau of Standards will have a
strong impact on these future directions. The prominent feature of these data
It is forums like these that will pilot is that eddy current testing had appeared
advancements into useful and practical to reach a maturity as long as ten years
channels to the benefit of us all, the ago from both an application and a re-
steel industry included. liability standpoint. It certainly was
one of the big five of NDT.

Table 1. Number of Systems

Product Eddy Liquid Magnetic Radio- Ultra-

Form Current Penetrant Particle logical sonic

Bar 31 16 17
Plate 5 18
Semi -Finished 17 38
Tubular 48 17 26 22 58

Table 2. System Reliability

Product Eddy Liquid Magnetic Radio- Ultra-

Form Current Penetrant Particle logical sonic

Bar 3.2 3.0 3.4

Plate 3.4
Semi-Finished 3.1
Tubular 3.2 2.4 3.1 3.1 3.2


But what about today? Has eddy the apparatus, the longer the downtime.
current testing extended any horizons? This is not as serious a disadvantage for
Has it fulfilled any new application in-process testers as for separate test
needs? Is it more sensitive? More stations, for presumably, adjustments to i

accurate? More reliable? Do the develop- the tester could be made while the pro- I

ments of the last ten years signify a cessor is changed.

truly expanding technology? I

Convenience of calibration is another

It is unfortunate that a similar operational problem. This may be more I

statistical survey reflecting today's difficult on an in-process tester than on i

usages is not available to give quan- a test station, especially if a reference j

titative answers to these questions. A calibration piece with real or artificial \

survey is not needed to fill in one of the defects is involved.

blank spaces of Table 1. Eddy current
inspection of semi -finished billets, both Another operational difficulty is
round and square, has become an accepted maintaining the proper transducer (coil) to
technique, routine in some mills. product spacing and alignment despite the
influence of temperature extremes, me-
The topic of semi-finished product chanical handling system irregularities, I

testing leads directly to an expanding crooked ends, etc. The latter could be so I

related area of application; in process severe as to cause damage or excessive <

testing. This is simultaneous ECT while wear, thus shortening the preventative i

another phase of the manufacturing cycle maintenance cycle. Ease of maintenance

is being performed. Utilization of the is, of course, another operational con-
technique has been made in conjunction sideration.
with bar straighteners
, wire drawing
blocks, and more recently, hot rolling In considering performance problems,
mills for both tubular and solid products. relability must be listed prominently. Is
it a certainty that, when set to detect
In addition to inspecting its own .008 inch seams, an eddy current tester
products, the steel industry has found ECT will not accept a bar with one .012 inch [

useful in defect detection in items of its deep? Or, will a bar with a harmless
processing equipment. Rolling mill rolls scratch of .004 inch be rejected? Also,
and crane hooks are notable examples. in sorting mixed steel, is the separation
absolutely correct? The steel industry is
The steel industry has found eddy not sure.
current testing techniques applicable for I

uses other than flaw detection. The more Another performance problem is J

prominent of these are coating thickness accuracy of calibration. There are many j

measurement and sorting. The thickness types of artificial defects used for
and uniformity of copper plating on cold calibration or set-up purposes. The true
heading coil stock is reliably determined correspondence of the eddy current re- I

by this technique. Sorting for separation sponses to them and to natural defects is |j

of grade, hardness, size, or other feature either unknown or something vastly' dif- !

by eddy currents is a field equally as ferent from one to one. This lack of
large and as important as flaw detection. correlation is also influenced by the way

the artificial defect was made--electric

The problems associated with today's discharge machining, mechanical metal t

ECT applications in the steel industry can removal, manual filing, etc. The shape of
be grouped into two categories: opera- the calibration defect is not always rep- !,

tional and performance. "Operational" is resentative of the true defect it mea-

concerned with the ease or convenience of sures, as with a hole drilled through the
employing the method, while "performance" wal 1 of a tube.
concerns the sensitivity, accuracy,
reliability, and/or effectiveness of the Another performance deficiency is the
test. inability of encircling differential coil
systems to reliably detect and accurately
One of the principal operational evaluate continuous defects. This need is
difficulties is the loss of productive severely felt on installations where
time during set-up and calibration for rotating probes are unsuitable, such as on i

stock size change. This problem exists a hot rol 1 ing mi 1 1

for both encircling coil and rotating

probe machinesobviously the more complex


Test sensitivity and its relation to Discussion

inherent noise creates a performance
problem. Often a realistic accept/reject Question (Mr.Weismantel, General Electric
level cannot be achieved with eddy current Co.): I have two questions, both of them
test equipment because that level is involve opinion more than anything else.
submerged in background noise. Unfor- Number one, as you know, we looked at
tunately, phase adjustments do not always quite a few different mills with respect
provide a differentiation to solve the to the NOT capability. One of the things
problem. we noticed, especially in the eddy current
area more than the ultrasonic area, was
A performance feature not yet ad- the lack of standardization between mills
equately addressed by equipment designers within the same industry as far as how the
is the lack of clear relation between the process was applied and how it was con-
instrument's readout and the true nature, trolled. That is one of the reasons that
size, orientation, and location of the we, as a purchaser, come out with spec-
anomaly disclosed. ifications which you might think are
overly demanding or are different than
A performance consideration needing someone else would expect. Who do you
attention concerns the inspection of shapes feel should try to get standardization
other than rounds. There is a need to within the steel industry for a product of
inspect the corners of square billets as this sort?
critically as the faces. Conversely,
there is an equal need to inspect the Answer (Mr. Moyer): I would answer that
faces of hexagonal bars to the same degree by saying that the customer pushes the
as the corners. producer into standardization. I say that
because the status of standardization in
Obviously each of the problem areas ultrasonics, for example, is much further
described earlier suggests a future need. advanced; in other words, the steel
Accordingly, only those having a pressing industry performs inspections to cus-
urgency will be repeated in this section tomers' specifications at least 100 times
devoted to future directions. The great- more often in ultrasonics than we do in
est need is a reliable eddy current eddy current. That is because of customer
instrument that will reliably detect and insistence. I must confess that this push
accurately evaluate continuous, as well as for standardization has been at the
intermittent defects, in hot rolling mill customer's impetus. Although eddy current
product which is at 2000 F as it leaves testing in our mills predates ultrasonics,
the mil 1 personnel qualification, standardization,
and purchasing specifications to quan-
Farther, toward the horizon, I titative levels in eddy currents are
visualize the utilization of the miracles lagging behind ultrasonics. Perhaps, we
of microelectronics in signal processing take the course of least resistance; if
and pattern recognition to lead us out of our customer says, you have got to do it
the realm of unreliability and lack of this way or we will not buy from you, we
sensitivity. Other solutions to these tend to do it. In-house, we prefer to use
problems might be found in pulse techniques eddy currents because of its economic
or more sophisticated phase modulation aspects. We need not be quite as rigorous
and/or frequency analysis. Perhaps with standardization if we are satisfying
computer techniques will provide a hard ourselves, compared to what we would be if
copy printout of an eddy current test of a we were satisfying the customer.
billet showing exactly where each flaw is
located and how severe it is. Or, perhaps Comment (Mr. Weismantel): It would appear
instead of the print-out, the computer that there is no attempt to establish a
will provide guidance to the grinder so stable process between different mills.
that it may remove each flaw. If we had found more standardization
between the different producers, we would
In summary, to answer the questions have more guidance as to how we establish
posed earlier, the science of eddy current our specifications.
testing has made progress in the last ten
years, but there is a much longer road Comment (Mr. Moyer): It goes a little
ahead. deeper than that. There is a question in

my mind, perhaps it does not exist in Dr. Question (Mr. Berger): You indicated one
McMaster's, but I am not sure what eddy of the big new uses for eddy current
currents are really sensitive to. I am testing was in sorting materials, yet one
not even sure whether they respond to the of the problem areas you mentioned was the
absence of metal or whether they respond difficulty in sorting materials. Could
to the work hardening around an artificial you expand upon that? Are the things you j

notch. Ultrasonics is a little different. measure too close in electrical properties

Maybe I am gilding the lily a bit, but at for you to make an adequate separation?
least ultrasonics response has a stronger
sensitivity to the reflecting area of a Answer (Mr. Moyer): Sometimes, that is
calibration notch providing it is properly unfortunately true.
oriented. We have a greater confidence in
quantitative ultrasonic results than we do Question (Mr. Berger): Could you give us
in eddy current results. an idea of what level of repeatability or
accuracy or sensitivity you are looking to
Comment (Mr. Booth, Bethlehem Steel Corp.): achieve the sorting specifications you
I would like to respond to that. I think need?
customers bring part of the trouble on
themselves in that they buy from several Answer (Mr. Moyer): Well, my particular
mills in irregular sequence at the lowest company makes a variety of steels, it
price. Whatever is coming down the numbers in the hundreds of grades, and
production line, you may have steel from some of those defeat any comparator when
different mills and several companies you try to separate them; for example,
going to production at such a rate there type 316 stainless and 316 low carbon
is no way of correlating results of tests. stainless. There are some disastrous
And, of course, AISI does not put any mixes for the automotive industry, for
specifications on the magnetic properties example, and I feel it is essential that
of materials at all. Consequently, unlike the mix be separated with absolute cer-
Forster, who initially encouraged his tainty.
customers to buy an entire melt or enough
steel for a year or two's products and Comment (Mr. Hentschel): There is no
calibrate the hell out of it, with this reason to have disastrous mixes any more.
random material coming down the line there We manufacture a microprocessor control
is no possibility of realistic testing. that will sort through frequencies and so
So a part of the problem is the customer's forth on the signature of those steels.
fault; he does not demand a whole lot. The question comes down to the grosser
differences and not the disastrous ones.
Comment (Mr. Weismantel): I have a second
comment. You brought up the problem of Comment (Mr. Moyer): This is why I am
how eddy current response relates to an EDM delighted this forum is assembled. These
notch versus a response from a flaw of any things are being brought to light.
particular nature. I look at the cal-
ibration of an instrument as a control to Comment (Mr. Bugden): I think the point
attain uniform inspection sensitivity. It Bob McMaster made is pertinent to this, as
is our responsibility as a purchaser to far as all the variations, not only in
try to determine what that response level chemistry but in processing of various
or rejection level should be, relative to steels. Certainly since we are talking
the types of flaws we think are most about calibration, I think we can see how
damaging to us. difficult it is. I would say that it is
possible to sort mixes, but it is difficult
Comment (Mr. Moyer): I am delighted you in stainless steel or alloys to calibrate
are assuming that responsibility. samples, and carry them over.

Comment (Mr. Weismantel): The point I am Comment (Mr. Hentschel): I want to add to |

trying to make is we do like to see the point that Dr. McMaster made. In
standardization in the calibration of the Europe, they did respond in the manu-
equipment. If there is one area the steel facturing processes; they would be willing
industry has a lot of standardization in, to change the process to allow an optimum
it is in their magnetic analysis equipment. set-up and rearrange the manufacturing to
That is one thing I have found true across facilitate testing. When you try to
the field; but beyond that, standard- suggest it here, they think you are crazy.
ization stops.

Comment (Mr. Moyer): Sometimes the
suggestions that are made are very ex-
pensive. For example, a customer suggested
that testing occur at a given intermediate
size; that means we would have to interrupt
a hot rolling cycle to get it at that
size, provide a surface sufficient to
accept the test, test it, and then re-
introduce it to the hot mill.

Comment (Mr. Hentschel): In the auto-

motive industry, there are examples where
specs for the part manufactured do take
testing into account. It is beginning to
get better.

Question (Dr. Taylor): The Japanese are

supposedly rather advanced in automatic
steel production, at least that is what we
read in the paper. Have they generally
used eddy current testing in their steel

Answer (Mr. Moyer): I cannot answer, I am

sorry. I am not familiar with their

Question (Mr. Weismantel): With regard to

the accuracy of calibration, you mention
the lack of correlation between artificial
defects and real defects. This is quite
understandable. But how well does one do
when comparing the response from two or
more artificial defects, presumably made
identically. Are these reproducible?

Answer (Mr. Moyer): We have not found

them to be as reproducible as we would
like. Unfortunately, the most recent
reproducible artificial defect that we
have found has been a hole completely
through the wall of a tube, which pys-
chologically is very unacceptable to a
customer. But a lot of it has to do with
what we said earlier, what are eddy
currents sensitive to? It depends on how
you manufacture the defect and how you
standardize those processes, really, to
make artificial defects reproducible.


National Bureau of Standards Special Publication 589. Proceedings of the Workshop on Eddy
Current Nondestructive Testing held at NBS, Gaithersburg MD, November 3-4, 1977.
, Issued
January 1981


Carlton E. Burley
Reynolds Metals Company
Richmond, VA 23261

This presentation is not intended to Let us examine how we use electrical

represent the aluminum industry or any conductivity and how standards are related
specific company, but to give some to this parameter. We use quantitative,
personal thoughts based on 20 years of as well as qualitative, measurements of
experience in NDT activities. conductivity.

When I first started my involvement Figure 1 shows the range of

in NDT, being trained in physics and elec- electrical conductivity for some cast
tronics, one thing that puzzled me was the aluminum alloys. In all cases, the
emphasis on ultrasonics and radiography conductivity extends over a considerable
and the exclusion of eddy currents for range. The as-cast condition is shown as
defect identification. Soon I learned AC, annealed material as 0- temper and, in
that it is difficult to convince metal- some cases, intermediate tempers are
lurgists and quality controllers that an given. Notice that there is usually an
eddy current "trace" has meaning. overlap among alloys.

In many cases, eddy current defect

inspection has been oversold. It is not
difficult to find surface cracks and sur-
face scratches, but too often such imper-
fections mask the more serious problems of
internal discontinuities and lead to ex-
cessive rejection rates. To avoid this,
the sensitivity is reduced and everything
passes inspection.

Eddy current inspection for material

defects, in my opinion, requires tech-
niques and operator competences that are COHDUCTIVIIY (X IACS

usually not available in the typical

plant. Figure 1. Conductivity of several alumi-
num casting alloys.
Most of the processes that we use
today have developed from laboratory and A similar situation is shown in
research investigations. This is, again, figure 2. These are conductivity ranges
one of the characteristics of eddy current for several wrought aluminum alloys.
technology: the people who best under-
stand electromagnetics and the behavior of This is one factor to be considered
materials are in the research laborato- in standards for sorting; we can use eddy
ries. With such expertise, we are able to currents for sorting only if we know
do much more with eddy currents in the something more than the conductivity.
laboratory than can be practically
translated to our plants. A further limitation is necessary for
the heat treatable alloys. Figure 3 gives
Most of the applications of eddy cur- conductivity versus strength values which
rents that are used are those involving are typical of a 7XXX or 2XXX alloy.
the measurement of electrical conduc- Notice that we have a cycle. We can start
tivity. These tests are usually per- with the quenched material, proceed to
formed manually. naturally aged, then to artif ical ly aged

and overaged and come back to an annealed resistance or conductivity standard. The
condition. standards generally used are aluminum bars
or rods measured with a Kelvin bridge.
Originally, when we set up our electrical
standards lab, we furnished NBS with sev-
eral samples for measuremnt and have sub-
sequently used them as standards. These
-H3S < standards have been checked periodically
20 it by NBS or another qualified laboratory.
-T i Such calibration has been a direct current
measurement. Thus, when we meet a cus-
-B18 ( tomer's specification for percent IACS, we
are certifying it against a DC standard
since we calibrate our eddy current in-
struments to such DC standards 1

Our lab and plant standards are cut

CONDUCTIVITY (I IACS) from Kelvin bridge measured specimens;
these are used to certify working stand-
ards which are placed on each test
Figure 2. Conductivity of several wrought instrument.
aluminum al loys.
Inmany cases, we are not concerned
with the absolute conductivity. In sort-
ing, for example, only a conductivity dif-
ference may be needed. But if you need to
*SKT measure a sample precisely, a question is:
how accurately can you measure on an eddy
current instrument?

It has been our experience that an

eddy current technique is accurate to 1-2
percent of the reading. If a customer
requires more precise conductivity certi-
fication (such as ofter required for an
electrical conductor alloy), we would use
a Kelvin bridge or equivalent DC
Figure 3. Conductivity versus strength measurement.
cycle of heat treatable aluminum
al loys. Errors can also creep into a cali-
brated eddy current conductivity meter.
There are many double points here. For example, assume you are using stand-
For example, if the conductivity is about ards of 35 percent IACS and 50 percent
midway or somewhat less than the peak at IACS for a two-point calibration. If then
the artificial aging position, on which you want to measure material having conduc-
side of the peak are you? Are you heading tivity of about 25 percent, it is easy to
for the overaged condition or are you on have an unknown error since you have not
the natural aging side? This is important verified the instrument linearity below 35
if the conductivity is to be a criterion percent. In conductivity measurements,
for corrosion properties. one calibration standard should be below
the lowest value you wish to read and the
strength or some other mechan-
Thus, second should have higher conductivity
ical properties are also required in than any specimen you wish to read. For
order to apply eddy currents to identify best accuracy, we recommend using two
temper for heat treatable materials. standards which are relatively close to-
gether; e.g., 30 and 40 percent should be
These measurements, however, are a used if you are measuring material in the
good example of an area in which conduc- range of 33-36 percent conductivity. The
tivity standards have application. To closer the standards bracket the sample,
measure electrical conductivity, you need a the greater is the accuracy obtainable.


NBS should continue to provide pri- tive test; a cladding variation of 0.0001
mary reference measurements for DC conduc- inch can readily be measured.
tivity and resistivity. As an expansion,
a facility to provide comparison measure- As an example, figure 5 shows that by
ments at 60 kHz and 100 kHz (common fre- using a higher frequency, full-scale cali-
quencies used for eddy current con- bration has been reduced to three mils.
ductivity meters) would be a valuable aid The calibration is very close to being
to the NDT community. truly linear.

Another measurement that is related
ALCLAD 7075-T6
to conductivity is the cladding thickness Machined Sample
i measurement, for example, of alclad al-
I loys. Normally, specimens are cut from the Phasemaster B
corners of plate and sheet and measured Frequency: 500 KHz

optically to provide verification of clad-

ding thickness. This is a slow process for
large amounts of material and also does
not provide a way to monitor or measure
cladding thickness over an entire plate. x 1.5
Eddy current phase relationships can
be used to measure cladding thickness on
aluminum alloys. Special probes had to be 1 1 1 I \
developed 2 We found that with
. fre- Meter Reading
quencies of 50 to 500 kHz we can ac-
curately determine cladding thickness by Figure 5. Calibration curve for alclad
an eddy current conductivity measurement. 7075-T6.

Figure 4 shows a calibration curve Where do you obtain standards for

for alclad 2024-T3. We are using a 200 this type of measurement? Figure 6 shows
kHz frequency; notice that we can spread alclad aluminum which has been machined to
out a five to ten mil cladding thickness provide a calibrated step block.
over the entire range of the meter. This
is a zero to 50 division meter.

ALCLAD 2024-T3
Machined Sample

Phasemaster B
Frequency: 200 KHz






\ 50
Meter Reading

Figure 4. Calibration curve for alclad


This range could be further extended.

One feature about an instrument of this
type is that you can, by zero suppression
and range changing, develop a very sensi- Figure 6. Machined step block for clad
ding thickness standard.

2 Dr.
C. Dodd of ORNL provided valuable guidance and assistance.

First, it is necessary to have a rep- thickness changes. Some of the foil/paper
resentative section. Initially, the mate- laminates were brought to the NBS Dimen-
rial was scanned to be sure that the clad- sional Technology Section where the thick-
ding was uniform. Then metal lographic ness variations were confirmed with a
sectioning was used to check the inner- laser interferometer. We are confident
metallic layer for the presence of dif- that our system can measure foil thickness
fusion or any other metallurgical effects variations to one microinch. The several j

that could invalidate the conductivity samples that were measured at NBS are used
measurement. in our laboratory and our plants for

Once assured of a representative

sample, a series of steps of roughly one The above discussion has primarily
mil each were machined from the cladding been based on measurements related to con-
side. Then, a narrow slice of material was ductivity changes in aluminum and aluminum
cut out of the center of the machined alloys. The eddy current instrumentation
sample and the cladding thickness measured is either amplitude or phase sensitive i

metallographical ly at each step. The edge using a single or double probe config-
pieces provided two standard step blocks uration. Standards are, basically, speci- j

from each machined specimen. mens having known conductivities and/or

known thicknesses.
The above is an example of developing
an in-house standard for a specific appli- The next area to be discussed is use
cation. The development of universal of eddy current techniques to locate and
standards for all alclad products would be define surface and internal discontinu-
a major undertaking and one that we have ities. Standards required and used in
not recommended. A procedure for develop- this area raise somewhat different prob-
ing such standards would probably be the lems than previously discussed.
most useful activity for NBS.
One area for using eddy currents is
above techniques have also been
The location of edge laminations in plate. As
used to sort clad and unclad material such aluminum is rolled to plate gauges from
as sheet, plate, and tubing. the original ingot thickness, edge lami-
nations or roll-over can develop; even
Lift-off techniques are used in the though edge trimming occurs, an edge crack
evaluation of products coated with non- may be present in the final product.
conductive films. For these measurements, While ultrasonic techniques are frequently
standards have been produced in-house (or used, these require the plates to be re-
by the equipment supplier) using optical moved from stacks and individually mea-
thickness or film weight measurements. In sured. Using a small flat eddy current
the range of very thin base materials, probe, cut edges of stacked plates can be i

such as coated aluminum foil, the lift-off readily scanned for cracks. Standards are
method gives erratic readings. The mea- required to set test sensitivity levels;
surement problems are compounded by the plates with known laminations are used.
need to use very high frequencies to avoid
measuring thickness variations of the Another application that should be
foil. more widely used is inspection of tubing
and pipe. While an ASTM procedure for j

Thickness measurements of aluminum this method has been published, we find

foil can be readily accomplished with eddy that the use of notches and drilled holes
currents. For example, 0.0005 inch foil is often inadequate for the specific ex-
is laminated to 0.0035 inch paper stock. aminations required. More frequently,
Variations in the thickness of the foil standards used are materials with typical
can be a cause for rejection of this prod- production defectsinadequate welds, ID
uct. If there is a uniform or gradual and 0D voids etc.

change in thickness of the foil, the prod-

uct is acceptable. But if there are peri- At present, there is not a large
odic thickness variations of the order of amount of eddy current defect inspection
15 micro-inches or greater, the material done in the primary aluminum industry.
can be rejected. One reason it is not used is the unfortu-
nate oversell of equipment which, upon
We have found that a 500 kHz eddy cur- full evaluation, proves to be not designed
rent test using a probe with a small diam- or able to meet requirements. If it works
eter flat coil can readily measure these with steel or copper, it will not neces-
sarily work with aluminum.

An area in which I would like to see structure and chemistry are significantly
increased effort is measurement of mate- different from volumetric properties.
rials at high temperatures. Continuous Samples which display such properties are
casting processes for both sheet and rod not used for our standards.
are becoming common; we are going to need
better techniques for monitoring such Question: What order of magnitude of
products. Eddy current techniques have variation are you seeing in your
so much potential, at least theoretically, standards, say, for the worst case?
that improved detection procedures and
data processing methods should have a good Answer (Mr. Burley): One or two percent.
change of commercial success.
Question: If you take a general piece of
Part of the problem is that we try to plate or sheet and measure conductivity
use conventional techniques since we know variation over the sheet that is supposed
we are limited in the amount of money we to be homogeneous, how large a variation
can spend on fundamental research. Fre- do you get?
quently, the choice is to work with in-
strument manufacturers, which requires Answer (Mr. Jones): Several percent. We
full cooperation and interchange between would not be surprised with two percent.
the producer and vendor. This is not When you approach the butt end or head end
always possible because of proprietary of the original ingot, you are quite
requirements. An active program at NBS likely to find a larger variation.
should help the development of eddy cur-
rent inspection devices. Question: What sort of variation do you
get in the middle away from the ends?
In conclusion, seminars dedicated to
free exchange of information among users, Answer (Mr. Burley): Not more than 1-2
potential users, and vendors, such as dis- percent when you get to the final rolled
played at this workshop, should be a good product, say quarter-inch thick plate. If
stimulus to better understanding and larger variations are found, they will be
utilization of eddy current techniques. due to changes in chemistry, differences
in cold working, or differences in thermal
Discussion treatment. My earlier figures showed
these variations may be several percent
Question: You mentioned you had Kelvin IACS.
bridge samples checked by NBS and that,
subsequently, these were rechecked. Over Question: On production line, how do you
a period of time, did the conductivity control temperature so that it does not
change? produce errors far greater?

Answer (Mr. Burley): In some cases, yes. Answer (Mr. Burley): For reporting or
One of the problems is that to cover the certification purposes, we measure samples
complete range of conductivities, stable in the laboratory and allow them to come
alloys are not always available. However, to the same temperature as the standards.
most of the standards have remained con- When measurements are made in the plant,
stant for many years. Wear and scratches samples may not be at the same temperature
are usually the prime cause for as standards; only qualitative values can
replacement. be obtained. But in most cases, you are
sorting and you are not too concerned since
Question: The Kelvin bridge is a DC de- all readings are being shifted in the same
termination of an AC quantity. Is there a direction.
significant variation between bridge

Answer (Mr. Burley): For the purposes of

certification, most requirements refer to
ASTM B193, which is a DC technique. Our
philosophy has been to calibrate our eddy
current meters against DC resistance
standards. Since eddy currents measure
only near surface conductivity, while DC
measurements are volumetric, there could
be considerable difference if surface
National Bureau of Standards Special Publication 589. Proceedings of the Workshop on Eddy
Current Nondestructive Testing held at NBS, Gaithersburg, MD, November 3-4, 1977. Issued
January 1981.


Robert A. Betz
NDT Development
Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Group
United Technologies Corporation
East Hartford, CT 06108

All of the many capabilities of the particular part, the thinnest, and
eddy current inspection method are used therefore the most critical, area is at
in the development, manufacture, and the trailing edge cavity as indicated.
maintenance of gas turbine engines. It The shape of the part is that of an
is used for flaw detection, material and airfoil so that it has a nonconstant
coating thickness measurements, material
sorting and identification, metallur-
gical condition monitoring, and elec-
trical conductivity measurements. It is
used to inspect raw materials, parts
during manufacture, and as a service
routine, some are unusual; many are
common to all users of the method and
some are peculiar to the industry.
Anything approaching a complete dis-
cussion of its applications would fill a
good sized book. For my purposes here,
a few examples of the kinds of appli- Figure 1. Cross section of a portion of an
cation that it finds in the field of gas air-cooled turbine blade.
turbines may serve to illustrate its
usage. geometry on each side and from end to
end. The minimum wall can occur on
The performance of a gas turbine either side and at any location along
engine improves as the temperature of the length of the blade, thus making an
the exhaust gases increases. The ultrasonic measurement impractical. The
maximum operating temperature, however, problem of testing blades was solved
is limited by the turbine parts, partic- using a phase-sensitive, eddy-current
ularly the first turbine blade. There instrument of the type developed by Dodd
are, of course, limits to the temper- at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
ature increases that are possible The use of a purely phase-sensitive
through the development of improved instrument virtually eliminates the
materials. An alternative approach, air lift-off problems that arise because of
cooling, has therefore been extensively the geometry and makes it possible both
developed over the past ten to fifteen to locate the minimum wall and to
years. Here the blades are made with measure its thickness. The technique
internal passages through which rela- has proven to be rapid, reliable, and
tively cool air is circulated. Such capable of measuring the thickness
schemes require that the wall thickness within 0.002 inches.
be measured because the blade wall
should be as thin as possible for most Another application is the measure-
efficient cooling, but, since the blade ment of a multilayer coating. An experi-
is highly stressed, too thin a wall can mental coating system using three layers
lead to failure. is shown in figure 2. The problem was
to determine if each layer fell within
The cross-section of an air-cooled the prescribed thickness range. The
blade is shown in figure 1. In this first layer, applied directly to a
nonmagnetic nickel-based alloy, is very
high in nickel and therefore magnetic. occur. This overheating results in
The middle layer, being a mixture of the material anomalies. Depending on the
nonconductive top layer and the magnetic conditions that generated the anomaly, a
first layer, is less strongly magnetic. number of undesirable metallurgical
The properties of the various layers changes can occur. In the worst case,
suggested that an eddy current test the area includes both retempered and
might be used to make the measurements. rehardened material while in the simplest
Because the coating system is a complex case only a residual stress field
one, an impedance analysis type of results. Because these bearings operate
instrument with a storage oscilloscope at very high stress levels, any of these
readout was used to study the problem. conditions can result in a premature
Figure 3 shows the impedance failure. Fortunately, all of changes in
metallurgical structure result in a
local change in the permeability of the
material so they can all be detected

with an eddy current test. Further,
each condition has its own characteristic
HIGH NICKEL MATERIAL response by which the eddy current test
can identify the condition that is
Figure 2. Three layer coating.
Up to this point, we have been
discussing manufacturing inspections.
However, eddy current methods are also
widely used for service inspections. In
fact, the majority of the flaw detection
applications are in this area.

