ASTM E1211 / E1211M - 12

    Standard Practice for Leak Detection and Location Using Surface-Mounted Acoustic Emission Sensors

    Active Standard ASTM E1211 / E1211M | Developed by Subcommittee: E07.04

    Book of Standards Volume: 03.03


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    Significance and Use

    Leakage of gas or liquid from a pressurized system, whether through a crack, orifice, seal break, or other opening, may involve turbulent or cavitational flow, which generates acoustic energy in both the external atmosphere and the system pressure boundary. Acoustic energy transmitted through the pressure boundary can be detected at a distance by using a suitable acoustic emission sensor.

    With proper selection of frequency passband, sensitivity to leak signals can be maximized by eliminating background noise. At low frequencies, generally below 100 kHz, it is possible for a leak to excite mechanical resonances within the structure that may enhance the acoustic signals used to detect leakage.

    This practice is not intended to provide a quantitative measure of leak rates.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This practice describes a passive method for detecting and locating the steady state source of gas and liquid leaking out of a pressurized system. The method employs surface-mounted acoustic emission sensors (for non-contact sensors see Test Method E1002), or sensors attached to the system via acoustic waveguides (for additional information, see Terminology E1316), and may be used for continuous in-service monitoring and hydrotest monitoring of piping and pressure vessel systems. High sensitivities may be achieved, although the values obtainable depend on sensor spacing, background noise level, system pressure, and type of leak.

    1.2 UnitsThe values stated in either SI units or inch-pound units are to be regarded as standard. The values stated in each system may not be exact equivalents; therefore, each system shall be used independently of the other. Combining values from the two systems may result in non-conformance with the standards.

    1.3 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    E543 Specification for Agencies Performing Nondestructive Testing

    E650 Guide for Mounting Piezoelectric Acoustic Emission Sensors

    E750 Practice for Characterizing Acoustic Emission Instrumentation

    E976 Guide for Determining the Reproducibility of Acoustic Emission Sensor Response

    E1002 Practice for Leaks Using Ultrasonics

    E1316 Terminology for Nondestructive Examinations

    E2374 Guide for Acoustic Emission System Performance Verification

    ASNT Documents

    ANSI/ASNTCP-189 Standard for Qualification and Certification of Nondestructive Testing Personnel

    AIA Document

    NAS410 Certification and Qualification of Nondestructive Testing Personnel Available from Aerospace Industries Association of America, Inc. (AIA), 1000 Wilson Blvd., Suite 1700, Arlington, VA 22209-3928, http://www.aia-aerospace.org.


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 17.140.01 (Acoustic measurements and noise abatement in general)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    DOI: 10.1520/E1211_E1211M-12

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