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October 8, 2015 | Multi-element probes for faster, more effective non-destructive testing of metal parts

cnd cea tech list octobre 2015List, a CEA Tech institute, is developing non-destructive testing (NDT) tools capable of detecting tiny surface defects and defects deep inside a material in record time.

Eddy current probes are traditionally used to non-invasively detect defects in metal parts. Non-destructive methods like eddy current testing are particularly useful for quality control in the automotive, aerospace, rail, nuclear, and oil & gas industries.

Researchers at List have been working to develop probes with magnetoresistive sensors (GMR or TMR sensors) for quite some time. These probes are more sensitive and offer better spatial resolution than the traditional eddy current bobbin probes. In research conducted under the EU IMAGIC project, the researchers used CIVA and other simulation software to improve probe configuration and test probe performance on defective test parts provided by manufacturers.

The researchers’ goals were to detect surface defects measuring just a few µm and defects up to 10 millimeters under the material’s surface. They then developed multi-element probes with 32 GMR sensors with an optimized inter-element pitch of 120 µm. The probe achieved the desired level of performance in terms of detection and shortened testing times.