Gas turbine engines, as with any

rotating machine, are subject to vi-
FlfST LAYER IMA*. bration and the resulting fatigue
damage. For most parts, fluorescent
penetrant inspection is used to detect
nevr l THIRD
LflYEftSlYft-t this damage, but there are some cases
miu. where this method is not satisfactory.
FlSiX, SECOND! One of these is in the root of fan
blades where vibration gives rise to
both fatigue damage and a mild surface
BOUVDED AREAS A6E ACCEPTABLE ZONEC galling. The latter condition interferes
with penetrant inspection because it
tends to close the surface opening of
the damage. An eddy current test is
therefore used on these parts. Specially
Figure 3. Impedance plane response for contoured probes are used to maintain
multilayer coating. coil position and alignment because the
area of interest is adjacent to a fillet
plane relationships of various thickness radius as shown in figure 4.
combinations of the three layers. The
areas defined by these maximum and A major advantage of the eddy current
minimum points represent an acceptable method in service inspection is its adapt-
thickness for each layer. Since the ability to remote inspections. By using
areas do not overlap, the acceptability some ingenuity, it is often possible to
of the thickness of any layer can be make special probes which can be used to
determined, provided that the lower perform internal inspections without
layers are within their required thick- engine disassembly. This kind of applica-
ness range. tion does not always allow maximum
sensitivity to be obtained, but where
Gas turbine engines use high qual- adequate sensitivity can be obtained, it
ity bearings which are required to have saves the considerable cost of teardown
a long life; any possible premature and rebuilding.
failure is cause for concern. During
grinding of the bearing races, localized As the examples cited may have
overheating of the surface can sometimes indicated, there are a wide variety of


The checking of aluminum alloys for

hardness requires good conductivity
standards. This is an area that is cur-
rently being studied and that is to be
presented in more detail by others.
There seems to be little reason why such
a program should not eventually be

How one establishes uniform reference

standards for other types of tests is
not so apparent. Consider coating
FATIGUE CRACK thickness measurements as an example.
If only relatively few (say a couple of
dozen) combinations of base material and
coating need to be considered, the
problem would probably be manageable.
Figure 4. Fatigue crack inspection of fan Unfortunately, this is not the case. In
blade roots. a large company, there may be as many as
30 or 40 base material -coating com-
eddy current applications in the industry, binations that could require measurement,
and to cover this range, a considerable exclusive of nonconducti ve coatings.
diversity of equipment is required. Throughout the country, the number of
While it would be nice to have one piece combinations must be gigantic. Then,
of equipment that would be all things to there are always the unusual cases to be
all tests, this does not appear to be considered, such as the three layer
very likely. For the most part, there coating discussed earlier.
does seem to be commercially available
equipment that can solve those problems Even more difficult from the standards
that lend themselves to the eddy current point of view are tests such as the
approach; it is just that the greater blade wall thickness measurement that
the number of jobs to be done, the has been discussed. Here, the only
larger the number of different instru- practical calibration is an indirect one
ments one must have available. The fact because one cannot make a direct mechanical
that so many jobs can be done should not measurement of the reference masters.
be taken as meaning that new equipment To do so requires removal of the opposite
developments are not needed. With new wall which changes the eddy current
or improved equipment and techniques, it response. To calibrate this inspection,
may be possible to find more appli- three blades were chosen that gave high,
cations or to significantly improve low, and midrange response. Using these
those that are already in use. Improved to establish a uniform instrument set-
sensitivity to subsurface flaws, for up, enough parts were sectioned and
example, would be a welcome improvement mechanically measured to establish a
in certain applications. For improved calibration curve that related actual
capabilities, however, most users must wall thickness and eddy current instrument
depend on the equipment manufacturers; meter reading.
few users are in a position to develop
new instrumentation. Even when a user Reference standards for flaw detec-
does have the capability to make new tion could well be a fertile field of
equipment developments, the chances of investigation. Over the years, users
such equipment being used outside his and manufacturers of eddy current
own facility are slim unless commercial equipment have come up with a wide
exploitation follows. variety of methods for calibrating
equipment to do flaw detection. These
The area of reference standards is have included round file notches, drilled
an extremely large one. The desirability holes, electrical-discharge machined
of having traceable standards is quite (EDM) notches, machined rectangular
obvious, but the problems associated notches, and machined "V" notches.
with such a task appear formidable. The While any of these can be used to estab-
way appears relatively easy in only a lish a repeatable machine set-up level,
few cases. Let us consider the reference there would seem to be considerable
standards required for a few typical question about how they relate to one
appl i cations. another and to real flaws. In physical

appearance, an EDM notch, especially a electrode would be curved just like the
narrow one, superficially appears to be tube, and then he moved it over and made
a better simulator of a natural crack the notch. He said, "I do that all the
than does a drilled hole. But how time when I am making ultrasonic notches,
significant is a physical similarity? A and it does not cause them any trouble."
question that has been raised and never I found tremendous signals from places
fully answered is whether an artificial where he had burnished the electrode. If
standard can truly simulate a real you are not aware of this effect you may I

crack. Cracks are the result of stresses think the signals are coming from the
within the material, and there is notch of the standard; they are not,
usually some residual stress field they are really coming from the burnished
remaining that can modify the eddy place. If you use EDM notches as standards
current response. How true is this for small notches, be careful when they
idea, and is it true for all types of do not appear to be consistent. It
cracks in all materials? These are only apparently has something to do with the
a few of the dozens of questions that conditions under which the notches were
come to mind when considering this made, the oil, temperature, etc., and do
particular aspect of eddy current not let them burnish the electrodes.
Question : How do you validate your
The eddy current inspection method measurements for the case of the multi-
has become a major tool for the resolution layer laminate you talked about?
of problems not amenable to solution by
other nondestructive testing methods. Answer (Mr. Betz): As I said, we did it
Its application in research and develop- as a feasibility study. What we did to
ment programs and in manufacturing and get the data that we obtained was have
service applications is essential for our people make us a maximum and minimum
any well-rounded nondestructive testing coating on the base material, and then a
program. Advancing gas turbine technology maximum and minimum second layer to get
will require continuing development of the proper combinations, and then we
inspection techniques, equipment, and went to a nonconducti ve shim stock for
standards. the third layer.

Comment (Mr. Weismantel): I think one of

our problems in the NDE area is that we
keep trying to make notches to represent
the flaw we are trying to find. The
purpose of an artificial defect is to
make a reproducible condition so some
facility on the other side of the
country can set up that particular
condition, and essentially work to the
same sensitivity or a similar sensi-
tivity. I do not think that we will
ever get to the point where we will be
able to use a notch to represent the
flaw you are looking at, because flaws
vary so much. The purpose of the
standard is not to represent the flaw,
but to bring you to a point where you
can find the flaws that you have shown.
This you can do under certain conditions.

Comment (Mr. Brown): I am not sure

whether to make these comments now or
later when we get into the nuclear area.
But, I wanted to pass on some experi-
ences I have had with EDM notches. They
are not all alike. I had some EDM
notches made and the person who was
making them brought the electrode down
on the tube and moved it back and forth
a little bit so that the end of the

National Bureau of Standards Special Publication 589. Proceedings of the Workshop on Eddy
Current Nondestructive Testing held at NBS, Gai thersburg MD, November 3-4, 1977.
, Issued
January 1981.


Allen E. Wehrmei ster

Babcock & Wilcox Company
Lynchburg Research Center
Lynchburg, VA 24505

This paper discusses eddy current Tubes installed in steam generators

testing in the nuclear industry. Almost are subjected to a more complicated test
all eddy current inspection at Babcock & environment. Field inspection of these
Wilcox (B&W) is for tubing; tubing specifi- tubes is the primary purpose for my
cally for nuclear steam generators. In- participation in this NBS workshop. Two
spection is performed during tube manu- types of steam generator concepts are
facture and after installation in steam widely used, the recirculating steam
generators. generator (RSG) or U-bend generator and
the B&W designed once- through steam
An automatic shop tube inspection generator (OTSG). The OTSG has all
station is shown in figure 1. Straight straight tubes, no U-bends. The test
lengths of tubing are inspected for problems encountered in these generators
anomalies formed during the manufacturing can be similar. I will discuss some of
process. The types of tube anomalies are the inspection problems encountered, how
predictable and readily detected with the some have been overcome, and others that
eddy current method. The consistency of still require a solution. These problems
daily shop operation yields a highly have a significant adverse impact on the
reliable test system. reliability of eddy current examinations
of install pri tuhpc

Figure 1. Automatic eddy current inspection station for steam generator tubes.

What is an OTSG test environment? other test frequencies for more informa-
The OTSG is about 60 feet high and con- tion. Multi-frequency examination is used
tains 15,500 Inconel 600 tubes (see to validate anomalies and perform flaw
fig. 2). Superheated water (referred to characterization. Leaks between the pri-
as primary side water) enters the top of mary and secondary sides are of primary
the generator and exits at the bottom. concern, but eddy current examinations do
The secondary side water (on the outside not detect leaks. Leaking tubes are iden-
of the tube) enters at the bottom and con- tified with hydrostatic tests. Eddy cur-
verts to steam, exiting at the top. There rent examination detects tube anomalies
are 15 tube support plates located along which may or may not have leak potential.
the length of the generator. The supports
are made of 1-1/2 inch thick carbon steel Any phenomenon that interferes with
plate. Each tube passes through each the flaw signal shape or orientation
support. affects the ability of an analyzer to in-
terpret the data. The support plate pro-
duces an eddy current signal pattern like
a horizontal figure eight. The tube
region within 1/2 inch of each edge of a
support plate is subject to the possi-
bility of a flaw signal mixing with the
tube support signal. For each tube sup-
15 500 lakes

1(4 Kills [lllll lll|lk|

port plate, therefore, about 2 inches of
tube is masked by an interfering tube sup-
,CI[ll!IC OIKtil port plate signal. That represents 32
140.000 Ft.
SlrtlM liu il Tikis inches out of 56 feet of tubing; and as it SdEIITII S till ll 1 Flllklll Flllll
turns out, these areas are the most crit-
ical regions in the generator. The instru-
ment on the right of figure 5 is a com-
puter system that was designed to elim-
inate the effects of the tube support sig-
nals during analysis. This signal pro-
cessing makes the signal look as though it
were from free and clear tubing.

Figure 6 illustrates the computer

signal processing concept. When a dif-
ferential eddy current coil system detects
Figure 2. Schematic of Once Through a crack in free and clear tubing, a clas-
Steam Generator (OTSG). Vertical sical flaw signal 1 is generated. When
tubes are supported by 15 horizontal one edge of a support plate is detected,
plates. Two OTSG's are in each one half of the horizontal figure-eight
nuclear steam system. pattern is generated 2 .When a crack is
at the edge of a support plate, a distor-
The tube is inspected for general ted tube support signal (or a distorted
wall thinning as a probe is driven into flaw signal) is generated 3 Subtracting

the steam generator. Examination for dis- the tube support signal from the distorted
crete flaws is made while the probe is signal results in a classical flaw signal
being withdrawn. The probe drive and ma- that can be interpreted.
nipulator system are sketched in figure 3.
The eddy current signals are recorded on Figures 7 and 8 are examples of
magnetic tape and on a strip chart for actual inspection signals before and after
post analysis. B&W uses a test frequency signal processing. The resultant indi-
which produces about one standard depth of cations are classical flaw signals from
eddy current penetration in the tube wall. the outer surface of the tube. This anal-
Typical signals at this test frequency are ysis is not clear from the distorted sup-
displayed as shown in figure 4 (from arti- port plate signal deviation alone. We
ficial flaws). A range of signal orien- must analyze that deviation and judge its
tations (phase angles) are used to significance. When support plate signals
establish flaw through-wall penetration. are distorted, they represent a deviation
from normal, something detected. Unless
The data are taken to a data analy- the signal deviation is studied and its
sis center for post-test review. When cause established, we do not really know
"flaw- like" signals are detected, the what has been detected.
questionable region is examined again at

Pivot Locator

Figure 3. Master/Slave probe manipulator concept. Probe position is

verified with a television system prior to inserting probe in tube.
The Master template and eddy current instruments are remote from the


10.8% t


Figure 4. Oscilloscope and strip chart tracings of artificial anomalies

10.8%, 36.5%, 63.5%, and 100% of the tube wall thickness.

Figure 5. The first Computer Eddy Current Analyzer (CECA-1) shown during
field post-analysis.







Figure 6.
V Ho \f
Illustration of the computer signal processing concept.





Figure 7. A distorted tube support plate Figure 8. A distorted upper tube sheet
signal and the resultant flaw signal signal, a reference tube sheet signal,
after subtracting a good support plate and the processed resultant signal.
reference signal. Tracings of actual Tracings of actual field data.
field data.

For example, flaws are not always the Figure 10 shows what the effects of
cause of distortion or signal deviations. cold working or residual stress have on a
The distorted signal in figure 9 produced flaw. Forty percent and sixty percent EDM
a "chatter" indication when analyzed with notches were cold worked (rubbed with the
the computer system. "Chatter" or ID shaft of a screw driver) in the labora-
ripples are produced during tube manu- tory. In each sample, the phase informa-
facture. It is not considered detri- tion was distorted, yielding incorrect
mental, unless its signals mask all flaw information about flaw depth. The dis-
signals. To eliminate ID chatter signals torted signals made the flaws appear
is to improve analysis. deeper. A dent and a 100 percent through

60% em nitch

V, ii. LING

mm cue warn 1



V / %n. LONG


^ /


X 100% HOLE




Figure 9. A distorted support plate

signal and the processed non-flaw Figure 10. Experimental signal tracings,
resultant signal. Tracings of actual illustrating the effects of "cold
field data. working" on signal shape and
wall hole, however, appeared like a shal- It is not held by the tube support plates,
low flaw. These are signal analysis (flaw it is only confined to a region.
characterization) problems that develop
because of external influences on real Question (Mr. Weismantel): Could you give
flaws. What other mechanisms are at work? me some idea of the sizes of the defects
you are seeking and what the sensitivity
The signal shown in figure 11 was level is?
monitored during repeated in-service in-
spection. Analysis indicated that a flaw Answer (Mr. Wehrmeister): We look for 20
was growing, and that it was deep. When percent throughwall indications in accord-
the tube was removed from service, the ance with Reg. Guide 1.83. B&W tubing has
eddy current indication was analyzed as a 0.037 inch wall.
shallow. Destructive tests confirmed a
shallow flaw. The "effect" (stress?) that Question (Mr. Weismantel): What is the
caused the distorted information disap- length of that 20 percent throughwall?
peared when the tube was removed from ser-
vice. The cause of the distortion, or the Answer (Mr. Wehrmeister): No length is
"effect" producing incorrect analysis, has specified.
not been determined. The development of a
technique to eliminate the influence of Question (Mr. Weismantel): Regardless of
this "effect" is required. whether it is 20 thousandths long or 100
thousandths or ten inches?

Answer (Mr. Wehrmeister): That is right.

I.S.t. DATA JUNE. 1977

Question (Mr. Weismantel): The inter-
ference you obtain from support plates, I
DISTORTED 15th S.P. gather you tried higher frequencies to
null out that interference?

Answer (Mr. Wehrmeister): Higher fre-

quencies do not null it out; they lower
I.S.I. DATA IUNE, 1977
the sensitivity to outer tube surface
anomal ies.

I Question (Mr. Weismantel): You would not
see the support if you went to a higher
frequency. Would that give you an
IN NIT CELL AUGUST. 1977 adequate inspection?

Answer (Mr. Wehrmeister): No, shallow 0D

Figure 11. Tracings of actual field data discontinuity signals would be smaller and
illustrating the effect of "other approach a horizontal position, thereby
factors" on signal shape and making detection difficult. Higher fre-
orientation. quency is used when we are looking for
phase angle relationships to establish
Di scussion depth.

Question (Mr. Ammirato): Are you able to Question (Mr. Weismantel): Are your sup-
inspect near the tube sheet? port plates carbon steel or stainless?

Answer (Mr. Wehrmeister): Yes, the tube Answer (Mr. Wehrmeister): Carbon steel.
sheet and the tube support edges are simi-
lar; you get the same kind of response. Question (Mr. Titland): Do you calibrate
Each can be analyzed with the computer your computer on the support plates inside
system. the steam generator, or on a model?

Question (Mr. Ammirato): How is the tube Answer (Mr. Wehrmeister): We use the sup-
sealed in the support plate, compared to port plates in the generator.
the tube sheets?
Question (Mr. Brown): Do you use one sup-
Answer (Mr. Wehrmeister): The tube is port plate chosen because you like the
welded and rolled into the tube sheets. looks of it, or do you take several and
average them.
Answer (Mr. Wehrmeister): We use those
that appear most consistent, we use sig-
nals from a previous inspection.

Question (Dr. McMaster): Do you have

much evidence of stress corrosion signals
in these tests?

Answer (Mr. Wehrmeister): We have not

established the cause of some signals, but
none to date resemble what you might ex-
pect from stress corrosion.

National Bureau of Standards Special Publication 589. Proceedings of the Workshop on Eddy
Current Nondestructive Testing held at NBS, Gaithersburg MD, November 3-4, 1977.
, Issued
January 1981



Clyde J. Denton
Zetec, Inc.
Issaquah, WA 98027

1. Introduction magnitude and phase. The Zetec eddy

current system provides a method to
Eddy current inspection of steam read out and record the two quadrature
generator tubing in commercial nuclear components of the test coil voltage
power plants has evolved from a simple vector.
manual effort to test two tubes during
1970, to completely automated systems 2. Discussion
inspecting thousands of tubes today.
The system employed to inspect
Although improvements have been steam generators uses eddy currents as
made in the recording and interpretation the probing media to measure variations
of data, as well as in mechanical fix- in the conductivity of the tube wall
turing, the basic eddy current test is being tested.
still performed in the same way.
An alternating voltage is impressed
The following is a brief descrip- across two test coils. The magnetic
tion of the eddy current test technique. field developed by current flow in the
test coils causes eddy currents to flow
An alternating voltage is impressed in the tube wall. The corresponding
across two test coils. The magnetic magnetic field caused by eddy current
field developed by current flow in the flow in the tube wall is out of phase
test coils causes eddy currents to flow with the field developed by the current
in the tube wall. The corresponding in the test coils. .Since these fields
magnetic field caused by eddy current tend to cancel one another, the coil
flow in the tube wall is out of phase voltage is decreased and phase shifted
with the field developed by the current in proportion to the magnitude of eddy
in the test coil. Since, these fields currents in the test piece; thus, the
tend to cancel one another, the coil coil voltage is dependent on the elec-
voltage is decreased in proportion to trical properties of the tube being
the magnitude of eddy current flow in tested. The electrical properties which
the test piece. The magnitude of the affect the flow of eddy currents are
eddy currents in the test piece, thus permeability and conductivity. In non-
the coil voltage, is dependent on the magnetic materials, such as Inconel and
electrical properties of the tube being 300 series stainless steel, conductivity
tested. The electrical properties which is usually the only significant vari-
affect the flow of eddy currents are able. When the conductivity decreases
permeability and conductivity. In non- due to a discontinuity in the tube wall,
magnetic materials, such as Inconel and the coil voltage increases and phase
300 series stainless steel, conductivity shifts in direct relationship with the
is usually the only significant variable. depth and volume of the conductivity
When the effective conductivity de- change. Thus, the amount of increase in
creases due to a discontinuity in the the coil voltage and the phase change is
tube wall, the coil voltage increases in related to the size of the discontinuity.
direct relationship with the effective
conductivity change. Thus, the amount The coil voltage is sinusoidal;
of increase in coil voltage is related thus, it can be described with a single
to the size of the discontinuity. The vector having magnitude and phase. The
coil voltage is sinusoidal; thus, it can eddy current test system used in steam
be described with a single vector having generator inspection provides a method

for reading out the two quadrature tains high and low filters to decrease
components of the test coil voltage normal plant noise.
The fifth instrument is used to
The two test coils are electrically assist in data analysis and will be
connected in opposite legs of the discussed at length later in this
balancing network in the eddy current presentation.
instrument. Thus, the tube is being
inspected by the differential technique. The eddy current test system is
The differential technique decreases the normally used in conjunction with a
effects of probe motion, temperature mechanical system which positions the
variations, and geometry differences. probe over the correct tube and then
However, changes in nominal wall thick- inserts and withdraws the probe. The
ness are not detected. insertion rate is approximately two feet
per second and the withdrawal rate is
The electronic portion of Zetec's one foot per second. The inspection is
eddy current system contains five sep- performed during the retraction of the
arate instruments. The main instrument probe.
is a Zetec/Automation Industries EM-3300
Eddy Current Tester. The EM-3300 has a When the probe is inserted the
continuously variable frequency from 1 proper distance, the tube number is
kHz to 2.5 MHz with a digital readout to written on the strip chart and the voice
indicate the operating frequency. The entry is made on the magnetic tape, then
readout is accomplished on an X-Y memory the probe is retracted while the re-
oscilloscope which is an integral part cording systems are operating.
of the EM-3300. The instrument has X-Y
outputs of plus or minus 8 volts and a When the magnetic tape is com-
frequency response of DC to 100 Hz. pleted, the tape and its associated
strip chart records are taken to a
The output of the EM-3300 is con- remote location where they are analyzed
nected to a Zetec FM-2300S Two-Channel by an ASNT-TC-1A Level IIA qualified
Magnetic Tape Recorder. The tape re- interpreter.
corder also has input and output capa-
bilities of plus or minus 8 volts and DC The equipment used to analyze data
to 100 Hz frequency response. In addi- consists of a tape recorder identical to
tion to recording the X-Y channels, the the one used to record the data, and a
tape recorder has a microphone to allow vector analyzer which more realistically
tape recording tube identification and should be called an electronic pro-
other pertinent data. The circuits in tractor. The "analyzer" provides a
the recorder are designed to allow voice rapid means of measuring the phase angle
insertion and retraction without inter- and amplitude of signals.
action with the test data.
The basis for phase analysis eddy
The output of the FM-2300S is con- current testing can be simplified and
nected to the input of a Two-Channel explained as follows. Given four
Strip Chart Recorder. The strip chart concentric tightly fitting tubes as
recorder has a frequency response range shown in figure 1, and starting with the
from DC to 100 Hz, and it is capable of
displaying a voltage input of plus or
minus 8 volts. The strip chart recorder
provides two functions. First, it
provides a permanent record which can be
scanned rapidly for initial inspection
results. Secondly, since it monitors
the output of the magnetic recording, it I 1 TUBE
assures that the recording equipment is / 4 2 TUBES
functioning properly. I //'/"> TUBES

The fourth instrument is a Zetec
Model I Communications Amplifier which
allows voice contact between four sta-
tions with variable inputs and outputs Figure 1. Phase relationships.
for all stations. The amplifier con-


probe in air, first the air vector is probe was a differential bobbin type and
obtained. When the probe is inserted in the two defects not penetrating through
the smallest diameter tube, eddy currents the wall are on the outside surface of
flow in the tube wall with a resulting the tube.
magnetic field. The resultant coil
voltage vector is decreased in amplitude Figure 4 is essentially the same as
and phase shifted. As the second tube Figure 3 except additional defects are
is slipped over the probe area, the shown and the optimum frequency, wall
vector amplitude is further decreased thickness, and conductivity are used.
and phase shifted. The current flowing
in the second tube is a function of the
magnetic field from the coil and the
magnetic field associated with the
current flow in the first tube. This
process continues for each tube with the
current flow in each tube dependent on
the current flow in the adjacent tubes.
The eddy currents are not affected (in a
nondefective tube) by the laminar type 100
tube to tube interface. Thus, this
example can be expanded to include eddy
current flow in a solid tube wall. The Figure 3. Signal phase angle comparisons
current flowing in any circumferential at three frequencies.
tube segment has its own distinctive
phase and magnitude. The exact phase
and magnitude at any point in the tube
wall is dependent on the test frequency
and the conductivity of the tube being
tested. The eddy current test system's
function is to detect and record vari-
ations in the magnitude and pattern of
eddy current flow in the tube wall.

When a differential probe is passed

through a tube with a defect, the signal
is formed as in figure 2. Point 1 of
figure 2





Figure 2. Signal formation. Figure 4. Actual phase angles at optimum

test frequency.
is the signal from a good tube, point 2
shows the first coil approaching the Taking the data from figure 3 and
defect, point 3 shows the coil directly plotting a calibration curve of percent
centered in the defect, point 4 shows penetration of the tube wall versus
the first coil leaving the defect and signal phase angle results in the data
the second coil entering the defect, and presented in figure 5.
point 5 shows the completion of the
signal The eddy current test sytem has been
shown to exhibit a long term two sigma
Figure 3 shows three defects tested measurement error of plus or minus 5
at three different frequencies. The percent under actual field conditions.

Plotting this information versus the the tube test length is short. Thus, it
calibration curves in figure 5 results is obvious that fixture positioning time
in the measurement error curves shown in is relatively short. The complete data
figure 6. station and fixture control center can
be operated up to 150 feet from the
steam generator, although shorter
distances are recommended.


Question (Dr. Mc Master): You did not

mention the Russians. Are they using
60 80 100 140 160 180 200 220
40 120
your services?

Answer (Mr. Denton): The reactors that

we have been involved with are in
Figure 5. Calibration curves for three Finland. What they have done is copied
frequencies. the Hanford tube sheets; so it is essen-
tially the same system. The Hanford
tube sheet has a dual pipe going in and
i 100 KHz
15 -
200 KHz out. The inlets are on top, outlets on
+ 10 -
i.00KHz the bottom. The Russians merely took
5 - that and made it two different tube
0 -
sheets, with an inlet and an outlet, and
S the tubes still go both ways.

IS -

MEASUREMENT ERROR Question : On the B&W steam generator,

20'fc 50% 100% OF WALL
do you use a template?

Answer (Mr. Denton): Yes. There was a

Figure 6. Measurement error comparisons template. I do not know if it is NRC or
at three frequencies. ASTM code-- somewhere in the system it
says you have to positively identify the
Note that the test sensitivity tube. That sounds great when you write
shown in figure 5 indicates more sen- it, but realistically when you are 100
sitivity at 100 kHz than at 400 kHz, but feet away, to check this thing, you have
the measurement error curve shows twice to put on two pairs of coveralls, boots,
as much error at 100 kHz. This is one gloves, etc., go inside and say, that is
of the considerations which determined the right tube, all right. So the
the selection of 400 kHz for flaw template and TV system eliminate that.
detection in 7/8 inch and 3/4 inch x Even if you have a system that has dials
.050 inch wall Inconel 600. on it and it does not really require a
template, you may still put it in just
The mechanical portion of the Zetec to satisfy the positive ID of the tube.
eddy current test system varies to
accommodate the conditions imposed by Question (Dr. Green): Doesn't one
the designs of the various steam gen- person often take the data while a
erator vendors. second person analyzes it?

Basically, all of the systems Answer (Mr. Denton): Yes. The data is
function as follows. A template with stored on magnetic and paper tape and no
tube number identification is temporarily analysis is done on the job at all.
installed in the steam generator. A There are many reasons why we do it this
rotatable circular fixture with a minimum way.
of two independent motions is installed
over the template. The fixture operator Question : Are there any changes in the
positions the probe guide tube and its characteristics of the probe due to the
associated light and TV camera over the radioactive environment?
tube to be inspected. The probe/pusher
puller mechanism is used to insert and Answer (Mr. Denton): No.
retract the probe. Test speeds of over
100 tubes per hour are achievable when

Comment (Mr. Wehrmeister): Water in the
generator tube also does not affect the
test. We inspect generators prior to
draining in what is called the critical
path. It costs upward of a quarter of a
million dollars every day a generator is
down; so you want to complete the
inspection as quickly as possible. So
we do inspect them while they are still
full of water.
National Bureau of Standards Special Publication 589. Proceedings of the Workshop on Eddy
Current Nondestructive Testing held at NBS, Gai thersburg MO, November 3-4, 1977.
, Issued
January 1981.



E. R. Reinhart 1
In-Service Inspection Incorporated
333 Victory Avenue
South San Francisco 94080

1. Introduction

The operational availability of a determine, in subsequent inspections, the

number of Pressurized Water Reactors extent of slow flaw growth to the degree
(PWRs) has been reduced by the recent dis- necessary for judging the effect of re-
covery of deformation and cracking in medial SG activities (change to all vola-
steam generator (SG) tubing in several tile treatment, etc.).
operating reactors [1,2] 2 . The more
severe deformation is known as denting In response to the obvious need for
and occurs in the area of the tube improved NDE technology, considerable
support plates. In-service inspection, activity is being funded in NDE systems
during periods of reactor shutdown, is and development for SG inspection by EPRI,
presently used to detect and analyze this government agencies inspection groups,
problem. To satisfy regulatory require- nuclear system steam suppliers (NSSS),
ments for in-service inspection of steam and foreign groups [6,7,8]. Multifre-
generators, the only inspection method quency ET, new ET probes, and ultrasonic
presently used and accepted is eddy cur- systems are all in various stages of
rent testing (ET) [3] . For this inspec- development. In light of the present SG
tion, differential coil bobbin type eddy problems, the utilities need to sort this
current probes are inserted in the inside NDE activity into the categories of ex-
diameter (ID) of the primary side of the pected near-term improvement (within six
steam generator and drawn through the months) and mid-term improvements (within
length of the steam generator. The 12 months). The near- term improvements
present eddy current systems and tech- should have the potential to improve in-
niques were evolved from technology devel- spection performance for the next series
oped during the early 1 960 5 [4]. 1

In- of major in-service inspections (winter

service inspection experience (training 1977) and for units that will be cleaned
of inspectors, analysis of data, etc.) or where water treatment will be changed.
was primarily derived from the involve- The near-term improvements would therefore
ment of various groups with the Nuclear reflect system changes that are now
Navy. In the past, this test has been ready for field use but require qual-
very successful in detecting such pro- ification. In the area of mid-term
blems as wastage and corrosion in straight improvements, systems technology should
sections of steam generator tubing [5]. be identified that is amenable to
However, the recent occurrences of denting accelerated effort for incorporation
in the tube support area provide the in- into systems that can be used for fall
spector with complex eddy current signals 1978 in-service inspection. In addition,
that may mask flaws. Denting and "oval- goals for long-term R&D activity should
ization" of tubing also restrict access by be defined.
the inspection probe. Questions have also
been raised regarding the capability of To address these needs, as well as
the existing eddy current methods to to define a baseline for existing SG

formerly with Electric Power Research Institute, Palo Alto, CA 94303.

Figures in brackets indicate the literature references at the end of this paper.

inspection capability, EPRI recently SG tubing flaws and in-service inspec-
initiated a technical round- robin program. tion. Reports that were of particular
Conventional NDE methods and advanced value in planning the program are listed
multi frequency ET systems were evaluated. as references 12 through 17. These
A panel of in-service inspection special- reports gave a fairly good assessment of
ists and theoretical NDE consultants the location, nature, and frequency of
observed and participated in the round- defects found in present pressurized
robin evaluations. water reactor (PWR) SG designs. Many of
these reports were obtained from a
The results of this program will be literature survey conducted by Battel le
used by EPRI in two areas. Columbus Laboratories for this study.

