ASTM E1816 - 12

    Standard Practice for Ultrasonic Testing Using Electromagnetic Acoustic Transducer (EMAT) Techniques

    Active Standard ASTM E1816 | Developed by Subcommittee: E07.06

    Book of Standards Volume: 03.03


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    ASTM E1816

    Significance and Use

    5.1 Since EMAT techniques are noncontacting, they should be considered for ultrasonic examinations in which applications involve automation, high-speed examinations, moving objects, applications in remote or hazardous locations, and applications to objects at elevated temperatures or objects with rough surfaces. This practice describes procedures for using EMAT techniques as associated with the ultrasonic method to detect flaws for both surface and volumetric examinations as well as to measure thickness.

    5.2 The uniqueness of the electromagnetic acoustic transducer technique for ultrasonic examination basically lies in the generation and reception of the ultrasonic waves. Otherwise, conventional ultrasonic techniques and methodologies generally apply.

    5.3 An EMAT generates and receives acoustic waves in a material by electromagnetic means; electrically conductive or ferromagnetic materials can be examined. In its simplest form, an EMAT as a generator of ultrasonic waves is basically a coil of wire, excited by an alternating current, and placed in a uniform magnetic field near the surface of a material. For conductive materials, eddy currents are induced as a result of the alternating current. Due to the magnetic field, these eddy currents experience Lorentz forces that in turn are transmitted to the solid by collisions with the lattice or other microscopic processes. These forces are alternating at the frequency of the driving current and act as a source of ultrasonic waves. If the material is ferromagnetic, additional coupling mechanisms play a part in the generation of ultrasonic waves. Interactions between the dynamic magnetic field generated by the alternating currents and the magnetization associated with the material offer a source of coupling, as do the associated magnetostrictive influences. Reciprocal processes exist whereby all of these mechanisms lead to detection. Fig. 3 depicts the mechanisms (forces), along with associated direction, for electromagnetic ultrasound generation.

    Mechanisms of Electromagnetic Ultrasound Generation
    Note 1j = current in a single conductor, Bo = magnetization from external magnet, Fm = magnetic force (ferromagnetic material), Fms = magnetostrictive force (ferromagnetic material), and FL = Lorentz force (conductive material).
    FIG. 3 Mechanisms of Electromagnetic Ultrasound Generation

    5.4 The EMAT can be used to generate all ultrasonic modes of vibration. As with conventional ultrasonic techniques, material types, probable flaw locations, and flaw orientations determine the selection of beam directions and modes of vibration. The use of EMATs and selection of the proper wave mode presuppose a knowledge of the geometry of the object; the probable location, size, orientation, and reflectivity of the expected flaws; the allowable range of EMAT lift-off; and the laws of physics governing the propagation of ultrasonic waves.

    5.5 The EMAT techniques show benefits and advantages over conventional piezoelectric ultrasonic techniques in special applications in which flexibility in the type of wave mode generation is desired. The EMATs are highly efficient in generating surface waves. The EMATs lend themselves to horizontally polarized shear wave (SH) generation more easily than do conventional ultrasonic search units. This is important since SH shear waves produce no mode conversions at interfaces and their angle of introduction can be varied from 0 to 90° simply by sweeping through various frequency RF generation. The EMATs can also be configured to produce Lamb wave modes whose use can provide the full circumferential examination of tubular products or volumetric examination of thin plate material. The EMATs also lend themselves easily to the repeatability of sensor fabrication, and hence the associated sensor response is highly reproducible.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This practice covers procedures for the use of electromagnetic acoustic transducers (EMATs) for specific ultrasonic examination applications. Recommendations are given for specific applications for using EMAT techniques to detect flaws through both surface and volumetric examinations as well as to measure thickness.

    1.2 These procedures recommend technical details and guidelines for the reliable and reproducible ultrasonic detection of flaws and thickness measurements using electromagnetic acoustic transducers for both the pulsing and receiving of ultrasonic waves. The EMAT techniques described herein can be used as a basis for assessing the serviceability of various components nondestructively, as well as for process control in manufacturing.

    1.3 These procedures cover noncontact techniques for coupling ultrasonic energy into materials through the use of electromagnetic fields. Surface, Lamb, longitudinal, and shear wave modes are discussed.

    1.4 These procedures are intended to describe specific EMAT applications. These procedures are intended for applications in which the user has determined that the use of EMAT techniques can offer substantial benefits over conventional piezoelectric search units. It is not intended that EMAT techniques should be used in applications in which conventional techniques and applications offer superior benefits (refer to Guide E1774).

    1.5 These procedures are applicable to any material in which acoustic waves can be introduced electromagnetically. This includes any material that is either electrically conductive or ferromagnetic.

    1.6 The procedures outlined in this practice address proven EMAT techniques for specific applications; they do not purport to address the only variation or all variations of EMAT techniques to address the given applications. Latitude in application techniques is offered where options are considered appropriate.

    1.7 The values stated in inch-pound units are to be regarded as the standard. The values given in parentheses are for information only.

    1.8 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

    E114 Practice for Ultrasonic Pulse-Echo Straight-Beam Contact Testing

    E494 Practice for Measuring Ultrasonic Velocity in Materials

    E543 Specification for Agencies Performing Nondestructive Testing

    E587 Practice for Ultrasonic Angle-Beam Contact Testing

    E797 Practice for Measuring Thickness by Manual Ultrasonic Pulse-Echo Contact Method

    E1316 Terminology for Nondestructive Examinations

    E1774 Guide for Electromagnetic Acoustic Transducers (EMATs)

    ASNT Standards

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

    Aerospace Industries Association Standard

    NAS410 Certification and Qualification of Nondestructive Test 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 77.040.20 (Non-destructive testing of metals)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    DOI: 10.1520/E1816-12

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