(1) Plan long-range R&D projects Although there was considerable

for the EPRI Nuclear Division. This study information on several types of SG
will establish the performance level of problems, these reports lacked detailed
present inspection systems and point out information on the denting problem. For
areas where long-range R&D activities a better definition of this problem, an
should be conducted. Most of the short- NDE specialist meeting was therefore held
and mid-term development effort in this on February 24, 1977, at the offices of
area will be conducted by EPRI s newly From the results of this meeting,

established Steam Generator Project Office a better idea of the nature of the denting
described below. problem was obtained, along with consid-
erable information to aid in planning an
(2) Define NDE performance goals NDE performance evaluation study. Selec-
for the Steam Generator Project Office. ting the type and nature of the study is
The Steam Generator Project Office has discussed in the next step.
been established by EPRI and member
utilities to rapidly develop technology 2.2 Definition of study.
to alleviate serious losses in PWR plant
availability caused by the previously- From the results of the NDE spe-
mentioned problems associated with steam cialist meeting, the literature survey,
generators. The Steam Generator Project and several additional communications,
office has identified NDE development an EPRI Technical Planning Study (TPS-
effort as a key item in its plan for 77-709) was selected as the vehicle for
improved availability; it will therefore conducting further effort in this area.
use the results of the technical planning Technical planning studies are conducted
study to focus attention on the areas that by EPRI to support research and devel-
have the most potential for achieving opment planning for the engineering and
near-term improvement. economic feasibility of proposed tech-
nological development and/or hardware
Details of planning and conducting options. Such studies permit identifica-
the study are presented in the following tion of the most promising options and
sections. the major technological issues which must
be resolved before the initiation of a
2. Planning the Program comprehensive research program. The
technical planning study approach was
Determining the nature of present also selected since this represents one
SG NDE inspection problems, determining of the most expedient EPRI methods
the performance of present and devel- (minimal contractor negotiation time,
oping NDE systems related to those streamlined review and approval process,
problems, and planning remedial action etc.) for responding to studying near-
were considered the major objectives of term utility problems. Major objectives
initial EPRI activity in this area. From of this study were defined as:
a review of past work in studying NDE
system performance, conducted by EPRI and (a) First, the overall baseline
others, the following steps were taken performance of present NDE systems (includ-
in planning an initial study [9,10,11]. ing the operators) in response to a vari-
ety of defect types should be determined.
2.1 Definition of problem. This baseline would establish the nature
and extent of future R&D activities.
This first step in planning the
study involved a compilation and study (b) Second, the performance of
of available reports on the subjects of several new inspection methods, tech-

niques, and equipment, should be evaluated Each nondestructive testing system
to determine their potential for solving was evaluated by this panel in the
present NDE problems. Both field proto- following manner:
type as well as laboratory methods should
be evaluated. (1) General impressions. Prior to
laboratory tests, details of the
(c) Third, the study should be system were described by the
initiated and completed as soon as possible system suppl ier.
in order to transmit the information to
the EPRI Steam Generator Project Office (2) Scan of known defects. The
I and other interested EPRI Nuclear Depart- panel was allowed to review the
ments for use in planning comprehensive system in operation and review
R&D programs. such details as data analysis,

2.3 Organization of the study.
(3) Scan of unknown defects. Data
Since the nature of the inspection were then taken using a mockup
problem was recognized as being very com- containing a series of simulated
plex, and since EPRI needed to rapidly defective tubing.
obtain as much comprehensive information
as possible, a technical round-robin (4) Summary of results. Based on
program, aided by theoretical and applied the results of (1), (2), and (3)
NDE specialists, was selected as the above, each panel member
basis for the study. It was felt that submitted his conclusions to
the data from simulated in-service in- EPRI regarding the performance
spections, when combined with the analysis of the NDE system under evalua-
and observations of an expert review tion.
panel, would provide considerable insight
into the various parameters affecting A mockup containing examples of de-
inspection system performance. fective tubing was essential to conducting
the study and is described in the follow-
2.4 Details of the study. ing section.

This study incorporated the following B. A key element in any study of

detai Is: in-service inspection performance is simu-
lation of the inspection environment that
A. NDE Evaluation Panel. Under the the NDE system "sees." In this respect, a
direction of an EPRI Project Manager, a realistic mockup is essential. Since this
six-man NDE technology evaluation panel study was aimed at determing current SG
was used to access performance of the inspection performance as used in the
various NDE systems. The panel was com- nuclear industry, all three NSSS SG
posed of one NDE inspection specialist designs were considered. Looking at the
from the following Nuclear Steam System present three SG designs depicted in
Suppliers: Babcock & Wilcox, Combustion figures 1, 2, and 3, the task of designing
Engineering, and Westinghouse. The re- a realistic mockup initially appears monu-
maining three members were selected from mental. This would be true unless one
the following independent groups: Battel le considers that the inspection systems to
Columbus Laboratories, EPRI, and Southwest be evaluated in this study only have
Research Institute. access to the tube sheet and inside sur-
face of the heat transfer tubing. With
Battel le and EPRI are independent respect to possible mockup configurations,
research laboratories whereas Southwest table 1 presents various configurations
Research represents an independent in- that could be used for NDE performance
service inspection group. The above team, studies or systems development. The
composed of both NSSS suppliers and inde- mockup design selected for this study was
pendent laboratory representatives, was configuration 3. An air transportable
formed to lend credibility and objectivity mockup was designed since several of the
to the project results. The above groups systems that were to be evaluated were in
also supplied examples of defective tubing the laboratory or prototype stage of devel-
and aided in developing a realistic test opment, and transport of these systems
program. from the laboratory was not feasible.
Transporting the mockup to the various NDE
development laboratories was also optimun
from a scheduling and economics standpoint.
36 in. (~91.4 cm)
Primary Inlet



24 in. <~61.0 cm)

Steam Outlet
Nozzle (2)

Feedwater Spray
Nozzles (32)

Figure 1. Example of U-bend steam gener-

ator design (similar to Calvert Cliffs 28 in.(~71.1 cm)
Primary Outlet
# 1). Nozzle (2)

Steam Outlet to
Turbine Generator

Figure 3. Once-through steam generator

design (similar to OCONEE #1).

Essential features of the mockup are

shown in figures 4, 5, 6, and 7. The
mockup was designed and built by Battelle
Columbus Laboratories within one week of
Upper Shell contract initiation. The mockup proved
to be easy to transport and assemble at
the test site, and could be used to eval-
uate a large number of SG tubing configur-
ations, including tube supports and U-
Tube Bundle bends. The next section describes the
Tube Support samples used with the mockup to test the
various systems.
Lower Shell
C. Test Samples. Although the study
addressed NDE problems associated with all
existing NSSS steam generator designs, one
tubing size for all the test specimens was
selected to simplify the logistics of the
program. For the same reason, samples
were all 7/8 inch nominal OD (.050 wall)
Tube Plate Inconel 600 steam generator tubing of a
Primary Coolant configuration typical to several SG
designs, including the Westinghouse series
Channel Head 51 PWR steam generators. The tubing
Primary Coolant
samples were either supplied by members
of the NDE evaluation panel from existing
Figure 2. Second example of U-bend steam test samples or fabricated specifically
generator design (similar to Surry # 1). for the EPRI study. The samples included


Table 1. Steam Generator Mockup Configurations.

Configuration Purpose Key Elements in Design

1 Develop and evaluate Complex access must be simulated

NDE for inspection with simulated tube bundles,
of the secondary outside surface of SG, tube
side of the SG (OD supports, etc. This is probably
inspection). a fixed site design. The space
required depends on the SG design;
however, it could be of limited
height for inspection at only one

2 Develop and evaluate To evaluate total NDE system,

total NDE system for including remote positioners,
inspection of SG etc. total simulation of tube

tubing from the sheet geometry and distances is

primary side. required. Realistic tubing lengths
and U-bend geometry is also required.
This design is probably fixed
site and the overall height could
be considerable (>50ft). (see
Reference 5).

3 Develop and evaluate Inspection environment could be

basic inspection simulated with single or limited
system probe and number of tubes. Tube supports
instrumentation and vertical tube sheets are
performance under simulated with sleeves over the
simulated dynamic tubing. This design can be fixed
inspection. or air transportable

4 Develop and evaluate Simple tubing holder with probe

NDE system or motion controlled by simple probe
components unoei Drive mecnan sm.
i uoe u stances
i i

laboratory can be as small as 6 inches (see

conditions, with Reference 10).
laboratory controlled
probe motion.

specimens loaned to the program for an

ongoing Battelle Col umbus/Brookhaven
National Laboratory program through the
courtesy of Dr. John Weeks of Brookhaven.
The nature of the various samples were:

Notched Samples . These samples used

electrodi scharge-machined (EDM)
notches to simulate narrow crack-like
defects (fig. 8). EDM notches ranged
in width from 0.005 in to 0.009 in.
The flaws were machined at various
depths, lengths, and orientations
(axial, circumferential, and at 45
to the tube axis). Two samples were
also machined with the same flaw,
one with work hardening, one without.

Figure 4. Air transportable steam genera-

tor mockup as shipped.

Figure 5. Mockup during assembly.

Figure 7. Mockup as seen by inspectors

during simulated SG inspection, tubes
on opposite side. I

Tapered EDM CD. Notch

Max. Depth60% of Wall

Section A-A 23"

Figure 6. Mockup during simulated SG

inspection as viewed by evaluation
Figure 8. Typical configuration of axial
notch specimen.


Wastage Samples .Samples represent-

ing wastage type defects were ob-
tained by grinding metal from the
outside surface to simulate large-
volume wastage type flaws (low depth,
large surface area). Compound wast-
age, which is a large- volume (low
depth, large surface area) flaw,
combined with a low- volume (large
depth, small surface area) flaw, was
also simulated in several specimens
since this condition has been seen in
service (fig. 9).

Dented Samples .The dented samples

consisted of the following configu-

Minor dent These samples con-


tained tubing with circumferen-

tial dents ranging in diametri-
cal restriction from 0.002 to
0.005 inch. EDM notches of
various depths and length and at
various locations (center and
edge of dent) were machined in
these samples to study the capa-
bility of NDE for detecting and
sizing flaws in the presence of
dents. In all these specimens,
a carbon steel sleeve, simulat-
ing a tube support, was placed
over the dented section. Magne-
tite was also packed on the out-
side of the tube in the crevice Figure 9. Specimen containing wastage
between the dented tube and the defect.
tube support. Plastic end caps
Plastic End
were glued to each end of the Closures
simulated tube support to retain
Carbon Steel,
the packed magnetite (figs. 10 Simulated Tube
and 11). Support and
Packed FE3O4
Major dent These samples were
7/8 Diameter Inconel
similar to the minor dent speci- 600 Tubing
mens with the diametrical re-
strictions increased to 0.050
Figure 10. Dent specimen, supplied by BCL.
Major dent with "oval ization "
The specimens listed in table Plastic Collar

2 represent the dented tube con- Joining Test

figurations with the added com-
plexity of diametrical "oval iza-
tion" in the region of the dent
(figs. 12 and 13). Since the
"ovalized" tube no longer per-
mits simple slip on carbon steel
tube supports, the dented re- Aluminum Bracket
gions in these samples were Holding Specimens
to Mockup
wrapped with slit sections of
carbon steel (figs. 14 and 15).
In these specimens, EDM notches Figure 11. Dent specimen mounted in test

were placed at the beginning Table 2. Dented and Oval i zed Test Samples
(one flaw), center (two flaws) (Dimensions in Inches)
and end (one flaw) of the dent
0D I.D.
section (figs. 13 and 14). N0' SIZE


All of these samples were sup- (A) (B) (CJ (0) (E) (

plied by Zetec, Inc. Zetec also 0.624 1.069 0.618 1.047 0.500 0.937
0.010 0.744
supplied a calibration standard 2

0.989 0.7Z4 0.968 0.620 0.862
3 0.859 0.891 0.039 0.871 0.735 0.766
of the type presently used in 4 0.015 0.634 1.063 0.618 1.031 0.500 0.921

the nuclear industry. 5 0.015 0.7S4 0.931 0.724 0.951 0.620 0.845
6 0.015 0.359 0.391 0.839 0.851 0.735 0.747
7 0.020 0.644 1.057 0.670 1.015 0.500 0.905
Pitting. These specimens contained 8 0.020 0.764 0.973 0.724 0.933 0.620 0.828
9 0.020 0.375
machined conical defects designed to 0.875 0.839 0.839 0.735 0.735

simulate localized low volume pitting

of various depths and at various

Corrosion Samples . These samples

contained laboratory- induced inter-
granular cracks to simulate the
corrosion cracks occasionally report-
ed in operating steam generators. Section X-X

U-bend Samples . The U-bend samples

contained defects all starting at the
inside surface of the tubing. All
defects were EDM notches, and these
were located at the tangent and apex
areas of the tube, at the introdose
Section Y-Y
and extradose. To facilitate
fabrication, the EDM notches in these
samples were placed in the tubes
before the tubes were bent to their Figure 12. Configuration of dented and
final configuration. The inner rows ovalized test samples.
of a series 51 SG were the only
U-bends simulated since the sharp
radius of curvature of the rows
represented the most difficult access 270 0 90

problems for U-tube inspection of

this SG design. The outer rows of
U- tubes, having a more gradual radius
of curvature, were considered to
represent an inspection situation
similar to a straight section of
tubing and were therefore not used in Defect
this study. No. 1 ^
Defect -
No. 2 X
Tube Supports Drilled carbon steel
plates were slipped over the Inconel
tubing to simulate the influence of
tube supports on the eddy current Raws
inspection (fig. 16). The influence
of the tube sheet was not simulated
in this study since problems in this
area did not appear as severe as the
defect situations described above.
There was also insufficient detailed
information regarding problems in the
tube sheet area to allow simulation.
If warranted, this area may be
addressed in future studies. Figure 13. Location of defects in dented
and ovalized test samples correlates
with figure 12.
(1) Zetec Incorporated. The basic
Zetec single frequency system represents
present industry state-of-the-art equip-
ment and techniques. The system uses a
bobbin type differential coil inspection
probe. The system is rugged and simple
but is highly operator dependent. A proto-
type system using a rotating ET probe was
also evaluated. Tests of these systems
were performed at the Zetec laboratories
in Issaquah, Washington.

(2) Holosonics/Intercontrole. This

system represents state-of-the-art French
field inspection technology and utilizes a
multi frequency eddy current approach to
improve detection and analysis of flaws in
the presence of extraneous signals (tube
supports, etc.). Final data analysis is
manual. Other components of the system
are also significantly different from
Figure 14. Tube specimen with oval i zed present U.S. field equipment. This system
dent and flaws, and split carbon steel was evaluated at the offices of Holosonics/
simulated tube support. Intercontrole Richland, Washington.

(3) Battelle Northwest Laboratories.

This is a multi-frequency system developed
from EPRI funding. The system utilizes a
modified Zetec ET probe combined with a
instrumentation system that acquires four
frequency data during inspection and auto-
matically analyzes data from two of the
frequencies to eliminate extraneous sig-
nals from probe wobble, tube supports,
etc. This system was also evaluated at
the Zetec laboratory in Issaquah,
Washington. This system was in the pro-
totype development stage and this study
was the first evaluation of the system
Figure 15. Oval i zed tube specimen with
under simulated field inspection
simulated tube support as tested.

Each of the above nondestructive

testing systems was evaluated by the NDE
panel in the following manner:

(1) General Impressions. Prior to labo-

ratory tests, details of the system
were described by the system
suppl i er.

(2) Scan of Known Defects. The panel was

allowed to review the system in op-
eration and review such details as
data analysi s etc.

Figure 16. Tube specimen with slip-on (3) Scan of Unknown Defects. Data were
simulated tube support. then taken using a mockup containing
a series of simulated defective
3. Tests of the NDE Systems tubi ng.

The following three SG NDE systems

were evaluated:

(4) Summary of Results. Based on the
results of 1, 2, and 3 above, each
panel member submitted his conclu-
sions to EPRI regarding the perfor-
mance of the NDE system under evalu-
U-Bend Test
ation. Specimen

A mockup containing examples of defec- Straight

tive tubing was essential to conducting Section
the study and was previously described.

In general, the tests associated with

scanning the unknown defects progressed Specimen
With Dent &
from simple straight tubing configurations
Flaws in
to progressively more complex tubing and Tube Support
flaw geometries. Straight sections of
tubing containing notches, pits, and wast- Mockup
age type flaws, and without tube supports,
were tested first. Several of these tests Straight

were then repeated with tube supports Section

With Notch
added to the test specimens. These sup- Defects
ports were located near, at the edge, and
directly over the flaws. Placement was Specimen
With Dent &
usually based on field experience with Flaws in
real flaws. Tube Support

After the straight sections, the var- Specimen

ious U-bend configurations were tested. A With IG
typical test configuration is shown in
figure 17. Following these tests, the Straight
systems were evaluated using dented tubing Section
of various configurations. It should be With Notch
noted that the Zetec rotating probe system
was the only system capable of testing Calibration
moderate or extensive dents or dents with Standard
an "ovalized" configuration. Zetec was
also the only system possessing a probe
capable of testing U-tubes after passing
through a moderate or severe dent. For
this reason, fewer tests were run on the
other systems.

A number of tests were also conducted

to study the influence of probe design,
fill factor, test frequency, and gain on Figure 17. Typical test configuration.
basic single frequency system performance.
aspects of flaw characteristics are not
The preliminary results of these considered in this analysis. Also, the
tests are discussed in a later section. ratio of incorrect defect calls versus
correct defect calls are not considered at
4. Data Analysis this time. The probability of detecting a
flaw, shown as the ordinate of the graph
A number of approaches can be taken in figure 18 is simply the ratio of the
to analyze the data. The method presented number of defects reported divided by the
here is to consider two aspects of inspec- total number of defects present in the
tion system performance, the probability specimen, i.e., probability of detection
that a flaw of a specific through-wall Pd, at specific defect depth is:
penetration will be detected, and the ac-
curacy of sizing through-wall penetration
once a flaw is detected. These are the
flaws reported
flaws scanned
basic results available from existing eddy
current inspection systems. Inferences For the analysis of data in this
from the inspectors, regarding the nature study, correct defect detection required
of the flaws, their length, and/or other
the flaw to be reported in proper sequence
and approximate location in the tube. In 100 -

-a B-4
figure 18, probability of detection is / C-3

plotted as a function of percent of

through-wall flaw penetration, computed as 80

the maximum depth of the flaw into the

tubing wall divided by the total wall .2 60

Although the number of test samples 40

per data point was in some cases rela-
tively small, particularly when the de- SYSTEMS
20 A c SF
fects are categorized by particular geom- B& C <-
MF-2f, 3f
etries (pits, notches, etc.), each system
scanned similar defects approximately the
same number of times. Resultant trends in 20 40 60 80 100
relative system performance were therefore Defect Depth, (percent of wall)
considered val id.
Figure 18. Systems A, B, and C detection
This points to one of the difficul- of wastage.
ties in establishing system performance
curves for any one type of flaw geometry. In addition to detection probability,
If three data points are taken at each 10 the flaw sizing capability of an NDE test
percent defect depth, 30 data points are needs to be determined. One approach is
needed. When additional flaw geometries to show the mean error in percent of tube
are added, or when more data points are wall thickness with plus and minus two
desired, the resultant number of tests and standard deviations, versus defect depth.
required data analysis increases rapidly This approach is being used to analyze the
to the point where a one-week test pro- data in this program and the final results
gram, as conducted for each system in this will be presented in future papers and in
study, becomes impractical. Future a special EPRI report.
studies of this nature must therefore con-
sider improved methods of rapidly scanning Preliminary test results from eval-
and analyzing a large number of specimens uating the three systems are now consid-
in a relatively short period of time, or ered in the next section.
concentrate on a limited number of defect
types. 5. Preliminary Results and Discussion

The above analysis has one obvious Analysis of the considerable test
drawback. By presenting detection proba- data generated in this study is incomplete
bility as a function of percent of at this time; however, the following pre-
through-wall penetration, the influence of liminary results do indicate several in-
flaw volume upon inspection results is not teresting trends regarding defect
readily apparent. In this case, a very detection under a variety of test
narrow axial 60 percent through-wall flaw conditions.
could produce the same detection proba-
bility as a 30 percent deep wastage type 5. 1 Wastage
flaw covering a large volume of the tubing
wall. Since both of these defects can Figure 18 indicates the detection
have a different effect on tube integrity, performance of the three systems when used
the practice of reporting defect detection to inspect steam generator tubing for
or sizing accuracy as a function of flaw wastage- type defects. These flaws are in
depth alone could be misleading in judging straight sections of the tubing and not in
the real performance of an NDE system for tube support or tube sheet areas. The
some applications. Although this is the systems referred to in figure 18 and all
major analysis approach followed at the subsequent figures are:
present time, more comprehensive methods
of judging inspection system performance System A - Zetec Inc. single fre- ,

are being considered and may be used in quency (SF), conventional push-pull
future analysis of data. drive unit, differential coil probe
(set at code sensitivity for these


System B - Holosonics/Intercontrole, differences since the single frequency

multiple frequency (MF), conventional results were also good. It is interesting
push-pull drive unit, differential to note that the multifrequency systems
coil probe did not miss one wastage flaw in all the
tests. Detection of wastage- type flaws
System C - Battelle Northwest Lab- represents one of the optimum uses of eddy
oratories, multiple frequency (MF), current testing and its performance in
conventional push-pull drive unit, this capacity has been very successful
differential coil probe. over the last several years in both com-
mercial and military applications. The
On figures 18 and 19, the number af- results of figure 18 are therefore not
ter the system designation (A-3) indicates unexpected and tend to confirm the valid-
the number of independent tests conducted ity of the round robin test program.
on a flaw of a specific defect depth. The
data point presented in the figure is the 5.2 Single Frequency Parameter Study
average of the set.
The sensitivity used by the single
Since the wastage defects present frequency system throughout the initial
rather large volume flaws, the detection phase of this test program was established
probability was expected to be good for using ASME Section XI guidelines and is
all three systems, and it was. Detection representative of existing ISI test sensi-
performance does not drop until the defect tivity. It is important to remember that
depth drops below 20 percent of through- the single frequency results, presented
wall penetration for the single frequency previously, were not conducted at maximum
system. equipment sensitivities. To investigate
the full capability of the single fre-
ABC-5 ABC-5 quency system, a special series of tests
100 were conducted in which the effects of
instrument sensitivity, inspection fre-
s so quency and probe fill factor were consid-
ered. The probe fill factor is defined as
the ratio of the diameter of the ET probe
2 60
Single F versus Multi-F squared to the inside diameter of the tube
o 225 kHz. 750 LC Probe
3f (100, 240, & 400 kHz),
A series of axial notches, 20, 40,
Standard Probe and 60 percent deep, were scanned by the
2f(200 & 400 kHz), System A team members using various test
Standard Probe
parameters. These narrow axial notches
ABC-5 |

(.005 in. width) are used to represent the

0 20 40 60 80 crack- like flaws parallel to the tube
Defect Depth, (percent of wall)
axis. Although these flaws are perpen-
dicular to the flow of eddy current in the
Figure 19. Maximum single frequency test tube and, therefore, in a favorable orien-
sensitivity vs. standard multifrequency tation for detection, they are very low
sensitivity for detection of axial volume defects and produce less response
notches. than a wastage- type flaw of equal depth.
Since these defects are difficult to
Since the multifrequency 3 systems detect, they are ideal for system sen-
produce roughly twice the amount of in- sitivity studies.
spection information and at two different
test frequencies per flaw per inspection After the above study, System A was
scan than does the single frequency (at retested against unknown defects using 225
400 kHz), the detection probability is kHz with a special probe having an outside
expected to be improved. As shown in the diameter of 0.750 inches. For this series
figure, the multifrequency systems do in- of tests, axial notches of 20, 40, and 60
dicate a slightly improved detection capa- percent were used. The test results are
bility for very small wastage flaws. It shown in figure 19.
is difficult to ascertain system performance

Multi-frequency in this sense refers to a simultaneous coil excitation as distinguished
from sequential tests of a single frequency system at more than one frequency.

The two multi- frequency systems, pretation of data, and analysis of system
i.e., Systems B and C, scanned the same performance.
series of notches used to establish the
results in figure 19 and the subsequent References
probability of detection curves are also
shown in figure 19. As shown, the
detection probability for all three [1] Van Rooyen, D. "PWR Steam Generator

systems are identical. From this it Tubing: Corrosion Problems," Inter-

appears that the single frequency system, national Symposium on Application of
if operated using the appropriate test Reliability Technology to Nuclear
conditions, can approach the detection Power Plants, IAEA- SM-21 8/26, Vienna,
capability of the multi frequency systems Austria, October 10-14, 1977.
for axial notches in straight sections of
tubing remote from tube supports. [2] Steam generators to be replaced at
Surry, Turkey Point Nuclear Units,
Since past information indicates that Nucleonics Week, ]8, [22] (June 2,
flaw sizing accuracy falls with decreased 1977).
frequency, simply dropping the test fre-
quency of a single frequency test to in- [3] U.S. Atomic Energy Commission Regu-
crease flaw detection probability is not latory Guide 1.83, "Inservice In-
always the solution to improved overall spection of Pressurized Water Reactor
inspection performance [5]. The type of Steam Generator Tubes," June 1974.
flaw expected, sizing accuracy require-
ments, and field experience, must all be [4] Libby, H. L. An improved eddy cur-

considered before the frequency and other rent tubing test, Report No.
test parameters are selected. HW-81780, GE/AEC contract No.-AT(45
-1)-1350, Hanford Atomic Products
6. Future Effort Operation, Richland, Washington (May
7, 1964).
Analysis of the considerable data
generated in this study will continue. [5] Sandona, E. and Denton, C. J., Eddy-
The first published report of the detailed current examination of Beznau steam
results will be presented at the Second generator tubing, in Nuclear Energy
International Conference on Nondestructive Maturity . (Pergamon Press, Oxford
Evaluation in the Nuclear Industry, and New York, 1975) pp. 361-376.
February 13-15, 1978 (Session III, Prob-
lems Areas in NDE - Steam Generator, [6] EPRI project RP403, Multi frequency
February 13, 1978). eddy current system for steam gener-
ator tubing inspection, Research and
As a follow-on to this study, EPRI Development Projects, EPRI Report, 67
has initiated the project RP1172, "Eval- (May 5, 1977).
uation, Quantification, and Qualification
of Steam Generator NDE Technology." This [7] Beiers, T. S. Ivey, J. S.
project will continue the SG NDE perfor- Romey, W. M. "Phase I Report - In-

mance studies using an NDE evaluation vestigation of Parameters Influencing

panel and air transportable mockup. This the Accuracy of Eddy Current Test
12-month project is expected to begin in Predictions for Nuclear Steam Gen-
December 1977. erator Tubing O.D. Imperfections,"
MML-75-41 Report for Empire State

Electric Energy Res. Corp. (Project

No. EP4-2), July 18, 1975.

This study would not have been pos-

sible without the excellent support of the [8] Becker, R. and Holler, P., "Results
following members of the NDE evaluation of the Application of the Eddy Cur-
panel: A. Wehrmeister and H. Whaley, rent Testing with a Multi frequency
Babcock and Wilcox; S. Brown, Battelle Method," Paper No. lb, Eighth World
Columbus Laboratories; J. Lareau, South- Conference on Nondestructive Testing,
west Research Institute; H. Houserman and Cannes, France, Sept. 7, 1976.
A. Sagar, Westinghouse.
[9] Buchanan, R. A. and Talbot, T. F.
These panel members provided exten- "Analysis of the Nondestructive Exam-
sive support in the areas of program plan- ination of PVRC Plate-Weld Specimen
ning, test conduction, reduction and inter- 2512J." A Report for the PVRC Sub-
committee on Nondestructive Examina- Discussion
tion of Materials for Pressure Compo-
nents, Pressure Vessel Research Com- Question (Mr. Endler): Is carbon steel
mittee, Welding Research Council, May still being used in support plates?
21, 1973.
Answer (Mr. Reinhardt): I think there are

[10] Lockheed-Georgia Company, "Technical some vendors here. They might answer
Manual, Nondestructive Inspection," that, regarding their new designs.
AFLC program to Determine the Reli-
ability of Nondestructive Inspection Comment (Mr. Houserman): Some of those
Under Actual Field and Depot Condi- are being changed. There has been a lot of
tions, F41608-73-D-2850-0038, May 26, study, not only on the material, but the
1975. configurations.

[11] Reinhart, E. R. "A Study of In- , Question (Mr. Mester): You mentioned
Service Ultrasonic Inspection Prac- multi- frequency equipment did not do as
tice for BWR Piping Welds," EPRI Spe- well in some areas, or did better in
cial Report, NO-436 SR, August 1977. others. Was this the type of equipment
that Hugo Libby was describing?
[12] Flora J. H. and Brown, S. D.
, "Eval- ,

uation of the Eddy-Current Method of Answer (Mr. Reinhardt): We tested the

Inspection Steam Generator Tubing," Intercontrole pulsonic system from France.
Report No. BNL-NUREG-50512R, Battelle They came over and tested the mockup we
Columbus Laboratory/Brookhaven Na- had. That was a commercial system, what I
tional Laboratory Contract No. call a field test system.
EY-76-C-02-0016, September 30, 1976.
We tested the system that is being
[13] Weeks, J. Materials performance
R. , developed at Battelle Northwest which I
in operating pressurized water re- consider, a development- type system. It
actor steam generators, Nuclear is more refined in technology than the
Technology, 28, 348-355 (March 1976). intercontrole system. It attempts to do
automatic analysis which is rather
[14] Fletcher W. D. and Malinowski, D. , signi f icant.
D. ,
"Operating experience with
Westinghouse steam generators," The Intercontrole system relies
Nuclear Technology, 28, 356-373, heavily on a lot of manual analysis, but
(March 1976). it has been in the field several times.
So we had, a field-ready multi-frequency
[15] Hare, M. G.Steam generator tube
, prototype system and we also tested a
failures: world experience in water- laboratory prototype multi -frequency
cooled nuclear power reactors in system.
1974, Nuclear Safety, 17, [2],
231-242 (March - April 1976). But our goals in testing the two sys-
tems were different. One, to see if the
[16] Weeks, J. R. Corrosion of steam gen-
, field system could be taken into the
erator tubing in operating pressur- field, to solve some current problems. Our
ized water reactors, in Corrosion role in the Battelle system was to help
Problems in Energy Conversion and direct their R&D in further development.
Generation C.
, S. Tedmon, Jr., ed. ,
This is the first time that they had
(The Electrochemical Society, Prince- really interfaced with the new problems,
ton, New Jersey 1974), pp. 322-345. and these problems are new. That is one
of the reasons we conducted the round
[17] Birkle, A. J. PWR steam generator
, robin for them. So there were different
inservice inspections, in Third Con- goals in the two programs.
ference on Periodic Inspection of
Pressurized Components (I Mech E .

Conference Publications 1976-10,

London, England, September 20-22,
1976) pp. 61-65.

. 1

National Bureau of Standards Special Publication 589. Proceedings of the Workshop on Eddy
Current Nondestructive Testing held at NBS, Gaithersburg, MD, November 3-4, 1977. Issued
January 1981


Patrick C. McEleney
U.S. Army Materials and Mechanics Research Center
Arsenal Street
Watertown, MA 02172

In preparing this presentation, the

current method is not a major factor in the
first reference I reviewed was AMC P 702-
design and procurement stages of the
11, "Guide to Specifying NDT in Materiel
government materials life cycle. Where the
Life Cycle Applications." This handbook is
eddy current method is most important is
intended to serve as a guide to managers in
during the service life of systems, i.e.,
incorporating NDT in the management of
in detecting defects that have arisen in
materiel at the different stages of the
service. The standards used in most cases
life cycle. The document serves as a basic
are the parts themselves with artificial or
reference to facilitate the planning,
natural defects. They are used to help
selection, and application of NDT for
define the condition of the parts and the
ensurance of satisfactory performance at
end of service life so that the system can
reasonable cost. This document is cur-
be withdrawn from service before failure.
rently being revised and will be submitted
for DOD approval in the near future.
The majority of papers presented at
the Defense Conference dealt with main-
I turned to Chapter VI of the revised
tainability (in-service) inspection. One,
document (draft) and under "Electromag-
however, (S. Friedman, NSRDC - 1974) dealt
netic (Eddy Current) Testing" found only
with calibration standards and specifi-
ten ASTM documents referenced. Looking
cations for eddy current crack detection.
further, under "General," I found two
He noted an increased use of eddy current
documents which pertain to eddy currents:
instrumentation for' the detection and
MIL-I-6870B Inspection Requirements, Non-
characterization of cracks in structural
destructive for Aircraft Materials and
weldments. He also reported an apparent
Parts; and Air Force TO-00-25-224, Welding
dearth of adequate standards aimed explic-
High Pressure and Cryogenic Systems (Sec-
itly at structural weld crack detection
tion 4). Subsequently, I found two other
effectiveness. Mr. Friedman concluded that
documents which should have been listed experimental
based on analysis of the
under Eddy Current Testing: MIL-T-15005E
results, it would appear that current
for 70-30 and 90-10 Copper Nickel Alloy
standards and practices in eddy current
Condenser and Heat Exchanger Tubing, July
inspection for cracks in structural weld-
1962; and T.0. IF-111A-36. However,
ments are generally adequate.
some easily implemented measures should be
Proceeding, I reviewed the records of
taken in order to ensure greater effec-
the Defense Conference on Nondestructive
tiveness without any increase in false
Testing, which originated in 1951 and will
alarm rate. These are:
in a few weeks hold its 26th conference.
I noted it was not until 1967 that they Calibration blocks should
recognized eddy current testing as a
conform as closely as possible to
significant method and appointed an EC the metal under test in terms of
consultant to assist in the solution of electrical conductivity;
problems before the group. Prior to that,
it had been included in a battery of other
2. Instrument sensitivity should be
minor methods. There have been ten papers checked on a relatively wide
on eddy currents presented at the various simulated crack in addition to
sessions of the conference. checking it on a slit-saw cut or
other, still tighter, simulated
Several other indicators which I wi 1
not detail here demonstrate that the eddy
3. Instrument sensitivity should be of calibration data during or between
set with an insulating shim be- inspections.
tween crack and coil to simulate
maximum expected lift-off; and Further, dynamic signal injection is
particularly versatile in that virtually
4. Lift-off and instrument zero any signal pattern can be generated by
should be checked and reset, if properly programming the semiconductor
necessary, on sound base metal memories. Once the memories are pro-
structure prior to the inspec- grammed, the information is stored indef-
tion. initely or until intentionally erased.
Complete libraries of program data or
The shortcomings of calibration of eddy memory devices can be accumulated to ac-
current OD tubing inspection systems by commodate particular test conditions or
passing a tube containing fabricated flaws test criteria, such as tube material, size,
through the inspection coil was noted in nominal wall thickness, and flaw types.
MIL-T-15005E (Copper Nickel Alloy Tubing). The memories are easily duplicated with
It is difficult to obtain accurate and conventional PROM programmers at a small
reproducible fabricated flaws in the cost in comparison to fabrication of
reference tubing. machined flaw standards.

recognition of this problem, the

In In addition, metallic tabs and passive
Naval Ships Engineering Center has spon- loading coils are also attractive alterna-
sored a program at Battel le-Northwest to tives to machined flaws. Metal tabs are
investigate alternate means of calibrating easier to fabricate and less costly than
eddy current inspection systems applicable machined flaws and can provide a good
to 1 inch diameter, 0.070 inch wall copper- variety of signal patterns for calibration
nickel tubing. Two alternate calibration purposes. Loading coils and tabs can be
approaches have been investigated: mounted on nonmetallic forms to permit ease
of handling and use. The signal pattern
1. the injection of reference amplitude and phase angle control that is
signals into the electromagnetic possible with loading coils using passive
field surrounding the eddy electrical components presents some in-
current inspection probe by teresting possibilities for switching
means of special coils and elec- arrangements to generate complete sets of
tronically developed signals calibration signal patterns. Neither tabs
representing flaw conditions; nor loading coils contain active circuitry
and or require reference signals from the test
instrument which makes them more adaptable
2. the production of reference to a variety of instrument designs. This
signals by translating specially is in contrast to the signal injection
prepared metallic tabs and circuitry which must be tailored to a
electrically loaded coils past specific instrument design, although the
the eddy current inspection readjustments necessary to accommodate
probe. most instrument designs are relatively
They concluded that artificially
generated signal patterns provide an There are a few other points which I
alternative to fabricated flaws for pro- might briefly mention which are of consid-
ducing eddy current calibration signals. erable interest to the Government, although
The signal injection and passive signal not strictly of interest at this time.
generation techniques described for OD Evolution of a defect characterization
tubing inspection can provide the variety scheme for eddy current inspection has been
of signal patterns necessary to confirm impeded by the lack of an adequate model of
proper operation and calibration of the the magnetic field defect interaction
eddy current instrument under all anti- common to all the magnetic methods of
cipated inspection conditions. Signal nondestructive testing. The major ac-
injection techniques can duplicate actual complishment to date has been to show that
flaw patterns, and passive loading coils or the magnetic field/defect interaction can
metallic tabs can closely simulate many be modeled by finite element analysis
typical flaw patterns. Signal injection techniques including material nonlin-
coils can be incorporated into inspection earities and complex defect geometries. It
coil assemblies to permit periodic recall remains to verify the results experi-
mentally and to examine the feasibility of

applying the modeling technique to include
residual magnetism effects (for magnetic
particle testing) and alternating current
conditions (for eddy current testing).

One further point has come to my

attention in the last several months. Some
of my colleagues were preparing questions
for the DARCOM Eddy Current Level III
Certification, and in reviewing the many
references, a plethora of terminology
became readily apparent. As one might
imagine, this creates much confusion.
Although much of this is what you run into
in physics texts, it was noted that some
authors active in the eddy current field
have their own unique terminology. It is
hoped that those taking the exam have all
read the appropriate reference material; if
not, they are definitely in trouble.


Question (Mr. Berger): You mentioned the

biggest use of eddy current testing is
related to in-service inspection problems
in the field, and that the standards tend
to be actual parts which are defective.
Doesn't that make it very difficult to
compare the calibration procedures of one
maintenance depot with another?

Answer (Mr. McEleney): It doesn't help,

but the results have been satisfactory.

Question (Mr. Berger): Does one person

develop standards for the whole country?

Answer (Mr. McEleney): For example,

government personnel examined the whole
inventory of M-39, 20 mm gun tubes. There
were mixed lots of improperly heat treated
steels in the in-service pieces. These
barrels were distributed all over the
world, so they were examined in entirety,
using good and bad barrels as standards.
These standards were shipped around to
various stations but all standards came out
of one place, Watertown Arsenal. There are
several other instances that are similar.
Usually, there is one source of standards
for a particular application.




I National Bureau of Standards Special Publication 589. Proceedings of the Workshop on Eddy
Current Nondestructive Testing held at NBS, Gaithersburg, MD, November 3-4, 1977. Issued
January 1981.



Tracy W. McFarlan
Ultrasonic & Electromagnetic Equipment
Magnaflux Corporation
Chicago, IL 60690

During the early 1950' s, eddy current

testing was introduced in this country to Today, the technology of eddy
satisfy market requirements for a line of current testing has improved to such an
electronic instruments that could be used extent that we can test ferrous tubing
for surface crack detection, sorting of from the I. D. ,
automatically test steel

critical materials billets for longitudinal seams, detect

according to alloy
content, hardness, geometry variations, corrosion between first and second
and direct conductivity determinations. members on aircraft structures, test
There was also a requirement for practi- wire at mill speeds, test rods at ele-
vated temperatures, automatically sort
cal means of automatically testing parts
large quantities of parts in automotive
at production line speeds with automatic
plants, find microscopic cracks on
readout of test results. Out of this
emerged several vacuum tube instruments complicated shaped aircraft structures
with limited frequency ranges utilizing that cannot be found with other tech-
meter, cathode ray tube, and recorder
niques, and accurately readout conduc-

readouts, that were used for manual and tivity of materials in percent IACS.
automatic testing of critical components.
These instruments were operated on 110 V
Practical test specifications and
lines, and they were considered portable
recommended practice documents have been
if they could be carried around by one or
developed by several industrial compa-
two nies, trade societies, and government
men. Operation required a skilled
man who understood the basic principals agencies that provide good test guide-
of eddy current testing and electronics lines for many critical applications.
and had the ability to interpret test This work continues and, for the most
part, these documents are abreast of
events as they occur in the marketplace.
ASTM established a subcommittee of E-
Personnel technical training facili-
7 to develop a glossary and to write
ties are available in many sections of
recommended practice documents covering
our industry to educate people who are
critical industrial applications, and ASNT
involved with eddy current testing from
provided good educational material in the
the operator in the field to the super-
first edition of the NDT handbook.
visor who is ultimately responsible for
establishing set-up of the test and
In the 1960's, solid state circuits
became available in the electronics in- action based on test results.
dustry and this caused considerable
As for the future, all of us can
changes in the methods of testing with
look into the crystal ball and see
eddy current equipment. The instruments
different things. It is apparent to us
were made much smaller and many of them
that the most important development must
could be powered with batteries. Opera-
be the instrument's ultimate ability to
tion of the instruments was simplified,
make more and more decisions on its own.
automatic gates were developed, variable
The instrument will have the ability of
frequency operation over much larger
collecting sizeable quantities of test
ranges appeared, and readouts were im-
data, and, properly programmed, it
proved considerably. Allied with these
should have the capability of digesting
developments were greatly improved me-
the data and making an accept/reject
chanical handling techniques that per-
decision. Thus, pattern recognition,
mitted reliable testing of materials of
accurate mechanical control of the probe/
many different sizes and shapes at high
coil with relationship to the test material,

storage of information and accurate cali- ment calculation. If the ROI is satis-
bration techniques will play an important factory, we will design, produce and
part. The computer and microprocessor market standard instruments. Now what
will have a considerable impact on future do we do with the instruments that are
instruments' designs because of their special? Or, what should we do with
control and decision-making capabilities. instrument requirements where there is
We anticipate that the instrument will not a big market; a production of five or
have fewer controls, readouts will be much ten instruments? To establish a product
easier to interpret, and the mechanical for this market is difficult. Economi-
portion of the system will become more cally, we cannot afford to develop a
sophisticated. Also, operation of the standard product line. Instead, we
equipment at the extreme limits of the design something on special order. But
frequency range will lead to solutions of the sales price will be higher than a
test problems that are unresolved today. standard product. This problem arises
because most companies who have special
The future needs for improved eddy requirements do not want to invest larger
current testing in industry are numerous. amounts in special equipment. So you
Time permits mention of only a few here. negotiate back and forth. Sometimes
Testing at elevated temperatures has companies will build their own equipment
always been a problem because of the and other times they are willing to go
difficult requirements for cooling the ahead with the purchase of specialized
probe or coil. A breakthrough in terms of types of equipment from the supplier.
a new coolant or material used to make the
detecting element, that will withstand Question (Mr. Brown): Do you think the
high temperatures would be a big help. microprocessor will make it possible to
Precision mechanical devices that can make fewer instruments that can be tai-
accurately move the probe or part through lored in a wide variety of ways?
the eddy current system to improve test
results are badly needed. Calibration of Answer (Mr. McFarlan): Absolutely, I

the eddy current testing system in terms think the microprocessors will find their
of actual testing conditions must be way into the "manually operated instru-
improved if we expect this method to ments" area that we have been working
become a more valuable and reliable test with for crack detection. I can see
tool microprocessors helping us to interpret
data. Bob McMaster put his finger on
Calibration techniques that approach it- -interpretation is killing us. The
the actual test conditions are highly microprocessor is going to be one of the
desirable. Of great importance is the ways of obtaining better interpretation.
improvement of test specifications and
codes. Industry technical societies and Comment (Mr. Brown): You should consider
some government agencies have done a the fact that you may be able to make one
commendable job to date. This work must instrument for both eddy currents and
continue with greater emphasis on the ultrasonics.
practical application of the eddy current
system in the field. Answer (Mr. McFarlan): Right, we can
design a combination system.
Di scussion
Question (Mr. Taylor): I was just won-
Comment (Mr. Moyer): No criticism in- dering whether you might make some pre-
tended, but you have your rose-colored dictions on what role the Bureau of
glasses on when you say the suppliers will Standards might play in the future?
come up with our needs, especially when
our needs are very specialized. You will Answer (Mr. McFarlan): The NBS Conduc-
come up with the needs that will guarantee tivity Program is excellent. There has
Magnaflux or Magnetic Analysis or whoever been a dire need for the program for a
is the designer, the maximum dollar. If long time. Beyond that program, if the
we could guarantee to buy enough equip- government gets too involved in the area
ment, you would come up with that need. of NDT standards, it could represent a
problem. I have talked to people about
Answer (Mr. McFarlan): In our company, this, and it is something we ought to
after we have analyzed the marketplace bring out and talk about.
needs, all of the economic factors that
are involved, we make a return on invest-

In industry we have a competitive This is the name of the game, and we
situation, and we like the idea of run- know it. There is really not much we do
ning our own show. This is typically about it. If Carpenter and Magnaflux
American. There is fear in our minds could enter into working relationships
that the government will get too involved. for example, we are not spending a lot of
They are going to control the industry, money for nothing; more could be accom-
distort the standards, and try and tell pl ished.
us how to do things.
Comment I
: think the bulk of us could do
Bureau's contributions have been
The with very simple instrumentation. Now
very good. They have worked well within that we are developing complex dual
i that organization. If that is an example systems, I am all for them. But, let us
of how they are going to handle them- put some software in them so that a high
selves in the futuregreat. We need school grad today can be trained to run
them. it. I am not saying that is always
necessary, but it should be true for the
Comment (Dr. Green): I would like to majority of tests.
make a comment. I know from my own
experience in working with the National Comment I
: agree with an earlier comment
Bureau of Standards that everywhere they about the willingness to invest large
go they are viewed with awe and fear in amounts of money to get something that
the factories. People thought NBS was will do the job. Unfortunately, too many
going to regulate them. That is the people rely on market analysis relative
least of the Bureau's intent. I think to what the worth is of developing a new
that is the least intent from the present type of equipment for a new type of
program. Of course, something develops application. At the start when one or
and someone else takes over and the two people have an idea to go some place,
intent can change. You cannot guarantee the market does not look very big. I am
that present policy will continue. I sure Foerster did not know what his total
know at the present time, the Bureau does market was, other than the fact he knew
not plan on being a regulatory agency. there were different applications. The
problem is we sometimes defeat ourselves
Answer (Mr. McFarlan): Another area we by market analysis. Once new equipment
ought to talk about is the bill before becomes available, it is amazing how much
Congress that nobody understands, that the market grows and becomes greater than
might involve NDT. people first visualized.

Comment : I do not know what bill it is. Question (Mr. Weismantel): There is a
great need in microprocessors; is Magna-
Question (Mr. McFarlan): If you people flux pursuing this area?
know something about it and could en-
lighten us, please do so. Answer : Yes. In the computer area I can
tell you as of Monday of last week, we
Answer :My last information was that committed ourselves to an engineering
bill was not coming out of committee. program to get into computerized NDT.
Yes, we are in it. We have recognized
Comment (Mr. McFarlan): I think we ought the possibilities for some time, but the
to know what it is and get some back- opportunity was not right, the timing was
ground on it. It is conceivable that if not right until now. Now, we think it is
it dies in committee now, it may show up right. Look at the trade shows and see
in the near future. what is happening, the ASNT show in
Detroit. It is quite obvious what is
Comment A comment on speciality sys-
: happening. Computerized systems were
tems. We are involved primarily in there. That kind of acitivity spurs us
special systems as a supplier, not only on and motivates people to act.
! instrumentation, but material handling
equipment. Oftentimes, we will develop Question (Mr. Berger): I find the

the proposal stages in very complicated economics discussion interesting, cer-
highly engineered special systems, and we tainly a driving factor; but I would like
will go to, in our case, steel companies to get to some other aspects of the
with all of this work. They will take instrumentation problem. Our problem is
the information, go out for bids on it, measuring certain characteristics of the
and give it to the low bidder. instrumentation. We had a meeting on


ultrasonics here a few weeks ago, as you for flaws, there are problems. Standard-
know, and one of the points made was that izing the sorts of things we are talking
there would be no attempt by anybody to about is going to create more problems
standardize how everybody's pulser should for industry than it is going to solve.
work, but there should be agreement on Maybe because it is my business and I am
how to measure those pulses in terms of particularly sensitive to it, but I am
rise time, shape, whatever. Are there running up against ASME codes, the NRC,
similar problems in regard to eddy cur- etc. It is a fact of industry. We are
rent instrumentation? meeting paperwork requirements. And even
though we have a better test, a more
Answer (Mr. Hentschel): First, one would rapid test that gives more results, if it
have to clean up the terminology. Every- does not meet these paperwork require-
body uses terminology that is diverse. ments, it is not accepted. The stan-
dardization of these kinds of documenta-
Question (Mr. Berger): You are saying tion hinders what we are all trying to do.
terminology is now in such a bad state
that we cannot agree? As an example, consider the ASME
code followed by the nuclear industry.
Answer (Mr. Hentschel): Yes. The termi- By the time something technical has been
nology has to be agreed upon. developed and is accepted, published, and
accepted by NRC, there is a period of
Comment (Dr. McMaster): May I comment on about seven years. I do not want to see
that? Twenty years ago when we brought us put in this position by NBS. In seven
out the first edition of the handbook, we years trying to live up to standards we
were voted down by two-thirds of every set today, we have got to be very careful
group and they said the terminology was of what we are documenting.
obscure, too theoretical, and too imprac-
tical to ever make it in the field. It Question Berger):
(Mr. I think you are
is better to make the word probe coil right. do not have any problem with

standard. The handbook terminology that. I go back to what I said at the

should not be frozen but, should in a beginning of the meeting. The kind of
paragraph say, probe coil, and then give standards or procedures we really like to
seven other different ways to describe develop, beyond the conductivity measure-
the same thing by inference. Then, ments, are those that contribute somehow
regardless of what literature a person to better reliability or better measure-
reads ten years in the future, there is a ments, or better assurance that what you
chance he will be able to recognize the are measuring is there. It could be I

words. I detest frozen words of the type various aspects of the instrumentation
you need to have in specifications. are not important, and measurements of |

the coil may not be important to a par-

Comment (Mr. Brown): I hate to disagree, ticular objective. But, are there mea-
but there are some words like sensitiv- surements, calibration procedures, what-
ity, resolution, phase angle, that are ever, that can be made in the eddy
things to be measured with numbers; and current field which would be helpful?
they should have generally agreed-upon For example, the ultrasonic test blocks, j

definitions. We are way behind in this is there anything comparable in the eddy l

field. And, when we get them, it will be current field?

interesting to see what they describe. i

Answer (Mr. Denton): Right now, we have

Comment (Mr. Richardson): I would like what we call a master standard and we
to comment. I believe the only thing you have a mag tape on that standard, so we !

can describe is the linearity of the re- make ten more standards. Right now the
sponse of the instrument. You can do standards are traceable to my desk or
that with signal injection. your desk. If it is traceable to NBS,

it is a lot more acceptable.

Comment: I am in the business of provid-
ing inspection services to the nuclear Comment : One problem we have is sorting |

industry. It would appear that NBS is steel, grades of steel, due to slight
developing instruments that are going to changes in chemistry, heat treats,
measure conductivity, that is all right, various things. If you could come up !

you should have some conductivity stan- with some sort of standard or some mea- |

dards to verify the performance of surement, whether it is permeability, 1

tests. In the business of testing tubing saturation effects, whatever, to help us 1

sort grades of steel, bar stock, plate
stock, Bethlehem, J & L, etc. which was

made today or in the middle of the


Comment (Mr. Wehrmeister): To set a

little parallel when you measure conduc-
tivity, as in sorting, you are looking
for a quantitive number to describe what
you are measuring. The standard that
developed through the years is a standard
of what it is you are measuring, regard-
less of what instrument you use, so you
can calibrate it to the standard. This
is where you have to draw the line. When
you get defect detection, cracks, things
of that sort to use parallel structure,
you would be standardizing cracks. And,
I have not found one yet. I think that
is where it ends. Standards end with
flaw detection, but it begins in sorting
appl i cations.

Comment (Mr. Brown): I know Mr. Denton

makes good standards. But there is a
good probability he makes them the same
way each time. What if somebody at the
other end of the country looks at the
boiler code and starts making standards?
How will they compare with the records in
your desk drawer? I have an uneasy
feeling about holes drilled at different
speeds, different temperatures, voltages,
etc. I think you could do a lot of good
by surveying the range of variation that
exists due to different techniques of
making holes. Do it over a wide variety
of conditions, fast, slow, EDM. Then the
areas in which standardization is needed
might be clearer.

Comment (Mr. Berger): We have done

something very similar with ultrasonic
reference blocks by borrowing all the
types of blocks we could find. The
variation was found to be about 40 per-
cent. At least, we know what the number












* :


National Bureau of Standards Special Publication 589. Proceedings of the Workshop on Eddy
Current Nondestructive Testing held at NBS, Gai thersburg , MD, November 3-4, 1977. Issued
January 1981


Hugo L. Libby
2302 Frankfort Street
Richland, WA 99352

1. Introduction
Significant work in the multi fre-
quency eddy current techniques has been
Eddy current nondestructive testing
done by Mr. Bob Meister and the staff at
methods are electromagnetic field methods
Battelle Columbus [7] using a different
in which eddy currents are induced in the
approach than that reported in the body of
test specimen by alternating currents
this paper. Their approach, a post-
flowing in inspecting coils adjacent to or
analysis procedure, uses an eddy current
surrounding the test specimen. Test
system designed around a PDP 11/40 mini-
specimen conditions are monitored by
computer and involves nonlinear transfor-
measuring the impedances of the test coils
mation of measurements, application of the
(or currents and voltages of the coils) as
transformed measurements to a decision
they are affected by eddy current flow
algorithm, and the display of results.
within the specimen. The methods have
been quite highly developed and they are
In contrast, the technique described
used widely in the metals industry for
in the body of this paper is a real time
the inspection of electrically conducting
method. Much of this paper is based upon
materials and parts [I] 1 .
work performed by Battelle Northwest [8]
sponsored by the Electric Power Research
Most eddy current inspections are
made using single frequency excitation,
with the equipment permitting a selection
Important aspects of the eddy current
of any one of several different fre- inspection method are design and construc-
quencies. However, it has been found that
tion of the eddy current inspection coils,
use of two or more test frequencies simul-
handling or transporting of the test spec-
taneously, resulting in a large number of
imens, selection of test frequency or fre-
degrees of freedom in the signal, can give
quencies, adjustment of instrument sensi-
a larger amount of information about the
tivity, selection and use of test cali-
test specimen than can be obtained using
bration specimens or standards, choice of
a single frequency [2,3,4,5]. Other filtering means, test specimen
workers are active in multi frequency eddy
speed of translation, setting of any auto-
current applications, but publications are
matic alarm indicators, and interpretation
difficult to find. Halmshaw [6] in an of test data when required.
article on potential developments in non-
destructive testing mentions work of R. Especially important in the design of
Becker and P. Holler in Germany and refers
eddy current inspection systems is the
to various papers on the subject presented
size, shape, and configuration of the in-
in Session III of the 7th International
spection coils and the selection of in-
NDT Conference in Warsaw in 1973 and at
spection frequencies. Of the essence here
the NDT Materials Conference at Nijmegen
are the flow patterns of the eddy currents
in 1974.
which are affected by the factors men-
tioned, as well as by the presence of
A multi frequency eddy current tube
irregularities within the test specimens
inspection system has been developed by
which affect the electromagnetic proper-
Intercontrole, Gif-sur-Yvette, France, but
ties of the specimens.
the writer has found no technical articles
describing this work.

figures in brackets indicate literature references at the end of this paper.

The electromagnetic skin effect is 2.1 Single frequency method
important in any eddy current system and
especially so in the multi frequency A single frequency eddy current
method. It is the variation of the skin inspection device is depicted in figure
effect with frequency and the resulting 1. The single frequency generator A
differences in the flow pattern of eddy
currents that make it possible for the
multi frequency method to produce more
information about the test specimen than
does the single frequency method [4].

2. Multi frequency Eddy Current Principles

Significant multi frequency eddy

current inspection principles are:

a. Two or more excitation frequen-

cies are applied simultaneously to the
inspection coil assumbly.
Figure 1. Single frequency eddy current
b. The filtered, demodulated outputs tubing inspection device.
representing the response of the system to
the different excitation carrier signals supplies excitation currents to the
can carry independent information as a differential internal eddy current probe
result of the eddy current skin effect coils. The amplified bridge output
which varies with frequency. signal is applied to an amplitude-phase
detector which produces demodulated in-
c. The principles of superposition phase (0) and quadrature-phase (90)
apply to the effects of the excitation signal outputs C x and C 2 respectively.

currents for inspection coils adjacent to Two signals are shown in the output signal
nonmagnetic (nonferrous) test specimens. plane C x versus C 2 caused as the inspec-
tion probe assembly is caused to trans- 1

d. The principles of small signal verse past two hypothetical defects pi

analysis are usually applied in idealized and p 2 in sequence. Null bridge balance

analyses because of the resulting simpli- conditions are assumed except when the
fications. probe coils are near the defects. It is j

also assumed that small signal conditions

The inspection of magnetic test Lissajous figures

e. exist and that the

specimens is beyond the scope of the formed are straight lines in the Cj versus
present discussion because of extreme C 2 signal plane.
nonl inear effects.
The following equations can be
The principles of the multi frequency written to describe the two signals C x and
(multiparameter) method of eddy current C 2 when parameters p! and p 2 appear at
inspection have been described [3,4] from different times:
three viewpoints:
auPi = Cx (1) i

a. Generalization of the single fre- 1

quency phase discrimination technique. a2iPi = c 2 (2)

b. Algebraic solution of a set of a 12 p 2 (3)

simultaneous equations.
a 22 p 2 = c 2 (4)
c. Geometrical approach involving
vectors and signal space. where Cj and C 2 can vary as p x and p 2
fluctuate. The coefficients a lx a 21 a 12
, , ,

The interrelationships and common and a 22 are constants associated with the
basis of these three viewpoints will inspection coil system, test specimen, and
become apparent as the discussion general electronic signal circuits of the
proceeds. instrument.

Equations (1) and (2) are written 2.2 Multi frequency theory
assuming parameter p 2 is zero. Similarly,
parameter Pi is zero for eqs. (3) and (4). It has been shown in a previous
Now, assuming that the principles of paper [3] that the required independence
linear algebra apply, a consequence of of signals may be obtained by adding
the small signal assumption, we can com- excitation frequencies and analyzing
bine these equations into two equations circuits. Simple theory indicates that
as follows: for each additional frequency applied, two
additional variables may be solved. How-
a nPi + a i2P2 _ Ci (5) ever, more advanced signal theory indi-
cates that, assuming the test specimen
a 2lPl + a 22P2 = C 2 . (6) variables signal effects are of the mini-
mum phase type, the number of additional
This system of two simultaneous equa- variables accommodated will approach one
tions has two variables or parameters per additional frequency as the number of
Pi and p 2 The values of the coefficients
. frequencies are increased.
a Ul . a2 2
. .can be determined by
varying p x and p 2 individually and measur- Assuming that we are considering a
ing their effect upon the values of C x modest number of excitation frequencies,
and C 2 which can be observed.
, Equations the eq. (7) which was developed for a
(5) and (6) can be expressed in matrix single frequency system can now be gen-
form as eralized to handle additional frequencies
by simply increasing the number of rows
[A] P] = C] (7) and columns in [A] and the number of rows
in P] and C].
The equation system in the form of
eqs. (5) and (6) may be solved using the
a ll a 12 rules of algebra. The matrix equation
[A] = (8)
a 21 a 22 [A] P] = C] (7)

may be solved using the rules of matrix

Pi algebra:
P] = (9)
P2 P] = [A]"1 C] (11)
and where [A] is the inverse of [A].

The phase discrimination technique

is used widely in the single frequency
C] = (10) system to discriminate against a single
c2 variable signal such as the one caused by
p2 in figure 1 by rotating the signal
pattern by varying the reference phase
The matrix [A] is considered to be a adjustment until the signal lies along the
modulation relating the test specimen C1 axis. In this position, it has no
parameter P] to the demodulated output component in the C 2 axis direction (line
signal C]. Excitation amplitude and Ci). Similarly, the parameter or variable
relative phase, amplifier gain and px can be discriminated against by
instrument phase shifts are assumed to rotating the pattern so that its signal
remain constant. The system of two eq- has no component in the C 2 direction. It
uations, with known values of the co- is noted that with the circuit shown the
efficients a., and the quantities cx two parameters cannot be separated at the
and c 2 can be^solved for variables p x and
, same time. This limitation is not one of
p2. A third signal caused by a third principle, and can be overcome by the use
variable cannot be accommodated in this of additional circuits. Also, this limi-
system of equations, as it could be tation is not inherent in eqs. (5), (6),
expressed as a linear combination of the (7), and (11).
two existing signals and thus is not
independent. The output of the single The foregoing concepts are exempli-
frequency system thusly can be analyzed to fied and expanded in the diagram in figure
yield only two variables or parameters. 2. The inspection coil assembly is


i \ ii


Figure 2. Multi frequency concept.

excited by a multiple frequency gen-

erator, and the receiver has several
amplitude-phase detectors whose outputs Figure 3. Multi frequency eddy current
are Cj. This is followed by a tubing inspection device.
transformation section which performs the
inverse function indicated by eq. (11). Cx to C4 of the receiver-detector
Figure 2 also applies the signal theory system can be considered to have come
concepts of parameter space, signal space, from two receivers, each operating at a
and estimated parameter space to the eddy different frequency. The output of the
current problem. first is Cx and C 2 and the output of the

second is C 3 and C 4.

the application of these concepts

in practical instrument, the circuits
a The transformation unit or section
within the transformation section can be can have any one of many different forms.
adjusted manually to produce the required The one shown here in a line diagram is a
parameter separating function. In the direct instrumentation of the adjoint of
foregoing discussion, the need to instru- the matrix [A] previously discussed. The
ment the inverse of [A] is inferred. In line diagram indicates that each output
fact, it is only necessarjy to instrument Pi is in general supplied by some com-
adjoint [A] as it is the adjoint which bination of the inputs C-j. Provision must
contains the variable separating capabil- be made to sum these input quantities in
ity or decoupling capability. This is various amounts of either sign including
stated algebraically as: the null quantity. The requirement here
for separation of variables is that the
summing circuits feeding any p. output
r/n -l _ Adjoint [A] = adj [A] (12) line be adjusted so that the effect of all
" |A|
the remaining variables be discriminated
against at that particular output line.
where I A I is the determinant of [A].
Thus, in the example shown for four
variables, the summing circuits feeding
It is noted that |A| is simply an
output line p x must be adjusted so that
amplitude factor. In a practical example,
the effect of variables p 2 P3, and p 4 are
it is often desired to adjust the output ,

eliminated at output line p 1 Similarly,

amplitudes at p x p individually.
. . .

the summing circuits feeding output line

p 2 must be adjusted so that the effects of
variables p 1} p 3
, and p 4 are minimized at
2.3 Multi frequency eddy current device.
output line p 2 and in a likewise manner
for the remaining lines. Reaching the
A multi frequency eddy current
desired adjustments is difficult as it is
inspection device is shown by the block
desirable to present to the inspection
diagram in figure 3. It is shown to
coil assembly the several specific
emphasize the nature of a two-frequency
variables, whose effects are to be mini-
system, but the extension in principle to a
mized, in sequence for convenience in
greater number of frequencies is shown by
each case.
the dotted lines. The diagram has been
drawn to emphasize that the signal outputs


It is emphasized that a fifth inde- ing inner wall defects, and summing
pendent variable or parameter cannot be circuits adjusted at f and g to give
separated using this four-parameter optimum separation of the respective sig-
; system. The system must be expanded by nals at 1 ines 10 and 1 1
adding another excitation frequency, a
receiver channel, and additional trans- The circuit shown in figure 5 uses
former circuits to accommodate an addi- Cartesian coordinate transformation
tional parameter. devices to perform the summing functions
[9]. The first parameter is discriminated
against following the same procedure as
2.4 Transformation circuits described in figure 4, except that rota-
tion of the signal pattern rotator's
Two other forms of transformation shafts (<)>!, 2 <t>
and, 3) are adjusted

sections are shown in the next two instead of potentiometers. Rotators 4 <J>

figures. Figure 4 shows one based upon and 5 (|>are next adjusted to minimize
signals on lines 8 and 9 caused by two

other parameters. Next, 4> 6 is adjusted

to minimize signals caused by the fourth
parameter on line 11. Although the cali-
bration (adjustment) of the rotators for
optimizing the discrimination between
variables is usually done experimentally
by the operator, the explanation of their
function can be clarified by following
signals through the circuit by an analyti-
Figure 4. Parameter discrimination or cal method. This is done in the next
transformation section. section. As an introduction to the
analytical approach, the equations des-
the method of Gauss for eliminating one cribing the operation of the rotator
variable at a time [3]. This particular transformation unit are now given.
circuit can discriminate against signals
caused by two variables (p x and p 2 ) and
has two readout channels, one for p 3 and
one for p 4 . This circuit, in contrast to
the more general arrangement of the trans-
formation circuit in figure 3, may re-
quire interchanging of the input leads
depending upon the distribution of signal
components between the leads. This need
for increased flexibility arises because
the laws of linear algebra must be
satisfied. In operation the circuit is
adjusted (calibrated) to perform the
desired discrimination between signals.
The circuit in figure 4 is a four-param-
eter circuit and has the capability of Figure 5. Parameter discrimination
discriminating against two parameters and section using plural transformation
of separating signals from two other rotars.
parameters at the two output channels 10
and 11. The signals caused by the first The transformation equations for the
parameter p 1 are minimized on lines 5, 6, transformation rotators shown in figure
and 7 by adjusting in sequence the summ- 5 are:
ing circuits at summing junctions a, b,
and c, while the signals caused by p x are x' = x cos <|>
- y sin <]) (13)
being applied to the inputs at lines 1,
2, 3, and 4. Next, a second parameter y' = x sin + y cos <J)
(perhaps some probe variable signal resi-
due remaining on lines 5, 6, and 7) can where and y are the two signal inputs
be minimized on lines 8 and 9 by adjusting and x and y' are the signal outputs, and

the summing circuits at d and e. The is the mechanical angle of the rotator.

inspection probe is now caused to traverse Equations (13) and (14) are related to
past two selected defects, one represent- those used in analytic geometry to des-
ing outer wall defects, and one represent- cribe transformation of Cartesian coordi-


nates. However, eqs. (13) and (14) differ

We find the value of 5 to give a
slightly in that they have been modified

null or near null output c 2 for selected

to describe the transformation of signals
signal S in the two-dimensional subspace
flowing through the circuits rather than
by equating e 2 = 0 in eq. (20) and deter-
the rotation of coordinates. Given a
mine that
vector input signal with components x and
y, the shaft angle 0 which will produce a (dj sin + d 2 cos
4 <|)
null (or near null) signal at the output
is obtained by equating the right hand

side of eq. (13) to zero and solving for
sin <j>
= tan (|)
5 (21)
x cos <|>
- y sin <|>
= 0 <J>

SiS-J = * = tan Y
+ (15)
cos y

_^ dx sin <(>
4 + d 2 cos
d) = tan ^
x )
5 = tan (22)

Finally, the output of lines 10 and

Equation (16) can be applied se-
11 can be obtained by another application
quentially to rotators, 1, 2, and 3 in The value of 6
of eqs. (13) and (14).
figure 5 to determine the values of <t>

required to suppress the signals at the

<(>!, 2 and <t>3 to minimize the effect of
output line 11 caused by signals occupy-
the first variable on the signals dj,
ing the two-dimensional subspace is
d2 ,and d 3 on lines 5, 6, and 7. Next,
determined by application of eq. (16):
eqs. (13), (14), and (16) can be used to
determine the values of 4 and 5 to <j>

discriminate against two more variables.

These two variables produce signals which = tan 1
6 I (23)
may occupy a two-dimensional subspace of
the main four-dimensional signal space pq
which applies in this example. When ty lt
(t>2, and 3 are determined, the signals
When the rotator 6 is set at the <|)

dj, d 2 and d 3 can be found for any input

, value of $ given in eq. (23), the vari-
signals to rotators ty lt 2 and 3 <J> , <t>
. able or parameter can be observed (when
present) on line 11 (signal f 2 ). In
The signal at e x is addition, under the proper input signal
conditions, other signals not discrimi-
e x = d x cos <$>
4 + d 2 sin ty 4 (17) nated against will also give indications
at line 11. Results of the signals
caused by the three variables discrimi-
and to minimize the signal at ej for a
nated against will also be observed at
specific input signal S (in the two-
line 11. Amplitudes of these residues
dimensional subspace) which has compo-
depend upon the success of the dis-
nents d lf d2 and d 3 we find from
, ,
crimination adjustments.
eq. (16):
-1 (18)
= tan gll -
4 3. Application of the Theory
Four-Parameter Example
The signal at line a is, from eq.
(14): The application of the foregoing
principles is illustrated in this section
a = di sin <j>
4 + d 2 cos <t> 4 (19) by a combined approach using eddy current
instrument measurements of the responses
The output signal at e 2 is to fabricated tubing flaws and analyses
showing the projected performance of a
e2 = (d x sin <J> 4 + d 2 cos <)>
4) transformation section with these
responses as inputs. The following
cos 4> 5 - d 3 sin <J> 5 . (20) four-parameter example illustrates
the application of the multi frequency
principles described in the foregoing


3.1 Data acquisition

This example uses signal data scaled MULTIFHEQUENCY

from Lissajous patterns obtained using a lOOKIIt 300KHi
test specimen of Inconel 600, 7/8 in.
diameter steam generator tubing containing
fabricated calibration holes. The wall
thickness T is approximately 0.050 in.
(1.27 mm). The calibration regions and
other conditions used in this report are:

one 100 percent T drilled hole,
0.067 in. (1.7 mm) diameter (T Figure 6. Equipment for obtaining data
equals wall thickness) for algebraic solution of two-frequency
inspection method.
one 80 percent T drilled hole,
0.078 in. (1.98 mm) diameter 100 kHz having detector outputs C x and
C2 and one operating at 300 kHz having

four 20 percent T drilled holes, detector outputs C 3 and C 4 .

0.1875 in. (4.76 mm) diameter

spaced at 90 degree intervals The patterns obtained by displaying
around the circumference of the Ci versus C2, and C 3 versus C 4 by use of
tube the multiplexer were separated on the
oscilloscope screen by adjustment of dc
a simulated tube support made of offset controls in the respective
mild steel 3/4 in. thick detector circuits.
surrounding the tube.
Tracings of several specific points
Lissajous figures were generated for on the Lissajous pattern photographs for
these tube inspection conditions using the several inspection conditions are shown
equipment arrangement shown in figure 6. in figure 7. Signal components for these
(Signals observed of other calibration conditions as scaled from the photographs
holes in this tube section were present, are given in table 1
but results are not presented here in the
interest of brevity.) The equipment 200mv
comprised: (1) a two- frequency laboratory
eddy current system with a differentially 4 20% T a
connected internal inspection coil probe 1300KH
operating simultaneously at 100 kHz and 80% T-<.
300 kHz; (2) a multiplexing electronic 3 C3
switch; and (3) a cathode ray / 4

100% T V.''
oscilloscope. The in-phase (0) and 3
quadrature (90) demodulated (detected) V
outputs of the two carrier frequencies,
100 kHz and 300 kHz, were applied to the
multiplexing switch. The purpose of the
multiplexer is to time-multiplex the four Figure 7. Signal loci for five test
output signal channels of the detectors so conditions at 100 kHz and 300 kHz
that two Lissajous patterns, one from each obtained with multiplex system.
of the two carrier frequencies, could be
displayed nearly simultaneously on the
cathode ray oscilloscope screen. Dwell 3.2 Objectives of calculations
times of the electronic switches were
about 2.5 ms, and the repetition rate was The functioning of the transformation
about 10 ms, giving a display rate of unit will be shown by using the measured
about 100 points per second for each instrument outputs as inputs to the
Lissajous pattern. transformation unit and by calculating
the settings of the rotators and the
The measurement system used is equi- resulting signals in the transformation
valent to that of two single frequency section. More specifically, we desire to
inspection devices, one operating at calculate:

e .

Table 1. Components of Signals in Figure 7.

Relative Signals at Detector Output

Existing Si gnal
Condition Symbol Cx (bj C2 (b 2 ) C3 (b 3 ) C4 (b 4 )

Probe $12 17. 9 48. 3 - 6. 0 229. 8


Support $23 358. 7 -793. 3 -262. 6 -607. 6

$24 521 1 . -576. 0 -112. 8 -715. 7
$2 5 513. 9 -179 7 50. 7 -564. 7

100% T $32 -227 6 -101 9 -380 6 -231 1

hole $33 -246 4 -166 0 -425 3 -449. 0
.10/1 Q
^>34 04 U
1 CO U
1 O 606. I

80% T 41 - 97 4 19 8 -116 0 100. 0

hole $42 -202 3 - 41 4 -367 5 30. 3
$43 - 87 2 - 33 0 - 98 9 - 13 5

4-20% T $61 -110 0 90 5 - 42 3 164. 8

4 holes $62 -232 0 79 1 -218 8 314 0
$63 -111 2 27 6 -121 4 155 3

The settings of rotators, ty lt produce minimum probe wobble signal (while

the probe is caused to wobble) on lines 5,
<j) and $3 to discriminate against probe

wobble signals. 6, and 7. These adjustments are made

individually, <)>! for line 5, 2 for line <|)

6, and 3 for line 7. It is found in the

The output of rotators ty l
b. 2 3 <J> ,

example that the support signal is

and 3 for flaw signals caused by the

100 percent T, 80 percent T and the 4-20

effectively a two-dimensional signal,
percent T fabricated defects occupying a two-dimensional subspace.
in the
standard tube, given the settings of This signal is discriminated against by
rotators and 3 for discriminating adjusting iteratively the rotators 4 and <)>

2 <t> , <)>

<!>5 until the Lissajous pattern of this

against probe wobble.
signal when viewing the signals on line 9
versus those on line 10 (or lines 11 and
c. The settings of rotators 4 <t> ,

12) collapses to as nearly a straight line

4>5, and 6 to discriminate against the
signal as possible. Final discrimination
support signals.
is obtained by rotating rotator 6 to <j)

The components of peak signals

bring this nearly straight line to a
at horizontal position (minimum vertical
input of rotator
the 6 (e x versus <|>

e 2 ) caused by the defects 80 percent T

deflection) when viewing signals on line
9 versus those on line 10.
and 4-20 percent T when 4 and 5 are (t> <J>

adjusted to produce a null signal for the

signal caused by the 100 percent defect these adjustments
In this example,
(wobble discriminated against, will using the measured
all be calculated
but no
discrimination against the
instrument response given in table 1.
signal s).
We do not have the same flexibility
e. The relative amplitudes of the in the calculations as we would have
peak output signals of the support (S 23 operating the rotators manually because

S 24 and S 25 ) and the 100 percent T, 80 of the large number of computations


percent T, and 4-20 percent T signals, all required to simulate the iterative manual
at output 1 ine 11. adjustments.

Discrimination of signals will be

illustrated by use of the plural signal 3.3 Probe wobble discrimination
rotator transformation unit shown in
figure 5. Equation (16) applies for discrimi-
In operation, the rotators
and adjusted manually to nation against probe wobble:
01, 2 3 are
<t> , <|>
S = 0.00058
tan" (16)
y Probe Wobble S 12 d 2 = -0.0035
d3 = 0.0021
where x and y are the input signals to a
specific rotator and is the rotator di = 612.02
angle setting to discriminate against the >23 d2 = -651.34
signal vector x, y. Using the rotator d3 = -278.38
designations given in figure 5 and noting
from table 1 that the probe variable di = 688.80
signal vector is Support '24 d 2 = -416.45
d 3 = -131.45

di = 544.33
S 12 = 17.9 48.3 6.0 229.8 '25 d2 = - 59.70 (29)
d3 = 35.94
we have
di = -173.36
100% T Hole >33 d 2 = - 70.09
>! = tan-1 jJ4 = 0.3706 fa = 20.34 d 3 = -436.88
48. J
di = -175.31
80% T Hole '42 d 2 = - 46.75
-1 d 3 = -366.58
fa = tan - 0.2102 fa =11-87
di = -234.61
4-20% T Holes S 62 d2 = 12.82
d 3 = -210.53.
fa = tan = 0.02611 fa = -1.50.
^y. The signals d 1} d 2
(26) and d 3 for

vectors S 23 S 24 S 25 S 33 S 42 and S 62
, , , , ,

are shown in figure 8 in three 2-space

The outputs of the first three rotators, projections, d x versus d 2 d 1 versus d 3

the signals d 1( d 2 and d 3 on lines 5, 6,

, and d 2 versus d 3 .It is noted that these
and 7 in figure 5, are expressed by eq. signals have been transformed from the
(13) expanded here: original values on lines 1, 2, and 3 to
new values because of the discrimination
d1 - b x cos <(>!
- b2 sin 4>i
against the effect of probe wobble.

d 2 = b 2 cos 4> 2
- b 3 sin 0 2 (27)

d 3 = b 3 cos fa - b 4 sin (|)

3 .

Substituting the values of cos and sin

<|>for 0X, 2 and 3 in eqs.
<t> (27)
, (|)


d = 0.9377 b - 0.3475 b
] ] 2

d 0 = 0.9786 b - 0.2057 b (28)

0.9997 b. 0.0261 b .

Next, substituting the values of b 1} b 2 ,

b3 and b 4 of the peak signals S 12

, S 23 , ,

S 24 S 25, S 33 S 42
and S 62 in eqs. (28)
, ,

gives the following values for d 1 d 2 and , ,

d3 the signals on lines 5, 6, and 7 in


figure 5.

Figure 8. Three 2-space views of sig-

nals in 3-space.
3.4 Null display of signal S e = 22.37
42 ]

It is informative to determine the e = -21.28

display of e x versus e 2 (fig. 5), the
input to the final rotator when S e = 99,82
6 <}>
62 l
rotators 4 and 5 have been adjusted to
<J> <J>

present a null view of the vector signal e = -112.70

S 33 the 100 percent T signal.
, This view
will show the relative disposition of the These and corresponding projections of
vectors S 33 S 42 and S 62 which are caused
, , the d l5 d 2 and d 3 axes are shown
, in
by the three flaw conditions 100 percent figure 9.
T, 80 percent T, and 4-20 percent T,
respectively. It will also serve to 3.5 Discrimination against
clarify further solutions used for support signals
determinations of signals at e x versus
e2 . It has been observed that the sup-
port signals can represent a two-
The values of <^ 4 and 5 to result in <|> dimensional subspace in the 3-space re-
the view of S 33 at e 1 and e 2 are
null maining after discrimination against the
determined from eqs. (18) and (22) with effects of probe wobble. This aspect of
substitution of the appropriate component the support signals can be illustrated
values of the vector signal S 33 (d x = by taking the cross products of the
-173.36, d 2 = -70.09, and d 3 = -436.88), vectors S 23 S 24
and S 25 (all at lines

and the previously determined values of 5, 6, and 7) and then determine the an-
sin 4 and cos<t>
gles between these cross products to
find how closely the three vectors lie
in a plane in the 3-space.
d = tan gil (18)

d x sin <j>4 + d 2 cos <j>

= tan 3 (22)

It is found that 4 and <J> <J> 5 may have

the following pairs of values:

<P4 <t>5

Pair 1 67. 99 -23.17

Pair 2 67. 99 156.83

Pair 3 247. 99 -23.17

Pair 4 247. 99 203.17

Figure 9. Calculated display showing
The last pair, Pair 4, gives the
peak signals.
proper aspect of the vectors S 33 (null),
S 42 and S 62 when S 33 is chosen as the

null vector and the direction of view

is from the head of the vector S 33 to
the origin. The signal values at e x and = S23 X
u s 24
e 2 (fig. 5) for these conditions are:

V = S24 X S25
S e, = 0.00079
w = S23 X $25
e = -0.00396

and noting that

cos y

cos y
vw IVI fwl

*uw " TUTTwr

we find that

YJ uv = 2 85
Figure 10. Input to rotator <t> 6 with
YJ vw = 1 47 null vector normal to S 25 .

YJ uw = 1 88 A second choice was made for the null

vector at ex versus e 2 based upon a small

Next,an average of three vectors U, vector model of the signals at lines 5, 6,

V, and W is formed by adjusting their and 7. Inspection of this model indicated
component values to that corresponding to that a more reasonable choice of null
the average length of U, V, and W. The vector would be one that is normal (or
resulting average is denoted vector D and nearly normal) to vector S 24 and, of
the relative value of its components are: course, occupying the approximate plane
D = -3.1365, -12.6942, 23.2449. The containing the three support signal
vector D is normal to the approximate vectors.
plane containing the three support signal
vectors S 2 3, S 24 and S 25 on lines 5, 6,
, The vector D defines the subspace
and 7 in figure 5. (plane) containing the support signals in
an average kind of manner. The vector S 24
We will now find two vectors, both is determined by solving the equation
normal to vector D and normal to each
other to be used to calculate the settings S 24 D = 0, (30)
of rotators 4 and
5 to produce a

straight line (or near straight line) when where two components of S 24 are assumed to
viewing the support signals by displaying be equal to two corresponding components
e x versus e 2 . of S 24 We know from eq. (29) that

An attempt was made to build up the S 24 = 688.80, -416.45, -131.45 (31)

first vector S 25 by assuming it to be near
S 25
. The rotator angles 4 and 5 were <t> (t>
We then assume that
then calculated to present a null view of
the vector S 25 x D at ej versus e 2 as we , S 24 = 688.80, q, -131.45. (32)
did for vector S 33 in figure 9. When this
was carried through to completion, the Solving eq. (30) gives
results shown in figure 10 were obtained.
(Calculations of this kind are discussed q = -410.89. (33)
in more detail in the next few
paragraphs.) The support vectors in The vector S 24 is the first vector
figure 10 have been transformed as desired needed which is normal to D. The second
and they appear in a line, but the vector normal to D, and the one to be used
projections of the 100 percent T, 80 per- as a null vector in the display which
cent T, and 4-20 percent T signals are discriminates against the support signals
separated by an angle of only 7 or less. is denoted S' and is equal to the vector
This is insufficient angle difference for product:
practical use. The resulting display of
these flaw signals also has a reverse So 4 x D = S'
phase angle aspect, that is, flaws farther
from the metal surface produce signals
having increasing leading phase angles.
It is found to be equal to


= 11,219.79, 15,598.86, 10,032.38 .

We find 4 and
<J) 5 by again applying eqs.

(18) and (22) with d x = 11.21979, d 2 =

15.59886, and d 3 = 10.03238 to give:

4> 4 = 35.73 or 215.73

-800 ^00 ^So O S,

4)5 =-62.43 or 117.57 .

The underlined values are chosen as they

result in the desired aspect when viewing Figure 11. Input to rotator with null
the vectors in the e x versus e 2 display. vector normal to S 24 .

Again, the values of the other sig- It remains, to obtain the

nals at e 1 and e 2 (fig. 5) given by eqs. discrimination against the support
(17) and (20) are: signals, to rotate the signal patterns in
figure 11 so that the support signals
S23 ei -877 17 produce a minimum signal in the ordinate
e2 167 44 direction, or the signal h on line 11,
figure 5. This is done by adjusting
s 24 ei -802 35 rotator 4> 6 We note that the greatest

e2 146. 20 angle spread of the support signals is

between S 23 and S 25 and it is 0.60. The ,

S25 ei -476. 76 angle of S 25 is

e2 92 82

S33 ei 99. 80 1
625 = tan" = 168.98 .

e2 314 09

s 42 ei 115. 02
e2 260. 01 Assuming we need to approximately equal-
ize the maximum positive and negative
S62 ei 197. 95 swings of the support signal, we should
e2 128. 04 rotate the pattern in the counter-
clockwise (positive) direction 0 degrees
These results are shown in figure 11. The where:
results can be seen in better perspective
by now referring back to figure 9 wherein 6 = 180 - 168.98 - 0.4325 = 10.588.
the 100 percent T signal is viewed
"end-on," and the projections of the 80 The output of rotator 4> 6 is obtained
percent T and 4-20 percent T signals are by using eqs. (13) and (14) which are
seen in accordance with their particular rewritten here:
orientations. Now, referring to figure
11, we can see that we are viewing the 100 g = >! cos <|> 6 - e2 sin <t> 6
percent T signal from some other
viewpoint, the one determined by the h = e x sin 4> 6 + e 2 cos 4> 6 .

vector S' which presents us with one


"edge-on" view of the support signal When <|>

6 = 10.59 we find that
plane. The support signals are thus
viewed as being very nearly in line. It S23 g -893.00
is now clear that the choice of vectors h 3.41
within the support signal plane other than
S' as null vectors results in a rotation $24 g -815.56
of all signals around a line perpendicular h -
(normal) to the support plane and passing
through the origin. When this pattern is s2 5 g -485.7
rotated thusly, the projection aspects of h 3.64
the signals in the e x versus e 2 plane
change greatly. The visualization of this S33 g 40.39
is aided by again referring to figure 9. h 327.08
S 42 g = 65.29
h = 276.72

S 62 g = 171.05 1 00%T
h = 162.23 .

These values of g and h are used to
produce figure 12, and it is observed that
the support signals now have small com-
ponents in the h (ordinate) direction, and
the remaining signals have a practical
orientation having the required phase 4-20%T
angle direction. S

The h signal components are:

$33 h = 327 08

S42 h = 276. 72
s s.

$62 h = 162. 23



S 24 h 3.71
Figure 13. Calculated relative values of
$25 h 3.64 . signals showing discrimination against
tube support signals.

Another way to explain this effect is

to relate it to the theory of the multi-
frequency method. In this example, we
have a four-variable or four-parameter
system. Three variables have been
"eliminated," one for probe wobble and two
for the support. This leaves only one to
be indicated at the output h. Of course,
-800 -600 -400 -200 200 400
other variables not provided for by the
system will also produce deflections in
the ordinate direction.

Figure 12. Output to rotator <|>

6 with null
vector normal to S24. 3.6 Simulated cross-section
display of tubing [3]
These h components are plotted in figure
13 at a larger scale to show the large The multif requency method promises to
amount of discrimination more clearly. make it possible to perform many
The amount of discrimination in this inspections not feasible with a single
example is good. Although the three flaw frequency (one frequency at a time)
signals in figure 12 appear to carry phase system. An example of this is shown in
information, it should be emphasized that figure 14 in which a four-parameter system
when the support signal occurs simultane- was used to discriminate against probe
ously with a flaw signal, the two are wobble signals and to separate inner wall
additive, and the horizontal (g component) and outer wall simulated flaws. Tubing
of the support signal is added to the g radial position signals obtained from a
component of the flaw signal. Phase angle resolver produced a simulated pattern of
information is retained when the flaw the tubing specimen on an X-Y cathode ray
signals appear remote from the location oscilloscope provided with capability of z
of the support. axis modulation. The output of the
four-parameter tubing inspection device
modulated the pattern to show the relative
location and relative severity of flaws
opening on the outer and inner walls.
metal saws or by filing or machining,
Grooves and other irregularities can be
made by machining, A much used method for
producing notches is the electric dis-
charge machining process. Notches mea-
suring a few thousandths of an inch wide
to simulate cracks can be made by this

Drill holes do not represent exactly

the common types of defect found in
metals, but rather serve as convenient
alternates by which the sensitivity and
STEEL 2-'< IN O 0
general performance of the inspection
'* IN. WALL device can be set or measured. It is
HOLES IN OEPTHS difficult to produce holes drilled
partially through the wall from the inside
of a tube. Notches are more costly to
Figure 14. Simulated display of tubing produce, but they can be made on the
cross section. inside of tubing and give a much better
simulation of cracks.

4. Calibration Methods and Standards The nature of the calibration

problem is complex and certainly cannot
The same general principles of cali- be treated adequately in this paper.
bration and use of standard specimens Continuing research is being done in
which apply to the single frequency eddy this area, and much more is needed. The
current technique also apply to multi- development of standards for the eddy
frequency techniques. However, with the current tests have lagged behind that for
more general method there are added com- the other major nondestructive tests.
plications resulting from the greater This must be at least in part caused by
number of degrees of freedom and the the abstract nature of electromagnetics
associated larger number of specimen and the associated problems in inter-
variables processed. preting the wide range of signal effects
observed. These, in turn, are a result
The most highly developed standards of the indirect nature of the eddy current
for eddy current application are conduc- inspection. In many examples, the con-
tivity specimens for calibrating elec- ditions which give rise to signal changes
trical conductivity meters. In these are only indirectly related to material
applications, two standards are sometimes or structural content.
used for each meter scale, one for estab-
lishing a calibration point near the upper The relationships between the cal-
end of the scale, and a second for a point ibration problems for the single frequency
near the lower end of the scale. method and those for the multi frequency
method can be clarified by referring to
Dimensional specimens are usually the section on principles. Let us first
made by the laboratory or manufacturer examine the algebra describing the single
interested in the application. frequency technique. This is exemplified
by eqs. (5) and (6):
An area of increasing interest is
= c
that of standards for tubing inspection. a n Pi + a 12 P2 i ( 5 )

Two conflicting needs are experienced:

= c 2-
(1) the desire to produce effective stan- a 21 Pi + a 22 P2 (6)
dard irregularities which will cause
signals similar to those from specified These are simplified equations based
mill run flaws or to give other specified upon small signal (linear) theory. How-
response, and (2) ease of fabrication. ever, they can be informative even though
they do not describe the behavior of
Drill holes are often used because of large eddy current signals. The co-
the ease of fabrication and reproduc- efficients an, a 12 a 2 i, and a 22 each may

ibility of results. Holes are drilled depend upon all of the inspection
through the wall or partially through the variables. For our present purpose, we
wall. Notches are sometimes made using divide these inspection variables into


two groups. Group A includes the factors areas. Firstly, the number of algebraic
which can remain essentially constant equations (two for the single frequency
during an inspection period, and Group B approach) is increased by two for each new
includes the factors which usually change frequency added. Secondly, the outputs of
during an inspection. the multiplicity of channels are further
processed through additional circuits
Inspection Variables which are called transformation circuits
in this paper. These additional circuits
Group A - Essentially Constant provide an involved mixing of the detector
outputs for producing the desired
Probe assembly excitation separation of signals. The adjustment of
these circuits is done in the calibration
Instrument AC bridge adjustments procedures. The equations applicable here
for the two-frequency system indicate the
Instrument sensitivity increased complexity over that of the
single frequency example are obtained by
Instrument signal phase adjust expansion of eq. (7).

Instrument output channel sensi- a n Pi + a i2 ^2 + a i3 P3 + a i4 P4 = Ci

tivity control
a 21 Pi + a 22 P2 + a 23 P3 + a 24 P4 = ^2
Group B - Usually Expected to Vary
a 31 Pi + a 32 P2 + a 33 P3 + a 34 P4 = ^2
Probe wobble effect
a 41 Pi + a 42 P2 + a 43 P3 + a 44 P4 = C3 .

Effect of test specimen

Electrical conductivity
Again, as in eqs. (6) and (7), Cj...
Magnetic effects (if any) C
n (34) are the various detector
in eqs.
outputs. The next equation relates these
Specimen and coil detector outputs to the final outputs.
temperature changes (if
any) t>n Ci + b 12 C 2 + b 13 C 3 + b 14 C 4 = Pi

Presence of flaws and other b 21 C 1 + b 22 C 2 + b 23 C 3 + b 24 C 4 = P 2

irregularities within the
test specimen. b 31 C x + b 32 C 2 + b 33 C 3 + b 34 C 4 = P 3

Because of our assumptions regarding b 41 C x + b 42 C 2 + b 43 C 3 + b 44 C 4 = P 4

the fixed aspects of the coefficients a.,
in eqs. (6) and (7), we can consider them (35)
to comprise a modulation matrix which
varies during an inspection mainly as a where the primed P quantities indicate

function of the inspection specimen. the final outputs, the estimated values
During a calibration period, the elements of the parameters, and the b xl ...b 44
of this matrix are changed to new values, quantities represent the expansion of the
then being functions of the calibration [A] matrix in eq. (11).
controls such as gain or phase reference
settings. The single frequency inspection Further insight into the effect of
output circuit has either one or two the multi frequency system on calibration
output channels. With two channels, the can be seen graphically by referring to
main calibration effects are changed in figures 10 and 11. The transition from
the gain of either or both channels and a figure 10 to figure 11 is the result of
rotation of the pattern in the C x versus rotating the vector signal pattern in 3-
C 2 display plane. Individual control of space around an axis normal to the sup-
the gain of the C x and C 2 channels cause port signals and passing through the
distortion of the signal pattern. origin. The effect of this rotation is
to greatly change the relative angle sep-
In contrast to the single frequency aration between the three flaw vector
inspection technique the multi frequency signals. In contrast, variations in the
technique is more complicated in two main
reference phase adjustment in the single [6] Halmshaw, R. Potential Developments

frequency system cause just a simple in NDT,The British Journal of Non-

pattern rotations. destructive Testing, 19, [1], 21
(January 1977)

5. Future Possibilities [7] Multi frequency Eddy Current Inspec-

tion for Cracks Under Fasteners,
The future of the multi frequency eddy AFML-TR-76-209, Battelle Columbus
current technique is very promising. It Laboratories, December 1976.
will produce results not possible with the
single frequency method. Multi frequency [8] Advanced Multi frequency Eddy Current
equipment can be made to operate in System for Steam Generator Tubing
several different modes, including single Inspection, Report to Electric Power
frequency modes. In its present stage of Research Institute by Battelle,
development, multi frequency devices are Pacific Northwest Laboratories,
more complicated and more difficult to Richland, WA, 99352 (to be
adjust and operate than single (one at publ ished).
time) frequency instruments. The devel-
opment of automatic calibration means is [9] Libby, H. L. and Wandling, C. R. ,

needed. Transformation (Analyzer) Device

Using Post Detector Signal Pattern
Rotators for Multiparameter Eddy
Current Tester, BNWL-1469, Battelle
The permission of Battelle-Northwest
Northwest, Richland, WA, September
and the Electric Power Research Institute
to use figures 4 through 13 and the basic
data given in table 1 is gratefully
acknowledged. Also acknowledged are the
Di scussion
helpful suggestions of G. J. Posakony,
Manager, Nondestructive Testing, Battelle-
Question (Dr. Birnbaum): I would like to
get back to your comment about nonlinear
effects, even though your talk was not
directed at that. Is there information
there that can be used, for example, to
deliberately try to look at the nonlinear
[1] Mc Master, R. C. ed. Nondestructive , ,
effect as a flaw detection method?
Testing Handbook Vol. II, Ronald ,

Press, New York (1959), Sections 36,

Answer (Mr. Libby): Yes there is. I am
37, and 38.
limited here with the two frequencies, in
this example. But the more frequencies we
[2] Libby, H. L. , U. S. Patent 3,229,198
would include, and using Taylor's approx-
January 1 1 , 1966.
imation, you can say a curve is a sum total
of a lot of segments. So even though you
[3] Libby, H. L. Broadband Electro- ,
have nonlinear effects, if you have enough
magnetic Testing Methods, Part IV,
information from the signal, then you can
Multiparameter Principles, BNWL-953,
work with this. I think it is straight-
Battel le Northwest, Richland, WA,
forward mathematically, All that I have
January 1969.
described here, I have done by hand by
pocket calculator, but this can all be done
[4] Libby, H. L. Multiparameter Eddy ,
using algebra or through the computer. You
Current Concepts, in Research Techni -
can use all of the regression techniques,
ques in Nondestructive Testing R. S. ,
and nonlinear approximations. It is just
Sharpe, ed. Academic Press, London
more difficult to do.
(1970) pp. 345-382.

I have tried the method described with

[5] Libby, H.Introduction to Elec -
L. ,
magnetic materials with just a few frequen-
tromagnetic Nondestructive Test
cies and the results were discouraging.
Methods Wi ley-Interscience, New York
But I think only because I did not have
(1971) .

enough information, enough different fre-

quencies, to describe all of these curves.

Question (Dr. Birnbaum): I was thinking

more, for example, of using two frequencies
Ui and U 2 , and looking at the sum frequency Question (Mr. Blew): On your example,
which is created by a nonlinear inter- there was a scaled amplitude of 200
I . action. millivolts. What is the actual amplitude
of the smallest flaw that you can handle
Answer (Mr. Libby): This is done now. with a signal-to-noise ratio that would
The 60-cycle testing of magnetic materials allow you to detect it accurately?
over the years has made use of these
harmonics, and they are present there. Answer (Mr. Libby): Well, this varies a
lot. It would vary with application.
This is a relationship that can be It depends on the material and the
further explored. I feel this is just a particular test, and the noise level.
start. We have just scratched the
surface. There are all kinds of possi- Question (Mr. Blew): What would you think
bilities and this is where the micro- the practical limitation would be?
processor will help to handle the
greater amount of information that can Answer (Mr. Libby): Well, I do not know
be made available. what the limitation is, actually. We
have worked with flaws a few mils -- in
Question (Mr. Wehrmeister): Was this depth. But now if we are discriminating
system designed specifically for de- against a support on the outer wall, the
tection, or do you receive from it tests are more insensitive to small
information that provides defect anal- signals on the outer wall than in the
ysis in terms of its depth? regular test.

Answer (Mr. Libby): So far, we use Question (Mr. Blew): Would this have
mainly the amplitude of the signal to been in about a mil?
determine the severity of the condition.
If I have several flaw conditions, more Answer (Mr. Libby): I just cannot tell
than is accounted for by the number of you what the limitation would be.
variables that I can handle, then any of
these flaw conditions appearing in- Question (Mr. Blew): With practical
dividually will show up with a phase experience are you getting down into the
angle difference, like the 100, the 80 millivolt region of signal?
and the 20 percent flaws.
Answer (Mr. Libby): Well I think this
Now, that
phase angle difference is just relative as' far as the milli-
will show up on the screen as long as I volts. That depends on how much you are
am translating the coil past those driving the coils, what the instrument
flaws. But now, if I put the support gain is. I had those units on the example

right on top of the flaw> the support to help me in my calculations, so I car-

signal is in the horizontal direction. ried through all those relative amplitudes
from the start, starting with the basic
Consider the flaw signals now. data.
Even if they occur right at that same
point as the support signals it will not Question (Mr. Brown): From the standards
change their vertical contribution at and calibration point of view, is it
all. But, in this case I have used up true to say that you have to have a
all the degrees of freedom I am entitled sample of each of the parameters that
to. I have used one parameter for you are juggling? If there are one or
wobble, two for the support, and I have two things you want to get rid of, you
got one left to read out one additional have to have a sample of them; and if
parameter. there are one or two things you want to
measure out, you have to have a sample
But if I have three parameters, I of them. So, the standard for multipara-
say, there are the 100 percent, the 80 meter testing might very well have
percent, and the 20 percent flaws. There several different kinds of parameters on
is some limitation here. I have to the standards.
throw out the other two. Generally, you
do not have flaws appearing under the Answer (Mr. Libby): And there is this
support, so you can use the angle problem. If you are using a system like
information. But when they occur under the one I described where I am manually
the support, then I can use only the adjusting, the electronics could be
amplitude information.
arranged so that it will aid this Comment (Dr. Mc Master): If I may use the
adjustment. That is something for the board a moment, I want to mention one
future, where the processor, micro- little thing I found that helped me on I

processor would come in. You need to wobble with probe coils and could be used i

present these parameters in fairly rapid here to get that one nasty variable out.
sequence if you are doing it manually, It applies to other coils as well.
because you have several things to
minimize. I have got to go across one, To take a very simple case, our
two, three parameters, and if there is one magnetizing coil might provide a certain
in there that I do not want to minimize, number of ampere turns or magnetizing
then I have to remember that. And I must force or flux density or signal in the
minimize wobble at the same time. Of vertical direction. And if we put in
course you can do the wobble separately. ferromagnetic materials, we will increase
But, in the first generalized adjustment the flux, so that you get a larger
where there are three knobs to adjust, resonance curve.
three or four parameters, then you have
got to wobble the probe at the same time. If,with respect to, say, a probe
You could do the wobbling, and then as you coil and the surface, you have a liftoff,
pass the different parameter signals, S, and if you were to wiggle the probe up
different flaws that you are calibrating and down, say, through a modestly adequate
against, then minimize them that way. In range to be greater than any effects of
some cases, you can do them one at a time, surface displacement, it is possible to
but you have to be careful. arrive at a very interesting situation.
If this represents the 100 percent signal
This is a more costly system, and it in air, in the absence of the test object,
is more complicated to adjust, more com- it is something you can easily calibrate
plicated to operate. But as it becomes an instrument to.
more automated, we can make automatic
cal ibrations. If this is your curve with the
ferromagnetic material present, then this
Question (Mr. Berger): I think you really point also represents a vector of 100
answered the question I was going to percent magnitude. Notice, the phase has
raise. Because your original answer to changed. But you can wiggle from here to
his question implied that you needed a here with negligible change in the overall
physical standard in order to calibrate signal. It sits there at 100 percent all
the distance. I was going to question the time. So all you do is tune the
that. I think you could store in computer oscillator with the ferromagnetic object
memory what the signals would look like. in place such that when you wiggle this up
and down there is no visible effect on
Answer (Mr. Libby): Like the system that your signals, and then read out a
was described; yes, an approach like that frequency of balance, if you will,
could be used. Yet, there are some subtle whatever you want to call it, a frequency
things here. I do not want to over- which restores 100 percent signal, which
simplify it in a few slides like this, but often can be read out rather accurately.
it represents many years of effort. And
there were a lot of difficulties along the I find very frequently when you read
way. out frequency instead of other parameters,
you get about five figures of stable
You must be careful. For example in indication. So I have often thought that
the wobble adjustment, I kind of glossed in cases where wobble is a problem, if you
over that. It was just stated that there took it out at the probe by the selection
is wobble adjustment, which gets rid of of the frequency which is automatically
the wobble. And I said it just like that, self cancelling for liftoff of huge
and it comes out beautifully on the slide. amounts, and then went into what you are
But the output signals, especially the doing, it seems it would be helpful.
phase angles between the final output
signals that I showed for those three Question (Mr. Bugden): If you use two
flaws, are fairly sensitive to the wobble frequencies, is the relationship of the
adjustment, because you are dealing with two frequencies to each other, of great
all these different dimensions. Once you consequence?
adjust for it, then it can hold. But you
do not want to change your mind after you Answer (Mr. Libby): I like to work with
have it calibrated. two to one or three to one, but we have

proved mathematically that as long as you
take different frequencies, no matter how
close together they are, the independence
of information exists. The signal-to-noise
ratio may or may not improve depending on
the choice or frequencies. No matter how
close together you get these frequencies,
theoretically, there is some difference,
but when the skin effect becomes more
equivalent for the different frequencies,
you have less difference in signals to
work with.

Question (Mr. Bugden): Do you choose the

frequencies for convenience?

Answer (Mr. Libby): Yes.

Question (Mr. Mester): Have you deter-

mined the amount of liftoff that you can
compensate for?

Answer (Mr. Libby): I do not have an

exact figure, but it will compensate for a
rather large amount.

Question (Mr. Mester): Has this work been

confined to ID coils or have you worked
with surface coils?

Answer (Mr. Libby): Well, I have used

surface coils for conductivity variation,
and variation in thickness, conductivity
being one variable, thickness the other.
We have used encircling coils, and small
probe coils. I said it was not good for
magnetic materials, but if, for example,
you have magnetic inclusions, just below
the surface of the material, it is very
good for detecting that; it eliminates the
wobble effects and some other variables
and detects the magnetic inclusions. Or,
if you wanted to cancel that out, and read
some flaw signals that occur near it, this
could be done. But this is when you have
a small amount of magnetic material.

Question (Mr. Mester): Is this system

described in a document that is available?

Answer (Mr. Libby): Yes, and there are

references in it to some of the previous
work. There is also a reference to a new
report that will be made available to the
public through EPRI, which includes this
work, plus additional information, but
that has not been issued yet.


National Bureau of Standards Special Publication 589. Proceedings of the Workshop on Eddy
Current Nondestructive Testing held at NBS, Gaithersburg MD, November 3-4, 1977
, Issued
January 1981.



D. L. Waidelich
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65201

1. Introduction
A block diagram of a typical system
is shown in figure 1. The first systems
The pulsed eddy current system has
employed had a pulse generator driving a
been used for the nondestructive evalua-
probe coil which launched the electro-
tion of materials since the early 1950' s. magnetic waves in the specimen of the
Some of its advantages are much less metal to be tested. The pickup coil re-
thermal drift and much greater resolution sponded to the waves issuing from the
than for systems using continuous sinu-
metal and containing the information con-
soidal waves. A typical system is de-
cerning the defects in the metal and the
scribed and some of the waveforms are properties of the metal. The output of
presented. Also, it is shown that the
the pickup coil was observed on an oscil-
problem of lift-off may be overcome by loscope. Later, the output was filtered
employing the idea of crossing points.
in various ways, and an electronic gate
An equation involving the pulse length,
was used to pick out a particular portion
the material constants and the depth of or portions of the output wave for re-
penetration is developed. Some results
cording. Recording may be done as a con-
obtained when testing non-metallic mate- tinuous trace on paper or as a digital
rials are given and also some recent readout printed periodically. The output
experiments with thick metallic slabs are could also be entered into a computer for
discussed. Finally, various problems are
further processing, such as digital fil-
presented and some suggestions are made. tering, the employment of a decision pro-
cess, or an adaptive method involving
2. Previous Work Various forms of alarms or
marking devices could also be actuated.
Much of the early work on the pulsed
eddy current method was summarized in a
recent reference [l] 1 . In the early
1950' s, eddy current systems used single PULSE DRIVEN
frequency sinusoidal sources, and the
subsequent heating of the probe coils led
to thermal drifting which, in turn,
caused errors in locating defects. It
was decided to use a pulse generator to OSCILLOSCOPE COIL
drive the probe coil, and the thermal
problem disappeared immediately. There
was a new problem, however, in trying to FILTER
interpret the results as viewed on the RECORDER
screen of a cathode-ray oscilloscope. It
was found quickly that the defects near
the surface of the metal would show up in
the first part or head end of the pulse,
while those deeper in the metal would Figure 1. Pulsed eddy-current system.
affect the tail of the pulse.

figures in brackets indicate the literature references at the end of this paper.


The most usual circuit supplying

energy to the driven probe consists of a
capacitor D which is charged slowly
through a resistor R from a dc power
supply as shown in figure 2. The capaci-
tor is then discharged suddenly by a

0 c

Figure 2. Circuit supplying the driven

Figure 4. The voltage across the pickup
silicon-controlled rectifier (SCR) or a coil
thyratron through the driven probe coil.
The pulse waveform is very nearly a half- curve and finally an exponentially decay-
wave sinusoidal loop as shown in figure ing voltage. Defects and changes in the
3, and the length of the pulse is deter- material properties change the shape of
mined primarily by the quantity -/EC where the voltage from the pickup coil. These
changes carry the information about the
defect or the material property, and this
information may be abstracted by the
proper method.

One of the problems is the effect

of "lift-off." This may be overcome by
employing the idea [2] of the "crossing
point." If the pickup is placed directly
upon a metal specimen, part of the pickup
coil voltage of figure 4 is shown as the
curve AA' of figure 5. As the coil is

Figure 3. The current through the driven


L the inductance of the driven probe

coil and C is the capacitance of the
capacitor. The pulse shown is about two
microseconds long and has a peak value of
approximately 12 amperes. There is a
little tail to the pulse which is caused
by the deionization of the discharge de-
vice. The shape of the current pulse is
not very important because the metal acts
as a low pass filter. Consequently, the
higher harmonics contained in a rectangu- Figure 5. Crossing point.
lar pulse, for example, will be attenu-
ated rapidly and the result in the pickup moved away or lifted from the metal sur-
coil will be nearly the same as if the face, the trace of the pickup coil volt-
1 1

driving pulse were a half-wave sinusoidal age successively moves from AA to BB ,

then to CC, and finally to DD


loop. The .

crossing point 0, however, is not affect-

The pickup coil voltage is shown in ed by lift-off, and so if the pickup coil
figure 4. Note that there is an initial voltage is sampled electronically at the
jump in voltage, then a sinusoidal shaped crossing point 0, the output of the
sampler will be completely independent of


lift-off. The position of the point 0 the field is detected on the surface of
will depend upon the presence of a defect the steel by the small magnetic probe
or upon the properties of the metal spec- coils. The presence of a defect in the
imen, so its motion may be used to locate steel is indicated by aberrations that
a defect or to determine metal properties occur in the detected field. Some work
without worrying about the effects of has also been done in detecting defects
lift-off. in composites such as those made of
3. Recent Work
One important relationship in pulse
work is that between the length in time
of the pulse, the constants of the mater-
ials being tested, and the depth of pene-
tration of the electromagnetic waves into METAL -VN CRACK
the materials. In the Appendix, it is
demonstrated that PICKUP

T = au D (1)
Figure 6. System employed for ferrous
where T = length in seconds of the pulse;
a = electrical conductivity of the mater- 4. Questions and Suggestions
ial in mhos per meter; u = magnetic per-
meability of the material in henries per It appears as if further knowledge
meter; and D = depth of penetration into is needed in the direction of what are
the material in meters. In some recent the limits as to the thickness of mater-
work in aluminum and using pulses about a ials that may be traversed by the electro-
millisecond long, this equation has been magnetic waves. Equation (1) may be modi-
found to be useful in predicting the fied by the state of the art, for example,
depth of penetration. by the sensitivity of the detectors avail-
able and, undoubtedly, by the noise pre-
Some work on testing poor electrical sent. The question also arises, does
conductors, such as plastics, indicated this equation or a similar one apply to
that the above magnetic probes were not poor conductors, .semi-conductors, and
very successful. The material seemed to insulating material? There is another
have relatively little effect upon the problem that occurs when defects are de-
magnetic flux lines emanating from the tected from one side of a material as
probes. It was thought that this type of compared to through-transmi ssions , and
material might react more on the electric this seems to indicate that the C of the
flux lines, so capacitive probes were Appendix should be greatly reduced when
fashioned and simulated defects in plas- through-transmission is employed. There
tic materials were detected by the use of is also a considerable amount of work
pulsed waves launched by the capacitive that should be done on the probes em-
probes [3]. Accidently, it was found that ployed. Two problems especially would be
these probes were also extremely sensi- important in this direction. The first
tive in picking up and locating bits of would be the development of better probes
metal in the plastics. for the poorer conductors and better insu-
lators, and the second would be the inves-
Lately, experiments have been made tigation of the masks or shields for use
aimed at transmitting the waves through with longer pulses to provide better
an inch or more of aluminum and in detect- resolution. Further work is needed in
ing defects in a second metal layer the use of electronic gates, amplifiers,
through about a quarter inch of aluminum. and the devices that record the informa-
Also defects in steel have been detected tion. Also methods of decreasing the
through a quarter inch of metal by using noise are needed, and these would include
the set-up shown in figure 6. The mag- correlation methods and all types of fil-
netic field is generated in the steel by tering. A number of theoretical studies
using a coil wound on the elongated C- would help greatly in understanding the
laminations. When the current in the processes and in determining optimum
coil is cut off, the field collapses, and operation of the equipment.


References introduced in (A-3). For example, it has

been found in nonmagnetic stainless steel
[1] Waidelich, D. L. Pulsed Eddy Cur-
, that pulses 2 microseconds long may be
rents in Research Techniques in employed to reach depths of 40 mils (1
Nondestructive Testing R. S. Sharpe,
, millimeter) in the steel. Now if a =
ecT (Academic Press, London, 1970), 1.1 x 10" 6 mhos per meter and p =
pp. 383-416. 4n x 10" 7 henries per meter, then C =
1.447. The actual pulse length is not
[2] Waidelich, D. L. and Huang, S. C. ,
at all critical, so for most work C is
The Use of Crossing Points in Pulsed put equal to unity in (A-3). The actual
Eddy Current Testing, Materials value of C depends somewhat on the state
Evaluation, 30, 20-24 (January 1972). of the art in that if more sensitive de-
tectors are employed, D would increase
[3] Decker, W. A. and Waidelich, D. L. for a given T, and thus C would have to
Nondestructive Testing Using an be decreased. Also, the effect of the
Electric Field Probe, in Proceedings noise present would change C. The above
of the Seventh International Confer - value of C was obtained in detecting de-
ence on Nondestructive Testing ,
fects from one side of the material. If
Warsaw, Poland, June 1-8, 1973, through-transmission is employed, it
Paper D-02. appears from some tests as if the value
of C should be reduced to about 0.05.

Assume that the surface of the mater-
ial is the x-y plane and the positive z- Question (Mr. Wehrmeister): In pulse
axis extends into the material. The eddy current work, what are the effects
conductivity of the material is a mhos from acoustic energy generation in the
per meter and the magnetic permeability transmission of the pulse? Are some of
is u henries per meter. The vector Helm- the time delays that you refer to the
holtz equation for the magnetic field acoustic energy being transferred to your
intensity H is assumed independent of x pickup coil, as opposed to the electro-
and y. In addition, the Laplace trans- magnetic energy being transferred to the
form is employed to introduce the complex pickup coil, especially in magnetic
variable s in place of the t in seconds. material?

Then Answer (Mr. Waidelich): In all tests,

there was no actual contact with the ma-
terial, so it would be rather difficult
to get very much acoustic ultrasonic type
^-4 = ausH (A-l)
transmission across the air between the
pickup coil and the material itself. Un-
doubtedly, there is some motion in the
specimen, the metal specimen itself. But
and the solution is
I have seen relatively little effect that
can be noticed.
H = (Ho/s)e~ ^ (A-2)
Question (Mr. Blew): In your work, when
there was a conducting film in the air or
when there were films on a conducting
where Ho is the initial magnetic field
base metal, what would be the minimum
intensity at the surface (z = o) of the
thickness that could be resolved, and
material. Now the exponent of (A-2) must
how close were the respective conductivi-
be dimensionless and since s has the
ties to each other?
dimension of the reciprocal of the time T
Answer (Mr. Waidelich): The example, if
2 I remember, was zirconium on uranium. I
T = Cap D (A-3)
do not remember the conductivities too
well, but both are relatively poor conduc-
tors. The closer the conductivities
where the depth D is used in place of Z,
become, the more difficulty you have in
and C is a dimensionless constant. To
separating them.
determine the approximate value of C,
known values of T, a, u, and D may be

Question (Mr. Blew): And what were the Question (Mr. Mester): You mentioned a
relative thicknesses? thermal problem.

Answer (Mr. Waidelich): The thickness of Answer (Mr. Wadelich): The heating that
the cladding was about 30 mils, something exists when using sinusoidal currents
of that order. causes a lot of drift. The drift caused
difficulty in getting everything nulled
Question (Mr. Blew): And the base? out. But, for one pulse the thermal
effect is relatively small. You can put a
Answer (Mr. Waidelich): The base was large current in this one pulse and get
quite thick. I would say easily a quarter quite a strong response. The only trouble
inch. in doing this is the problem of trying to
pick up the information afterwards. You
Question (Mr. Mester): In the example do not have the advantage of using all
where you have a quarter inch of steel as the sinusoidal methods.
the limitation of what you have penetra-
ted, was DC saturation used during the

Answer (Mr. Waidelich): No, we had not

used that in that particular example. We
were going to do that in one of the
future experiments.

Question (Mr. Mester): What power levels

are involved with your inputs to your
driven coil?

Answer (Mr. Waidelich): We were using

approximately a 100 volt pulse. I cannot
tell you what the current was. We did
not measure the current.

Question (Dr. McMaster): How big were

the capacitors?

Answer (Mr. Waidelich): We used a number

of sizes. That is something like .01,
.05, .
1 , .5 uF.

Question (Mr. Bugden): Is there any par-

ticular ratio between the duration of the
pulse and the whole cycle that you find

Answer (Mr. Wadelich): It depends on how

thick a metal is tested. The electromag-
netic waves penetrate and are reflected
from the back surface. The deeper a
metal, the more time it takes for this
process to occur. This is indicated in
this equation to some extent. If you put
a particular pulse into a thick metal,
oftentimes the information you are looking
for comes a long distance after the input
pulse is stopped. You might find that you
get something like this in your pickup
coil --that is, a long tail. This tail
can be quite long. The surface informa-
tion is prior to this, and the deep infor-
mation is way down here some place.


National Bureau of Standards Special Publication 589. Proceedings of the Workshop on Eddy
Current Nondestructive Testing held at NBS, Gaithersburg, MD, November 3-4, 1977. Issued
January 1981



E. E. Weismantel
Quality Measurement Systems
The Aircraft Engine Group
General Electric Company
Cincinnati, OH 45215

1. Introduction 2. Current Trends

The use of eddy current techniques It has only been in the last five to
for the nondestructive interrogation of ten years that advances in the process
materials is not a new consideration technology itself, coupled with the
since the process has been in use to some availability of a new generation of
degree for this purpose since the Second electronic equipment concepts, has mar-
World War. As with any advancing tech- kedly broadened the potential of the
nology, the increased application of the process.
process results in a firmer definition of
its best uses as well as its limitations. This recently available equipment
The basic process itself offers a very allows the use of the impedance plane for
high sensitivity for finding small mate- the analysis of eddy current signal
rial flaws in the near surface region. response. A typical impedance plane
However, because the process is very presentation is illustrated in figure 1.
sensitive, it also responds to other non- This illustration shows the position of
flaw type conditions that may exist various materials on the impedance plane
during the normal application of the relative to their reactance and resis-
process. Typical major influences are: tance effects on the' coil. Differences
localized changes in conductivity due to in the electrical conductivities between
alloy segregation, thermal effects, materials are illustrated on the result-
or residual strain patterns within the ing plots. The occurrence of flaws
material, as well as factors that would within an alloy generally results in a
also affect the reactance of the system small change along this curve. Coil -to-
such as coil to metal intimacy, part material spacing on the other hand,
configuration, etc. Such factors have assumes a vector direction as shown
perhaps inhibited the broad application toward the "Air" termination point on the
of the process more than anything else conductivity curve. Thus, with the use
since, except for specific applications of the impedance plane, one gains the
where the effect of these other influ- ability to observe whether the coil's
ences could be minimized or where the reaction is due to a change in conduc-
flaws being sought were large enough as tivity or due to coil to material spac-
to override the effects of these other ing, probe wobble, etc.
factors, the eddy current process some-
times developed suspicions as to its A typical commercial instrument is
reliability. The early uses of the shown in the next illustration, figure 2.
process were further hampered by the This instrument has an added feature in
characteristics of the early instru- the rotational knob shown on the upper
mentation that was available for its left hand portion of its front panel.
application since the meter display of This control provides a control over the
this vintage integrated the effect of all display which allows the rotation of the
of these influences into a single meter impedance plane so that the lift-off
readout. effect, for example, can be made to occur
in a specific coordinate direction.
Without the rotation feature, effective
use of the impedance plane relies on the
observational skills and attenti veness of

the output along the conductivity curve

1000 consists of both horizontal and vertical
movement. This is diagrammatical ly shown
900 in figure 3. If a two channel recorder
such as that shown in figure 4 is adapted
800 .OlO"" to the recording of output data from the
rotated impedance plane, the one channel
700 can be arranged to contain the vertical
movement along the conductivity curve
while the second channel contains a com-
posite of the movement in the lift-off
\.006, '>
NON-MAGNETIC MATERIALS direction and the horizontal movement as-
500 .006" sociated with conductivity change effects.
A typical presentation of this is shown in
100 figure 5.


300 100 500 600 700 800 900
Figure 1. Impedance Plane.




Figure 3. Representation of typical lift-

off and conductivity change response on
the rotated impedance plane - lift-off

Figure 2. Typical commercially available

eddy current instrumentation.

the operator since both the lift-off

vector and the conductivity effects
contain both vertical and horizontal
components, and the plotting of horizontal
and vertical output data on normal
recording instrumentation would be of
little value for most applications.
However, the rotational feature of present
day instrumentation becomes of significant
importance to the process. With this
feature, the vector representing lift-off
conditions can be brought to react in an Figure 4. Dual chart recorder used for
almost entirely horizontal direction while data gathering.






0.006" DIAMETER x 0.080" LONG HOLES - 0.003"



Figure 5. Illustration of typical record-

ed eddy current response. FOUR EDM NOTCHES - 0.020" x 0.010"

3. Other Application Influences

Figure 6. Illustration of typical eddy
Thus we have done little more
far, current response on turbine blade edges
than to manipulate the impedance plane, without signal processing.
but from these illustrations the ease with
which we can derive more meaningful data 4. Overcoming Geometry and
from the eddy current response should be Conductivity Effects
evident. Unfortunately, to this point, we
have been using idealized illustrations to Sometime back when General Electric
show the significance of recent advances first undertook the task of applying eddy
in eddy current instrumentation and appli- current inspection in the production en-
cation methods with regard to the poten- vironment, we recognized that the vari-
tial of the process. In facing real world abilities we have discussed thus far might
situations, even though these advances are affect the reliable use of the process,
certainly significant, a number of other and we, in fact, delayed the use of eddy
factors are encountered that further cloud current inspection by production operators
the interpretation of signal response re- until a more interpretable condition could
sulting from the use of the process. Fig- be established. With the cooperation of
ure 6 shows a strip chart recording of the the equipment vendor, we evolved into the
typical eddy current response observed in use of signal processing as a useful tool
the inspection of turbine blade edges to further enhance implementation of the
using all of the innovations we have dis- process. Naturally, the first use of sig-
cussed to date. Certainly, even though a nal processing involved a black box which
flaw signal is evident on this recording, is illustrated in figure 7. This addition
the chance for operator misinterpretation to the normal eddy current inspection
remains high due to the confusing response equipment already described yielded a dra-
associated with the blade edge inspection. matic increase in the interpretability of
The changes evident during this inspection the eddy current signal as is evidenced in
occur due to changes in electrical con- figure 8. The upper portion of this il-
ductivity along the cast airfoil as lustration shows the signal response nor-
well as changes in geometric configuration mally resulting from an airfoil blade edge
from platform to tip. The eddy current containing known flaws. Although the re-
process is sensitive to both of these ef- sponse of the flaws is evident to a train-
fects as the recording shows. ed operator for most of the airfoil, cer-
tainly as flaw size and thus the response
gets smaller, the chance for a miss on the
part of the operator increases. The lower
portion of this diagram shows the inspec-
tion of the same airfoil edge using the
processed signal. Clearly, the effects of current inspection of a series of grooved
conductivity and geometry changes have
blocks representative of a fillet con-
been all but eliminated, the flaw response dition. Three different alloys were used
originates from a constant baseline, al- in the experiment. Each groove contained
lowing a better judge of relative signal up to three fatigue cracks in a size range
amplitude, and the signals resulting from varying from 0.010 to 0.250 inches. A
flaws are clearly evident. total of 131 cracks was used in the eval-
uation. The result of this study is pre-
sented in figure 9. The superior flaw
detection capability of the process seems
to have been unaffected by the signal pro-
cessing used for these tests. In fact, in
the small crack size end of the curve, the
detection efficiency of the process seems
to have been improved probably due to en-
hanced operator interpretabil ity. With
this background, we introduced the use of
processed eddy current signals to the pro-
duction inspection of blade edges more
than a year ago. Increased benefits of
further signal processing developments
appear to be obtainable.



Figure 7. Signal processor used with eddy

current instrumentation.


H0H-PR0CESSED SIGNAL Figure 9. Relative improvement in flaw

detection performance resulting from
signal processing.

PMXESSED SIGNAL Until now we have discussed things

that have already happened specifically
with regard to signal processing. These
improvements have resulted in the ability
Figure 8. Direct comparison of processed to get some intelligence out of the eddy
vs. non-processed eddy current signal. current inspection data and have opened
the way for the further adapting of the
This very elementary approach to sig- process to the use of the computer for the
nal processing consisted only of the re- further advancement of application tech-
moving of the gradually changing responses nology. Typically, today's inspection of
due to geometry and conductivity while cast airfoils uses a varying accept/reject
allowing the more discrete and abrupt level depending upon where along the air-
changes due to flaw conditions to remain. foil a response must be considered. The
Because we were concerned that these at- most critical portion near the airfoil
tempts to improve operator interpret- fillet allows a maximum response amplitude
abil ity might degrade the very excellent of 10 percent as shown in figure 10.
flaw detection capability of the eddy cur- Higher allowable amplitudes exist as one
rent process, a statistically designed goes outward from the platform due to the
experiment was undertaken to assess the lower stresses and lesser critical ity in
detection efficiency of the process both these areas. Currently, effort is under-
with and without the use of signal pro- way on a semi -automated inspection system
cessing. The test consisted of the eddy which uses microprocessors to control the

movement of the inspection probes as well process. Even though current efforts to
as the acceptability of the signal re- extend the technology should and will con-
sponse observed along the airfoil edges tinue, it is only through the enhancement
relative to the probe's position at the of our theoretical understanding of the
time the response is observed. Many other process that the value of multif requency
possibilities exist for the application of testing and other advanced methods can
further signal-processing techniques to really reach their full potential.
the process as we move to the future, but
one major unknown feature must yet be
recognized. 6. Summary

1. The introduction of the impedance

plane to practical use has opened
many avenues for improving the
interpretation of eddy current signal

2. The rotation of the impedance plane

to differentiate the characteristics
of the response further enhances the
application of the process.

3. Signal processing methods can be

applied to improve the interpret-
ability of the response.

4. With these accomplishments, the use

of eddy current inspection can be
tied to microprocessors and computer

5. Although marked advancements have

been made in the application of the
process much theoretical work remains
to be done to gain its full value and

Figure 10. Inspection criteria for typi- Discussion

cal turbine blade edge.
Question (Mr. Judd): The signal pro-
5. Looking Into the Future cessing device that was shown on one of
your slides, is this commercially avail-
Certainly the use and value of eddy able?
current technology has increased markedly
in the recent past. However, as we look Answer (Mr. Weismantel): I expect it
into the future we must recognize how much probably is commercially available today.
more we have to know if we are to use sig- It was developed on this program with the
nal processing of eddy current responses cooperation of the equipment manufacturer.
to its fullest advantages. Currently, the He has a unique advantage in the fact that
application of the process is guided by a it is applicable to his equipment but not
few basic laws of physics and electronics to some of his competitors' equipment
supported by an amount of empirical deri- without going into the internals of the
vations and technical logic. Few of these competitors' equipment.
really define the conditions we experience
in the testing of the complex metallurgical Question (Mr. Judd): Is this device es-
alloys which forms our every day work and sentially a wave shaper?
to which the process is to be applied.
Therefore, we have to work towards the Answer (Mr. Weismantel): I did not fully
development of a theoretical understanding describe the total application of the
of the process used in these situations signal processor. It has several dif-
supported by computer modeling to help ferent functions. The one that I was
predict the needs and performance of the describing involved the filtering out of
lower frequency occurrences that are Question (Mr. Lagin): The signals that
associated with geometry and with chem- you showed, were typical signals that I
istry changes. These occur rather grad- would see on a strip chart recording.
ually, whereas a flaw response is a very You say they were on an oscilloscope?
sharp occurrence. And, that is about the
most simple approach that you can take to Answer (Mr. Weismantel): Those were
signal processing. The processor also strip chart recordings. But, that was
removes electrical noise from the signal because the signal had already been
as well as performing a number of other processed and had been leveled out.
Comment (Mr. Lagin): As the strip chart
Question (Mr. Lagin): Did you try any recording is progressing in time, you
pattern recognition schemes for detection obtain a very sharp signal over a small
of dings, cracks, or grooves? amount of time on a defect. For a
groove, it would be a slower type signal
Answer (Mr. Weismantel): Yes, although we and you could perform image processing
are not applying these. Again, it is a techniques on a signal like that.
situation where the people in the lab-
oratory have developed some proficiency, Answer (Mr. Weismantel): Yes. I am not
and are trying to transmit some of that saying you cannot do that. The problem
knowledge to people who might not be as you have is that the response from some
flexible as the laboratory people. We are flaws can resemble the response of a
moving in that direction, and it seems to groove or notch or ding, except that they
be entirely possible, although what I say might move in one direction or the other
has not really been totally proven. as far as their first movement is con-
cerned. Not all responses start out in a
Question (Mr. Lagin): The signal which positive direction, but the motion seems
you actually process, is it like a signal to be related to the character of what
off a strip chart recorder? you are encountering.

Answer (Mr. Weismantel): No. It is the Question (Mr. Houserman): The graphs you
signal sensed by the probe that is passed presented on detectabi 1 ity, were the
through the flaw detector and then pro- statistics gathered from a production
cessed before it goes to both the os- type operation?
cilloscope and the strip chart recorder.
Answer (Mr. Weismantel): Yes.
Question (Mr. Lagin): But, it is quite
possible to use the signal processing Question (Mr. Houserman): With the
scheme on a signal in the recorder? people that typically do the measurement?

Answer (Mr. Weismantel): Yes. I do not Answer (Mr. Weismantel): Yes.

think you have as big an advantage in
doing that, but yes, you could do that. Question (Mr. Houserman): Secondly,
We also have a switch which allows the would the data show that with signal
signal processor to be switched in and out processing you are getting more false
of the system. This is especially alarms?
valuable if you are doing any analysis
work where the operator can still use the Answer (Mr. Weismantel): No, actually we
oscilloscope to a large advantage. are getting less. We delayed the intro-
duction of the process to production
The production system we have, until we had the signal processor, be-
incidentally, inspects two blade edges at cause during the time we were initially
a time. Both the leading and trailing looking at this problem, we recognized
blade edges are tested simultaneously. It the very high rate of false encounters
really has two parallel systems, two that we were having. At one time without
signal processors, two flaw detectors, but the signal processor, false signal alarms
it only has one CRT since the CRT is were encountered on approximately 10
needed only for setup and for problem percent of the parts processed. With the
analysis. I do not know what advantage signal processor it is about 1 percent,
you would have in trying to process the and we think we have a better product.
signal after it came out of the flaw
detector and oscilloscope but before going Question (Mr. Denton): Looking at the
into the strip chart. data on this strip chart, it appears your

signal processor is really a resistor and
capacitor differentiator. Is that true?

Answer (Mr. Weismantel): Not entirely.

Question (Mr. Brown): The curve that you

showed flattened off on the right side.
Did you increase the size of the crack?
If your crack was several inches longer,
a foot longer, does it drop off?

Answer (Mr. Weismantel): Not that I know

of. But, since we have not had any
cracks that are that long, I do not have
data to show that.


National Bureau of Standards Special Publication 589. Proceedings of the Workshop on Eddy
Current Nondestructive Testing held at NBS, Gaithersburg, MD, November 3-4, 1977. Issued
January 1 981


Art Jones
Boeing Aerospace Company
Seattle, WA 98124

1. General

The need to verify the accuracy of Figure 2 shows the chain of traceability
to NBS from dimensional, resistance,
eddy current meter readings which are used
to determine the physical characteristics
and temperature standards.
of non-ferrous alloys by measuring their
electrical conductivity is fully accepted
by industry, both manufacturers and users.
The eddy current meters, therefore, must
be accuracy certified by means of NBS 1
traceable conductivity standards for the
readings to be both reliable and repeat-
able. Figure 1 shows a typical graph of
tensile strength vs. %IACS (conductivity)
for aluminum. To calibrate and accurately


Figure 2.

29.5 30.0 30.5 31.0 31.5 32.0 2. Definition of %IACS


general relation between tensile strength and eddy

The accepted definition of commer-
Fi qure 1
CURRENT CONDUCTIVITY MEASUREMENTS OF 2024-T4 ALUMINUM cially pure copper as stated in NBS Copper
Wire Tables #31 is: a copper rod, one
certify these eddy current meters, some-
meter long having a uniform cross-section
times called conductivity meters, the
of one sq. mm and a resistance of 1/58 ohm
Boeing Company embarked upon a research
at 20 C is 100 percent International
and development program in 1966 to produce
Annealed Copper Standard, or 100 %IACS.
their own NBS traceable non-ferrous con-
Using this as a reference then, all other
ductivity standards, since none were com-
nonferrous metals can have their conduc-
mercially available at that time. Also,
tivities determined relative to the hypo-
NBS was engaged in providing only commer-
thetical 100 %IACS value. By using the
cial copper conductivity standards at that
time so it was necessary for Boeing to
obtain indirect traceability by means of
dimensional, resistance, and temperature
= RA
standards. All of these NBS traceable L
standards were available at the Boeing Me-
trology Laboratory (BML) in Seattle, WA. where: p volume resistivity, in ohm
cm 2 per cm,

The National Bureau of Standards, U.S. Department of Commerce.

R = resistance in ohms at 20 C figure 3 for a typical indirect reading

of a particular length of type eddy current meter. Traceability to
uniformly dimensioned non-
ferrous metal

A = the cross-sectional area in

square centimeters, and

L = the length being measured,

for the resistance R, in

we can solve for volume resistivity. Con-

verting the area and length to microhm
centimeters, and using the definition for
100 %IACS above, we get,

172.41 (a constant)
Figure 3. Indirect reading type eddy
%IACS current meter.
unk volume resistivity (in micro-
ohm centimeters)
NBS or any other primary standard was not
This is the general equation for finding available at this time. Direct reading
the relative conductivity in %IACS for all eddy current meters were employed later on
non-ferrous metals from their dimensions (except on "B nuts") when conductivity
and resistance at 20 C. standards covering the %IACS span of
interest, usually aluminum, were made
available. Calibration of these meters
3. Historical with only "end of scale" conductivity
standards can result in large mid-scale
The first use of an A-C probe coil errors. The two standards usually pro-
method to measure the electrical conduc- vided on direct reading eddy current
tivity of non-ferrous metals was made in meters claim neither accuracy nor trace-
1939 by German industry. Subsequent im- ability. See figure 4 for a direct read-
provements in lift-off and sensitivity ing type eddy current meter and a set of
increased both repeatability and accuracy
so that the eddy current meter finally
came into its own as an important non-
destructive testing tool in the early

1960 s .The sorting of known non-ferrous

alloys, mostly aluminum, and the verifica-
tion of their proper heat treatment was
now possible with speed and with moderate
accuracy. Unknown alloys might have to be
verified by spectroscopic means because of
the overlap in conductivity values be-
tween heat-treated alloys of one composi-
tion and nonheat- treated alloys of a
- OB J ,

different composition. Once the alloy was

properly identified, eddy current testing
could take over the task of determining
the correctness of heat treatment.
Figure 4. Direct reading type eddy
Boeing first used eddy current meters current meter.
for crack detection in the late 1950' s.
However, it was not until heat-treat secondary conductivity standards. In late
identification of special alloy hydraulic 1974, I received a letter from Hawker-
Si ddeley Aviation Ltd. of England indicat-
fittings, called "B nuts", was urgently
required in 1962 because of stress corro- ing a 2 percent IACS difference between
sion problems that we began to use eddy U.S. and French Aerospatiale standards of
current meters for heat-treat identifi- conductivity. On the national scene, I
cation of aluminum alloys. One such meter have witnessed differences of nearly 1
was a Magnaflux ED-500 which required the percent IACS between Boeing secondary
use of curves for conductivity values. See standards and those of other U.S. manu-
facturers. Both of these types of discrep- current and potential clamps, was made
ancies are intolerable because of the pos- with an estimated accuracy of about 2
sibility of allowing improperly heat percent of reading at the normal lab tem-
treated metals to be used in aircraft perature of 23 C 1. Dimensional area
structures with the possibility of dan- measurements and the spacing between the
gerous or fatal consequences. Figure 5 inner potential clamps were made by the
shows three sets of Boeing non-ferrous Physical-Mechanical Section of BML A
conductivity standards in carrying cases laser interferometer was used for mea-
for 2,3, or 8 standards. suring the distance between the two inner
clamp marks. The indeterminate position
of these marks is why the accuracy was
relatively poor. Later, length measure-
ments made were far more accurate and used
a laser to measure the distance between
two very thin scratch marks on a soft
aluminum bar. All later dimensional
measurements were made at 20 C 0.5 C.
Figure 6 shows the method used for
thickness measurement, and figure 7 shows
the laser interferometer method for
determining the effective length.

Figure 5. Three sets of Boeing non-

ferrous secondary conductivity

4. Initial Standards Requirements

The need to make rapid non-destruc-

tive tests on incoming non-ferrous
material has become increasingly important
because incorrectly heat-treated alloys
can fail in service and have even been
suspect in some collapsed aircraft nose Figure 6. Thickness measurement.
wheel accidents in the late 1950' s. In
order to insure the accuracy necessary to
properly categorize both the raw stock and
finished material, BML was assigned the
task of producing accurate non-ferrous
conductivity standards which had
traceability to NBS.

5. Preliminary Steps

The first involvement with eddy

current conductivity standards at Boeing
Metrology Labs came in 1966, when
personnel of the Boeing Airplane Division
(now the Boeing Commercial Airplane Com-
pany) brought some 1 in x 44 in x 1/8 in
aluminum bars of various alloys to the Figure 7. Laser interferometer length
primary standards laboratory to be mea- measurement.
sured. These bars were produced as a
result of the requirements of the The resistance measurement was made
MIL-A-22771B government specifications on using an L&N six dial double ratio set, an
aluminum forgings. A somewhat crude adjustable reversible, direct current
measurement, using L&N List No. 4308 source, a sensitive null detector and any
one of three NBS traceable shunts: 0.01, 6. Primary Standard Bars
0.001, or 0.0001 ohm as required. Figure
8 shows these shunts in their oil bath. A To provide the required accuracy for
separate, stirred, temperature-controlled working standards of conductivity, it was
shunt oil bath, a double ratio set, and a first necessary to fabricate and certify
specially designed primary standards primary bars from the best possible
conductivity bar oil bath were used for commercially available materials using
resistance measurement. The latter oil both known and newly developed techniques.
bath was developed at a later date Copper, aluminum, bronze and titanium
(approximately 1967) as part of the sheet stock 0.25 in thick approximately
2.0 in wide and 60 in long was cut and
careful ly fabricated using as reference

Figure 8. Precision shunts in stirred oil

bath with 6 dial double ratio set. Figure 10. Current and potential
connection details.
overall research and development
program to produce traceable primary the ASTM Description B193 method for
standards reference conductivity bars. volume resistivity. This is an absolute
Figure 9 shows the conductivity bar method utilizing dimensions, resistance,
and temperature for determining volume
resistivity. Figure 11 shows 18 of the 19
primary standards conductivity bars in the
shallow transfer oil bath. The lid is
removed to show the bars in place. This
bath is used for 100 kHz calibration of
secondary standards which is described
later on in this paper.

Figure 9. D-C primary bar calibration

facility oil bath.

DC calibration fixture on a rack above its

oil bath, ready for a primary bar to be
inserted in place. Figure 10 shows
current and potential connection details Figure 11. Primary standards conductivity
with a primary bar in normal position. bars in shallow oil bath.

7. Primary Conductivity Bar Stability The following table 1 shows the
changes in the dimensional and electrical
When the eight primary conductivity values of the original eight primary bars
bars were constructed in 1966, it was and the change in the individual certified
envisioned at that time that there could values over an eight year period from 1967
be small but perhaps significant to 1975. The %IACS changes in the table
alterations in the initial values due to are derived from differences between the
dimensional variations caused by solid original 1967 DC values of conductivity
state changes. Additionally, the (using resistance in ohms, length in
resistivity of some of the alloys could centimeters and area in square
also vary due to microstructural changes. centimeters) and the 1975 values of
Errors such as grain direction and conductivity which include grain direction
stratification, which was discussed in ISA and stratification corrections. Thus it
paper 70-613, "Error Analysis of is an overall view of changes in certified
Non-Ferrous Conductivity Standards," could values. Other comparisons are made later
change in value with time and also cause on using uncorrected data.
some change in the certified bar values.
These latter two errors were not
reverified since the original data was 8. Analysis of Changes
taken, but care was taken in the selection
and fabrication of the newest bars to If we discount the uncertainties for
minimize these effects. In order to the moment and try to determine the com-
determine what parameters had changed in bined effects of area and resistance
the bars themselves and to decide how much changes on conductivity in %IACS, we can
effect these changes had on the certified see that if
conductivity values, it was necessary to
172.41 L
measure all of the bars again both %IACS = '

dimensional ly and electrically under the RA

same tightly controlled conditions as in the resulting conductivity values should
the original calibration. change inversely as the area and

Table 1

8 Yr. Certified Value

Material (alloy) Area Change Res. Change (DC) %IACS Changes

Copper +0. 127% -0. 055% -0 080

Al. HOOF -0. 023 4 -0. 098 -0 003

Al. 6061 -0. 029 3 -0 106 -0 032

Al. 5052-0 +0. 005 o -0. 044 -0. 012

Al . 2024T4 +0. 094 o 0. 000 -0. 149

a -0. 072
Al. 2024 -0. 005 o +0. 105

Yel. Brass +0. 017 4 -0. 103 +0. 018


See 75-17L for titanium. Original bar retired-too thin.
NOTE: Area change values have an uncertainty of 0.08%, the resistance change values
have an uncertainty of <0.01% and the %IACS value changes, are calculated
from both of the above plus temperature uncertainty and have an uncertainty of


resistance. Or, stated another way, as 10. Comparison of Original and Latest Data
the area or resistance increases, the
%IACS should get smaller, all other terms The matching of magnitudes and di-
remaining constant. If the value of rection now indicates the actual changes
either A or R increases at the same rate occurring in the primary bars. A
that the other decreases, the effect of comparison of the uncorrected bar changes
both tend to cancel. An analysis of each are the changes due only to the area and
bar follows in table 2. resistance changes follows in table 4.

It is significant that the errors due

9. Grain Direction and Stratification to grain direction and stratification have
Effect changed originally assigned values by as
much as 0.12 %IACS. These corrections
One reason for the above discrepancy were not obtainable at the start of the
is that a change was made in the aluminum program, but are now figured into the
set values to correct for grain direction values of the primary bars adding to the
and stratification. Since the original credibility of the certified secondary
bars were cut with the grain direction (or standard values. More will be said about
direction of roll), the %I ACS values tend secondary standard certification methods
to be higher than actual because of the later in this paper.
lower resistance values when measured
along that axis. Tests were performed to
determine the magnitude of this effect. 11. Additional Primary Bars (75-17 L)
The corrections were calculated to be half
of the difference between "with grain" and In 1968, a review of the Boeing
"across grain" values for eddy current Company's requirements resulted in adding
measurement purposes. Since the original eight additional primary standard con-
values of conductivity were too high, the ductivity bars to the original eight bars.
corrective action was to recertify the (The original thin titanium bar was not
%IACS values to a proper lower figure. retired until 1970.) Most of these new
Thus, all of the five aluminum alloys had bars were in the lower end of the con-
from -0.02 percent to -0.12 percent IACS ductivity spectrum because of the large
change added algebraically to the most amount of research being devoted to ti-
recently calculated %IACS figures tanium fabrication in the SST (supersonic
depending on the particular alloy. transport) project at that time. Three
Stratification corrections were generally bronze bars nominally 6.8 9 8.7 4 and
, ,

about one-third the value of the grain 16. 4 %IACS plus five titanium bars nom-
direction corrections and, except in the inally 0.97 3 1,00a,
l-05 6 1.23s, and

case of aluminum HOOF, had the opposite 3.62 4 %IACS were processed and calibrated
sign, tending to make %IACS figures higher as described in ISA paper 68-550. A
in conductivity values. Taking all of similar error analysis was performed on
these factors into consideration, we then the 75-17L bars and showed a maximum A%
find the following result in table 3a and of %IACS value of -1.14a.

Table 2

Material (alloy) Area. Res. Calc. Change 8 Yr. Cert. Value Change

Copper Lower Lower

Al. HOOF Higher Lower
Al. 6061 Higher Lower
Al. 5052-0 Higher Lower
Al . 2024T4 Lower Lower
Al. 2024 351 Lower Lower
Yel. Brass Higher Higher

0pposite effect than predicted.

Table 3a


Material AC corrections DC(new)

Copper 101.2 0(est. 101.2

Al. HOOF 60.16 -0.06. 60.23
8 0
Al 6061 41.57 -0.06c 41.64,
Al 5052-0 35.52, -0.02- 35.54~
Al 2024-T4 30.60^ -o.nj 30.72
Al 2024T351 29.83 t -0.03- 29.87,
Yel. Brass 27.24, 0(est.) 27.24,

^IACS corrected values are certified from 60 kHz to 200 kHz after
adjusting for grain direction and stratification effects.

Table 3b

Pri. Bar Material %IACS DC (Orig) %IACS DC Diff.

Copper 101. -0.08

Al. HOOF 60.17 +0.06

Al 6061 41. 60, +0.04

Al 5052-0 35. 53 +0.02

Al 2024-T4 30.75, -0.03.

Al 2024T351 29.88 -0.01


Yel. Brass 27.23, +0.01

Table 4

(Table 3) (Table 1)
Pri. Bar Material Uncorr. Changes Area Res. Changes Diff. %IACS

Copper -0. 08%IACS +0 07%IACS 0 01

Al. HOOF +0. 06 -o. 12 0. 06

Al. 6061 +0. 04 -0. 13 0. 09

Al. 5052-0 +0. 02 -o. 04 0. 02

Al. 2024 T4 -0. 03 +0. 09 0. 06

Al. 2024T351 -0. 01 +0. 10 0. 09

Yel. Brass +0. 01 -o. 09 0. 08

Evidence of the repeatability of readings taken with the facility.


12. Filling in Some Gaps in %IACS from DC to AC values. The fourth area
Standards Values which required at least one additional
primary standards bar was between the 60.2
though the low end of the con-
Even and 101.1 %IACS standards. A conducting
ductivity spectrum seems to be quite bronze bar was fabricated in the same
complete, especially in the titanium manner as previously described in the
range, it was necessary to add a new bar references, and now gives an additional
so that eddy current meters having a range certified conductivity value in that area
of 0 to 3.5 %IACS could have a meaningful at 85.39 %IACS. None of the 4 new bars
calibration. A review of the titanium were tested for permeability, based on the
standards shows the highest value to the results of the original tests on the first
3.6 %IACS which is off scale, and the next 16 bars, which showed negligible effects
lower value is 1.2 %IACS which is too far from permeability, except copper nickel
down scale to be significant when used by bronze.
itself or with lower values in %IACS. A
new bar having a value of 3.3 7 %IACS has The results of the calibration of the
been fabricated and put into the set of 19 four new non-ferrous conductivity bars are
total located in the transfer oil bath as follows in table 5.
previously shown in figure 11.

The portion of the aluminum con- 13. Improved Accuracy Transfer to

ductivity spectrum existing between the Secondary Standards
41.6 %IACS and 60.2 %IACS standards
required at least 2 more standards to The original method developed to
produce better results for eddy current determine values of secondary conductivity
meter calibration and for curve-fitting standards utilized an a-c impedance
the data better as explained later on in bridge, modified to include a guard
this paper. Unfortunately, although two circuit, lift-off compensation and various
different alloys of aluminum, 6061-0 and probe compensation capacitor settings. The
2024-0 were processed, the values turned frequency was fixed at 100 kHz 1.0 Hz
out to be within about 0.2 %IACS of each and power entered the bridge circuit at a
other at about 47.5 %IACS rather than the voltage somewhat less than 10 volts rms.
nominal 5 percent difference expected from An a-c null detector indicated the bridge
table of physical properties used for the balance condition and a Wagner ground was
selection process. included for precise and repeatable
detector balance. See figure 12 for the
As a result of previous experience schematic of the bridge circuit.
and analysis, both aluminum bars were
selected in the -0 condition for least The initial method of experimenting
stratification and were then cut at 45 to with slope curves in pFAIACS values vs.
the direction of roll, effectively negating %IACS, with changing probe compensation
the effect of grain direction. This means capacitance values in segmented areas and
that the AC values assigned to each bar with weighted averages for determination
will be the same as the DC values, and no of secondary standard conductivity values
corrections are required for these 2 was adequate when comparing like or very
potential sources of error in the transfer close values of conductivity. It failed

Table 5

Material (alloy) Conductivity Temp. Coeff of Resis/C

Conducting Bronze 85.39 %IACS 0 003

Al. 6061-0 47.64 0. 003
3 2
Al. 2024-0 47. 46-, 0. 003
Titanium 55 3.37 0. 003
6 6

The temperature coefficient of resistivity per C is accurate to 0.0002

between 15 and 35 C also called TCF or temperature correction factor.

to deliver the expected accuracy, however, only on the pF values at balance. Only
when the known values were over two one fixed probe compensation setting was
percent different in %IACS from the used. Corrections to each segment, de-
reference standard values. Deviations pended upon how close to the primary
were discovered when one primary standard standards values the unknown standard was
bar was used to verify another primary and corrections were automatically
standard bar several %IACS different from applied. The results were well within our
the first. The ensuing investigation anticipated values of accuracy when
showed that the entire premise on which calibrating one primary standard against
transfer of primary bar accuracy to any other primary standard in a particular
secondary standards was based, with segment.
allowance for bridge errors, was somewhat
less accurate when the two standards, The six segments and the method of
reference and unknown, differed by more curve fitting applied is shown below.
than 2 percent. With some of the
secondary standard nominal values several 15. Development of Curve Fitting
percent away from closest reference Method Details
standard, certifications within 0.35
%IACS of the stated values required Interpolation formulas were derived
re-examination. using curve fitting techniques based, in
part, on programs in the Stat. Pac 1 of
the Hewlett Packard HP-65 programmable
calculator. Since it had been previously
observed that if the bridge readings in pF
were plotted with the %IACS on log- log
graph paper, the resulting points were
nearly in a straight line; logarithms of
the bridge readings and %IACS values were
used in the curve fitting process. An
attempt to determine a single overall
formula for the entire range from 0.96
percent to 101.2 %IACS showed that errors
would be too large. Therefore, the %IACS
values were divided into segments as
fol lows:

Figure 12. (1) 0.96% to 1.23%

(2) 1.2% to 3.6%

(3) 6.8% to 27.2%

14. Curve Fitting Method
(4) 27.2% to 41.6%
After analyzing several different (5) 35.6% to 47%
approaches, it was decided to segment the
(6) 41.6% to 101.2%
conductivity spectrum into six parts and
use curve fitting techniques, with an H-P
65 to determine the unknown values based

Segment No. Conductivity Limits %IACS Curve Fitting Method

1 0.96 to 1.23 Mod. Pwr. Curve

2 1.2 to 3.6 Mod. Pwr. Curve
3 6.8 to 27.2 Linear Regression
4 27.2 to 41.6 Mod. Pwr. Curve
5 35.6 to 47 Mod. Pwr. Curve
6 41.6 to 101.2 Mod. Pwr. Curve


A different formula was derived for 17. Secondary Conductivity Standard

each segment. Linear regression proved to Calibration Improvements
give an acceptable fit for the data for
segment (3); the other segments were curve A new oscillator with improved output
fitted using a modification of the power voltage and better stability char-
curve. These formulas, as applied here, acteristics which can now deliver a steady
are as fol lows: 10 volts rms to the bridge circuit at 100
kHz 1 Hz has replaced the original
oscillator. The results have been much
Linear regression: more consistent readings from the primary
standards bar as well as a slight improve-
log %IACS = A + A log pF ment in detector sensitivity due to
Q ]
somewhat higher voltage. See figure 13
Power curve (modified): for a view of the probe and the bridge
circuit control console.

- log pF 1
log %IACS

where A 0 A 1(
a, and b are coefficients
determined by the curve fitting process
and "pF" is the corrected bridge reading
in pF.

16. Programming the Calculator

These coefficients are then incor-

porated into HP 65 programs--one for each
segmentwhich are used to determine
conductivity of standards tested. In some
cases, additional corrections are incor-
Figure 13. 100 kHz conductivity transfer
porated to reduce errors at points on the
bridge and probe.
interpolation curve close to the
conductivities of the standard bars.
When coupled with the new curve
Since the %I ACS is determined by the
fitting techniques, the accuracy improve-
formulas in terms of only one variable,
ment in actual bridge reading values
the bridge reading in pF, no "standard
reduces the uncertainty of %IACS accuracy
reading", as such, is necessary. In
limits from an estimated +0.15 percent to
practice, however, a bridge balance is
approximately +0.07 %IACS. Adding this
made for a standard close (in %IACS) to
uncertainty to the +0.2 %IACS, which is
the value of the "unknown" to account for
now thought to be quite conservative based
any drift in the capacitance elements in
on historical performance evaluation, we
the bridge. The difference between the
feel confident of the stated 0.35 %IACS,
standard reading taken at that time and
or 1 percent of reading accuracies,
the standard reading used to determine the
whichever is less, assigned to secondary
interpolation curve is then used to shift
non-ferrous conductivity standards
the unknown reading by a like amount Boeing Metrology
produced by the
before applying the interpolation formula.
Laboratories. Figure 5 showed some types
of secondary standards in their containers
The HP-65 curve fitting programs used
after being calibrated against the primary
also provide an additional parameter r 2 ,
bars in the transfer oil bath.
or "goodness of fit." It was found that
this number must be quite close to 1;
0.999 or greater in most cases to give
18. How Good Are Eddy Current
satisfactory results. This is probably due
Meter Standards?
mostly to the scale compressing effects of
logarithms. discussed
From what has been
previously, it can be seen that unless some


unknown factor has not been considered, the Using these secondary conductivity
Boeing secondary non-ferrous conductivity standards serves to guarantee the accuracy
standards which are categorized to be of direct reading eddy current meters by
working standards for conductivity, are verifying the scale tracking in the area of
well within the 0.35 %IACS or 1 percent of interest. Although, for example, several
value uncertainty assigned to them. scale points in the most frequently used
Periodic recal ibration and recertifi cation aluminum conductivity range, 28 to 60
of the Boeing primary standard bars and the %IACS, are compared to the standards in
annual in-oil recertif ication of the that range, this does not assure the
secondary standards using the 100 kHz accuracy of scale indication outside of
conductivity bridge transfer oil bath shown that range. If the entire scale is to be
in figure 13 will keep the secondary utilized from the low or titanium range up
standards within the assigned accuracy through copper, certified secondary con-
1 imits. ductivity standards covering the entire
range from 1 to 100 %IACS should be used.
It has been Boeing policy to resurface Without such standards the indicated
secondary standards which are received for values of either direct or indirect eddy
recal ibration in such condition that lift- current meters are questionable.
off errors can exist as a result of exces-
sive wear. Some slight drift character- Several manufacturers are now in the
istics have been observed in secondary business of providing certified conduct-
standards over the 10 year period, but ivity standards for use with eddy current
recerti f ication keeps them well within meters. A few of the types produced by
their uncertainty limits for the one the Boeing Company were shown in figure
calendar year cycle assigned to them in- 5. Several other configurations have been
house. Commercial customers usually made to satisfy internal requirements, but
observe longer cycles to suit their needs basically the accuracies and non-ferrous
or internal cycle periods. materials are the same as with the stan-
dards forms.

Error Analysis

Primary Standard Bars (used to calibrate secondary coupons)

Component Max Expected Error Remarks

DC Ref. Resistor 0. 005% Traceable to NBS Thomas 1 ohm

Double Ratio Set 0. 001%
Galvo Readability 0. 01% At maximum sensitivity
Thermometer 0. 012% 19 to 21 C
Thermocouples in bath 0 0016% Galvo reads opposing T.C.
DC Sys. Instability 0 04% Temperature of bath oil
Conductivity Material 0 054% Non-homogeneity
Stratification Error NA Corrections Made
Grain Direction Error NA Corrections Made
Repeatabi 1 ity <0 1%
Total RSS error = 0.12% of reading in ohm cm @ 20 C
(cert to 0.20 % IACS or 0.5% of reading, whichever is less at 20 C)

Secondary Standard Coupons

Component Max Expected Error

Primary bar basic error 0.12% of reading

100 kHz bridge error <0. 10% of reading
Probe error (position) <0. 10% of reading
Curve fitting error 0.05% of reading
Aging and wear (1 yr. cycle) 0. 10% of reading (max.
Temperature uncertainty 0.05% of reading
Total RSS error = 0.22% of reading .

(Cert, to 0.35 %IACS or 1% of reading, whichever is less at 20 C)

19. Conclusions [3] Jones, A. R. Error Analysis of Non-

Ferrous Conductivity Standards, pre-

The preceding error analysis indi- sented at the ISA International Con-
cates that the certified accuracies ference and Exhibit, Philadelphia,
assigned to the primary standard Pennsylvania, October 1970 (70-613).
conductivity bars for a 2 year
re-certification cycle and the secondary [4] The Boeing Company D6-4813, Material/
standards for a 1 year cycle are Temper Identification - Aluminum
reasonable. Coupled with this, our Al loys.
experience has shown minimal differences
in the primary bar values due to changes
in solid state structure and other aging [5] ASTM Designation B193-65, Resistivity
factors. of Electrical Conductor Materials
(Standard Method of Test).
The fact that all the measurements
are basic parameters which have been in [6] NBS Copper Wire Table, No. 31, p. 75.
existence for decades gives us confidence
in our ability to provide indirect trace- [7] Libby, H. L. Introduction to Electro-

ability to NBS basic standards of magnetic Nondestructive Test Methods.

resistance, length and temperature.
Adherence to good machine shop practices, [8] Jones, A. R. Non-Ferrous Conduc-

careful screening of materials, tivity Standards - A Ten Year Review,

utilization of the latest measurement presented at ISA International Con-
techniques and, above all, careful ference and Exhibit, Houston, Texas,
attention to minute details in both October, 1976.
constructing and measuring these standards
has incorporated a high order of built-in [9] Jones, A. R.Eddy ,
Current Meter
accuracy. Standards, How Good Are They?,
presented at ASNT Spring Conference,
At present, NBS in Gaithersburg, Phoenix, Arizona, March, 1977.
Maryland, is preparing to construct
non-ferrous conductivity standards. They Discussion
indicate that comparisons with these
standards are still about a year away. Question (Dr. Mc Master): I have found
Discussion with NBS personnel indicate there are measurable eddy currents up to
that an approach similar to the one used three times the diameter of the coil.
at Boeing will be used by them both in Every time you measure something smaller
construction and in measurement of their than that, you are clipping the corners.
conductivity standards. Have you found much error due to the ratio
of coil diameters, or have all coil
The only additional research proposed diameters you have tested been so small
in this field at Boeing is to build about that you are nowhere near the sample edge?
four more primary standards bars this year
to increase the accuracy of the curve (Mr. Jones): You are talking about edge
fitting technique in some of the segments effects?
where the spread between any two of the
primary bars is larger than deemed suit- (Dr. Mc Master): Yes.
Answer (Mr. Jones): We measure in the
center of the secondary standards with a
small coil and try to get somewhere near
References the middle of the primary bar. Also, we
always measure on the same spot on the
[1] Jones, A. R. Bulk Conductivity Mea-
, primary bar.
surement Standards, presented at ASTM
Annual Meeting, Boston, Mass. June


[2] Jones, A. R. Non-Ferrous Conduc-


tivity Standards, presented at ISA

Annual Meeting, New York City,
October, 1968 (68-550).

National Bureau of Standards Special Publication 589. Proceedings of the Workshop on Eddy
Current Nondestructive Testing held at NBS, Gaithersburg, MD, November 3-4, 1977. Issued
January 1981.


George M. Free
Electrical Measurements and Standards Division
National Bureau of Standards
Washington, DC 20234

1. Introduction From the relation J = aE in which J is the

current density, o the electrical conduc-
The present goals of the NBS eddy tivity and E the electric field, the con-
current program are twofold: the creation ductivity of a uniform bar may be written
of an electrical conductivity calibration
service for non-ferrous metal standards, L A = cross sectional area of
and the development of non-ferrous metal a =
RA material
Standard Reference Materials to be issued L = distance between potential
as conductivity standards. The calibration contacts
service will provide measurements of the R = resistance
electrical conductivity of standards sent
to NBS by industry and issue reports on if R and A are considered to be average
these standards. The Standard Reference values over the length L. If the bar is
Material Program will make available to only slightly irregular, this relation
industry electrical conductivity standards will hold if a, dR/dx, and A are consid-
suitable for use in calibrating eddy ered to be slowly varying functions over
current instrumentation. the length of the bar.

In order to establish the NBS 1/A = 1

a =
electrical conductivity calibration dR dR
service instrumentation and methodology dx dx
must be developed in several areas [I] 1 .

Primary conductivity standards consisting where A is the cross-sectional area at a

of long metal bars are being developed specific point on the bar and dR/dx is the
which will be measured using dc techniques slope of the resistance vs. length curve
to determine the conductivity of the at a specific point. In approaching the
material. Using eddy-current techniques, determination of conductivity in this
customer conductivity samples will then be manner, two sets of information are nec-
compared with the primary standards to essary. A mapping of the cross-sectional
arrive at the conductivity of the sample. area along the length of the bar and a
mapping of the resistance of the bar. The
Work has been developing along two two sets of data will then appear as in
lines, design and construction of dc figure 1
measurement apparatus, and design and
construction of ac measurement apparatus. To determine a, the slope of the re-
These two measurement systems will be sistance curve at a point will be calcu-
discussed in more detail. lated and the area of the bar at that
point will be determined. Dimensional
measurements of the bar will be done by
2. The DC System another group within NBS. The dc measure-
ment of resistance will be done using a
Since eddy current measurements are current comparator as described below.
made at a point, or over a small area, the
NBS dc measurement is designed to The operation of the current compar-
determine conductivity at a specific point ator is shown in figure 2. A current is

Figures in brackets indicate the literature references at the end of this paper.

of the bar. The separation distance be-

tween potential points will be measured by
a laser interferometer. Thus, a series of
measurements of resistance can be made
along the bar with a minimum distance of
separation of 1 cm. The total length of
the bar will be approximately 1.5m with a
cross-section of 50 mm x 6 mm.

The measurement will be done in an

oil bath which is stable to about 3 x
10 3 C. The range of temperature possi-
ble in the bath is 18 C to 30 C. With
Figure 1. Determination of (dR/dx) and temperature, dR/dx, and cross-sectional
(A) at a specific cross-section of metal area known, the conductivity can be cal-
bar. culated. The bars will then become the
primary standards of conductivity at NBS.


The eddy current measurements will be
D,C. supply done on a bridge as seen in figure 4. The
major components of the bridge are the
three inductive voltage dividers, a vari-
able frequency power supply and a phase
sensitive detector. The bridge is de-
nm 1r rnV>
signed for use in three general ways. In
the positions of the two test coils on the
bridge diagram, the following may be
Figure 2. Current comparator schematic placed:
with metal bar in place.
(a) Coil and capacitor. Used to cali-
established in circuit (1) by the main brate inductance in terms of capac-
power supply. The primary and secondary itance standards.
currents separately pass through a number (b) Two coils used to make the measure-
of turns wrapped on a common core, the ments in an absolute sense. One coil
turns being wound in opposition; a flux will be in air while the other coil
sensor detects any residual flux in the will be placed on the metal sample.
core and adjusts the slave power supply so (c) Two coils used to make the measure-
that zero flux exists in the steady state. ments in a relative sense. Both
The I N = I N The turns ratio N . coils will be placed on the same
X X s s s
can also be varied to achieve a null at the piece of metal for a zero reading,
detector. At the point of balance I R = then one coil will be placed on the
I R or R = R M /N Then tlfe fin- . unknown sample. The change in con-
5 s
known resistance i s l&ow^ in terms of a ductivity will be determined from the
standard and a turns ratio. change in the bridge balance
During the resistance measurement, TEST COILS
the metal bar will rest on a modified op-
tical bench, as in figure 3. Current will
be injected at (A) and leave at (B); the
potential contacts are at (1) and (2).
Potential contact (1) will remain fixed
while (2) will be varied along the length

m (2) C) <2">


, _J 1 I ,

Figure 3. Motion of potential contacts
along length of metal bar. Figure 4. Eddy current bridge
The actual conductivity of an unknown 5. Other Areas of Study
will be obtained by interpolating the ex-
perimental results for measurements on two Coils are being constructed using the
primary standards and the unknown, using relations derived by Dodd et al [2]. .

primary standards having conductivities Values for the impedance of a coil on a

above and below the unknown. conducting flat surface have been calcu-
lated. These results are being used to
4. NBS Services achieve optimum performance in the coils
constructed, i.e., maximum sensitivity
Reports on the calibration of a cus- to change in conductivity and minimum
tomer's sample are envisioned as follows. change in impedance for lift-off. The
Besides a written report, a graph will be relations will also be used to establish
given as seen in figure 5. Conductivity the theoretical shape of the impedance
will be shown as a function of curve between points of known dc con-
frequency and as a function of temperature ductivity, i.e., those points for which
for a specific range of frequencies. The primary standards are available. An
total uncertainty assigned to the test attempt will be made to correlate
will be a function of the metal sample measured coil parameters with the theo-
that is being calibrated, i.e., its retical values. If the agreement
uniformity. For a uniform metal sample the between actual measured values and theo-
total uncertainty should be about 0.1 retical calculations is sufficiently
percent IACS. close, a quasi-absolute determination of
conductivity can be made.

A second experiment that has been

briefly investigated but which will be
IACS pursued further is based on the theorem of
Van der Pauw [3]. This relation is com-
monly used in semiconductor technology to
determine the dc resistivity of a sample
of uniform thickness.

In this theorem, the following

relation is derived:
^nRid/p + e
-'nR 2 d/p _ 1

-i 1- -i 1 1 1
Resistivity becomes a function of two re-
sistance measurements, R x and R 2 and a ,

measurement of d the thickness of the

sample. The advantages are obvious.
Figure 5. Information on conductivity
sample to be included in test report. All of the above work will be di-
rected towards the goals stated at the
Although plans for constructing the beginning of the paper, the establishment
Standard Reference Materials are not yet of precise standards of electrical con-
finalized, there are several directions ductivity which are usable by industry.
that could possibly be followed. First is The present goal of the program is to
the use of powder metallurgy or some other have the electrical conductivity cali-
metallurgical technique to guarantee that bration service available in the Fall of
the sample is indeed uniform. A cali- 1978. The first SRM's will be issued
bration report as above would be issued in 1979.
with the sample. Another possibility is
to use the most common metals and alloys References
for standards. If common metals are used,
the need for temperature corrections would [1] Jones, Arthur R, "Electrical Conduc-
be eliminated since the metal to be tested tivity Measurement Standards," Pre-
would be at the same temperature as the sented at ISA Conference, Boston,
standards used to calibrate the eddy 1970.
current meter.

[2] Dodd, V., Deeds, W. E.
C. Luquire,
, Question (Mr. Wehrmeister): What type of
J. W. Integral
solutions to some geometry in test samples will you be ac-
eddy current problems, International cepting. Will they be flat, or can I send
Journal of Nondestructive Testing, 2> you a piece of tubing?
29-90 (1969).
Answer (Mr. Free): The samples, at least
[3] Van der Pauw, J. J., A method of to start out with, will be flat, geomet-
measuring specific resistivity and rically a flat sample.
Hall effect of discs of arbitrary
shape, Philips Research Reports, 1_3, Question (Mr. Jones): When you are making
No. 1 (February 1958). your resistance measurements, what type of
spacing will you have between the
potential probes?
In other words, say you start near
Question (Mr. Wehrmeister): I am curious the top, do you take ten readings and the
to know what sort of tolerances you are move a quarter of an inch, and then take
putting on your readings in terms of ten more readings to get the uniformity
percent IACS? And what tolerance is across the width of your standard bar
industry working towards? which you said was two inches?

Answer (Mr. Free): In this experiment, we Question (Mr. Free): Do you mean to get
are hoping to achieve an uncertainty of .1 the mapping of the cross-sectional area,
percent IACS. By tolerance, do you mean or the mapping of the resistance?
the uncertainty in measuring conductivity
in a sorting operation? Answer (Mr. Jones): The mapping of the
resi stance.
Question (Mr. Wehrmeister): How accurate-
ly do they have to obtain a reading or a Answer (Mr. Free): Initially, there will
measurement? be two measurements.

Answer (Mr. Free): As I understand it, Question (Mr. Jones): Somewhere near the
when running a characteristics test on middle?
incoming metal, it is around 4 or 5
percent. Answer (Mr. Free): Two points, somewhat
off center, but on either side of the
Comment (Mr. Jones): Usually, the pre- center.
cision should be plus or minus .5 percent,
IACS. For example, if you have an allowed
band of 31-1/2 percent to 33-1/2 percent,
you would have to hold that to 32 percent
or 33 percent, but 15 percent would be
used up in your measurement uncertainty,
considering the conductivity standards
being used.

Onthe primary bars, we try and get

to percent plus or minus half percent
reading, whichever is less.

Comment (Mr. Lagin): One thing which I

think industry would like to see come out
of NBS in the future is a standard rep-
resenting various radii of curvature.
Usually we have to take conductivity mea-
surements on curved surfaces, and since
the probe has finite dimensions this
introduces error. There is a large per-
centage of error when the parts have a
radius of curvature of less than half an
inch. The conductivity measured could be
in error by as much as 10 percent.

National Bureau of Standards Special Publication 589.
Proceedings of the Workshop on Eddy
Current Nondestructive Testing held at NBS, Gaithersburg,
MD, November 3-4, 1977 Issued
January 1981. '


Arnold 1
H. Kahn and Richard D. Spal
Center for Materials Science
National Measurement Laboratory
National Bureau of Standards
Washington, DC 20234

as the dimensions of the obstacle. In

1. Introduction
this contribution to the Workshop, we
report on calculations of the eddy cur-
The interpretation and derivation of
rent and impedance changes associated
the maximum information from electro-
with a surface crack in a plane slab and
magnetic testing and the optimum design
on a cylinder. In the case of the cyl-
of testing methods depends on principles
inder, impedance diagrams are given, and
found in classical electromagnetic theo-
the modifications due to the crack are
ry. The value of an approach based, in
part, on a theoretical grounding is well
demonstrated in the discussion by Libby
[l] 2 . In the development of standards,
2. Crack on a Plane Slab
the application of theoretical analysis
can be used to base the standards, at
Our model for a crack [4] assumes
least in part, on physical laws. We hope that there is a long, thin gap in the
that discussions at this meeting will
conducting material. We treat the gap as
suggest areas where theoretical efforts preventing the flow of any normal com-
may be profitably undertaken. ponent of electric current density. The
magnetic field for which we perform the
As one of the NBS activities in
calculations is applied tangential to the
electromagnetic NDE, we have performed surface and parallel to the crack. The
analyses of the nature of eddy current geometric configuration is shown in
distributions in the vicinity of a crack figure 1. In the figure, the width of
in conducting material. The purpose of the crack is exaggerated so as to show
these investigations is to provide pre- the unrestricted penetration of the
dictions of the changes of signals in 1U)t
testing apparatus due to cracks, or applied a.c. magnetic field, H e
Q ,

alternatively to aid in the characteri- into the crack. The lines with arrow
zation of defects. heads indicate schematically the direction
and path of the current at some instant
Literature searches on this subject of time. The solution to this problem is
have yielded only a few theoretical moderately difficult and much can be
treatments of the modification of eddy learned by breaking it into two component
currents due to the presence of defects. problems, the corner and the tip, as
The treatment of Burrows [2] and Dodd, et shown in figure 2. These can be solved
al., [3] considers the perturbation of exactly. The results may then be com-
the eddy current pattern by an ellip- bined to give the results for a crack
soidal inclusion. However, in this provided its depth is greater than four
treatment the inclusion had dimensions skin depths.
which were small with respect to the
electromagnetic skin depth. However, for The equation to be solved is [1,4]
greatest sensitivity of detection the
frequencies must be such that the skin (V 2 +k 2 )H = 0 , (2. 1)
depth is of the same order of magnitude

department of Physics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

Figures in brackets indicate literature references at the end of this paper.


where the complex propagation constant,

k, is

k = (iouiM) ' . (2.2)

In the above equations, H is the field

inside the conductor, a is the electrical
conductivity, w is the angular frequency
of the applied field, and u is the per-
meability of the conductor. At the
surface of the material, and in the crack
gap, the field must take on the value of
the applied field, H e . In terms of
the electromagnetic sKin depth, 6, given

6 = (2/ou)u) , (2.3)
Figure 1. Schematic drawing of eddy
currents in the vicinity of a surface
the propagation constant may be expressed
crack in a slab of conducting material.
The a.c. magnetic field applied at the
surface is normal to the figure and
uniform in space.
k = (l+i)/6 . (2.4)

In order to calculate changes of power

dissipation and energy stored, it is not
necessary to map the field; we need only
know the current density at the surface,
which, in turn, depends on the normal
derivative of the field at the surface.
The results are conveniently expressed in
7. terms of the complex Poynting vector,

S = l/2(ExH*) ,


where E and H are the electric and mag-
netic fields at the surface of the
material. The real part of S gives the
power dissipation per unit area and the
imaginary part gives the energy stored
[4,5]. (In the next case, the cylinder
with a crack, the Poynting vector leads
directly to the complex impedance.)

In figure 3, we show the normal com-

ponent of the Poynting vector, S, as a
function of distance from the tip of a
deep crack. The values of S are nor-
Figure 2. Two solvable problems related
malized to S 0 the value appropriate to
to the crack of figure 1. In the
plane surface in the absence of a crack.
infinite crack, a magnetic field,
We see that the greatest dissipation and
H e present in the gap as far
, is reactance changes occur near the tip and
as the tip. In the right-angled corner that at a distance beyond 1.56 from the
problem, the field is applied to the tip fields are "back to normal." A
boundary, parallel to the corner. similar situation occurs at the corner, as
Arrows indicate the current flow.
is seen in figure 4. The loss at the tip are greater than those of equivalent
corner vanishes, but the "range" of the flat surface, while those at the corner
corner is about 2.56. The losses at the are less. In effect, the eddy currents
take a short cut at the corners and a
long trip around the tip. The net dissi-
pation, per unit length of crack, for a
crack of depth d, with d > 46 is

(2d-0.786) 2
|H |
/(2a6) . (2.5)

There is an effective shrinkage of the

depth, relative to equivalent flat sur-
face, of approximately 0.396. For cracks
more shallow than 46, a direct solution
is necessary. This will be done in the
fol lowi ng section.

3. Surface Crack on a Long Cylinder

lm S In this section, we present the

results of calculations of the eddy
currents in a long cylinder with a radial
0.5 15
crack at the surface. The calculations

DISTANCE FROM TIP. */8 were performed for arbitrary depth of

crack, and the results were developed in
terms of an infinite series of trigono-
metric functions and cylindrical Bessel
Figure 3. Plot of the normal component of functions. The results can be made
the Poynting vector on the surface of an visual izable by means of the impedance
infinite crack at a distance, x, from the diagram.
tip. In the plot the Poynting vector is
normalized to ReS 0 where S 0 is the
In figure 5 we show the familiar
Poynting vector for plane surface in the impedance diagram for a solenoid enclos-
absence of a crack. Distance is in units ing a cylinder (with a 100 percent fill-
of 6, the skin depth. ing factor) [1]. The plot shows the
imaginary versus the real parts of the
impedance of the coil. A point on the
curve corresponds to a particular value
of the ratio of cy linder radius to skin
depth, a/6(= aVou)u/2).

The effects of cracks of varying

depth are now shown in figure 6. Our
first observation is that the presence of
a crack does not change the shape of the
curve; it only shifts the position on the
curve of each a/6 point. For an initial
attempt to understand the phenomena,
we calculated the impedance curves for
cracks of depth d = 2a, a, and 0.5a. We
have plotted these curves, shifted in
space in the figure. Equal values of a/6
on the different curves are connected by
dashed lines. It is evident that the
greatest shift of impedance caused by the
Figure 4. Plot of the normalized Poynting presence of the crack occurs for a/6 ~
vector, S', on the surface of a square 1.7, where the curve has a vertical
corner, at a distance, x, from the tangent.
corner. Distance is in units of 6, the
^kin depth.
Figure 5. Impedance diagram for a long
cylindrical solenoid with a conducting Figure 6. Impedance diagrams for a long
core which completely fills the solenoid. cylindrical solenoid with a conducting
The real and imaginary parts of the core which contains a radial surface
impedance are normalized to ujLo, the crack. Impedance curves are plotted,
reactance of the empty solenoids. as in figure 5, for three selected
Points on the plot correspond to depths of crack. The dashed lines
particular values of a/6, the ratio schematically indicate the shifts of
of core radius to skin depth. a/6 points as the crack depth, d, is
varied in the calculations.
These calculations have not yet been
carried out for very shallow cracks
because of slow convergence of the References
series. To cope with this difficulty, we
have developed as an alternative a [1] Libby, H. L. Introduction
, to
variational approach which should yield Electromagnetic Nondestructive Test
greatest accuracy for shallow cracks and Methods (Wiley-Interscience, New
which will overlap the region treated by York, 1971).
the series method. This work is now in
progress. [2] Burrows, M. L "A Theory of Eddy

Current Flaw Detection," Disserta-

A provisional estimate for the tion, University Microfilms, Inc.,
effect of the crack can be given. If the Ann Arbor, Michigan (1964).
frequency is chosen so that a/8 a 1.7
(near the maximum dissipation), then we [3] Dodd, C. V., Deeds, W. E. , and
expect the shift of the a/6 to be ~ -0.4 Luquire, J. W. Int.
, J. of Non-
times the value of d/a. For these values, destruc. Testing 2, 29 (1969).
the impedance change is imaginary and
corresponds to a shift of the amount [4] Kahn, A. H. Spal
R. and Feldman,
, ,

A., J. Appl. Phys. (to be published).


[5] Collin, R. E. Field Theory

, of Comment (Dr. Birnbaum): Well, then I
Guided Waves (McGraw-Hill Book Co., agree with Libby, it defies intuition.
New York, 1960). One would expect that as you vary the
frequency, the skin depth becomes the
same order as the crack length, and then
Di scussion when it becomes larger you would get some
more drastic differences in impedance.
Question (Mr. Libby): I understood you
to say that you found no difference in Comment (Mr. Kahn): No, I find it just
the shape of the curve for these con- moves it on the curve.

Answer (Mr. Kahn): We found slight dif-

ferences which we believe are computer

Comment (Mr. Libby): I am rather sur-

prised at this. What it indicates, look-
ing at the curve, is that the effect of
the crack would be the same effect ob-
tained by lowering the frequency.

Answer (Mr. Kahn): Right.

Comment (Mr. Libby): I would expect when

the currents are flowing in the usual way
about the crack, there would be some
component that tells the coil that we are
dealing with a bar having a smaller
radius. I am just wondering why this is
not the case.

Question (Mr. Kahn): You are saying it

is not?

Answer Libby):
(Mr. I would expect the
effect show up in the size of the
curve. I would expect that where you
have a curve like the one shown that with
a smaller diameter it would shift down
and the curve would be in a different
place on the complex plane. This is what
I would expect.

Comment (Mr. Kahn): I normalized the

curve, it is normalized to the inductance
of the empty coi 1

Question (Dr. Birnbaum): Perhaps I did

not understand. You based the calcu-
lations on what assumption, that the skin
depth was much larger than the crack

Answer (Mr. Kahn): No, it is arbitrary.

The whole curve marks out an arbitrary
range of the skin depth from zero to

National Bureau of Standards Special Publication 589. Proceedings of the Workshop on Eddy
Current Nondestructive Testing held at NBS, Gai thersburg MD, November
3-4, 1977.
, Issued
January 1981.


Robert E. Green, Jr.

Johns Hopkins University
Department of Mechanics and Materials Science
Baltimore, MD 21218

In the first talk of the Workshop, by

IV. Environment
Dr. Mc Master, the point was made that much
of the eddy current instrumentation and
test methods existing today has not
advanced beyond principles established in
1830. Eddy current development work has
V. Other Methods
used the new technologies available only
to refine and improve systems that have
been used for many years. New approaches
to basic problems are almost nonexistent.
Beyond this, much of the information that
Figure 1. General areas for research and
is present in an eddy current test is
development work.
completely ignored.
Although I have not listed the var-
Listed in figure 1 are general areas
ious items in any special order, we def-
in which research and development work
initely have to consider the material
could be done. These areas are meant to aspects of the part to be inspected. In a
be independent of standards. They are
research laboratory, we can tailor make
areas which could be important for
materials so that a- given physical prop-
scientific as well as technological
erty can be varied in a systematic manner
progress. Your comments on these areas,
while holding other properties constant.
or additions you might make are
Thus, in the laboratory, we can use spe-
cially selected materials to test the
sensitivity of eddy current instruments to
I. Specimens a variety of material parameters. On the
other hand, in field eddy current testing,
we have to work with materials which have
Nonferrous usually been optimally designed to possess
Homogeneity desirable mechanical properties, but which
Anisotropy may possess extremely complex electrical
Geometry and magnetic properties and, therefore,
Multilayer present special problems for eddy current
testing. Thus, we must consider, as has
II. Coils been pointed out several times, whether
the material is ferrous or nonferrous
Geometry and probably even more critical with
Orientation respect to eddy current measurements is
Arrays the inhomogeneity of real structural
Other Detectors materials.
Computer Involvement
In my own opinion, a good eddy cur-
III. Displays