ASTM E2863 - 12

    Standard Practice for Acoustic Emission Examination of Welded Steel Sphere Pressure Vessels Using Thermal Pressurization

    Active Standard ASTM E2863 | Developed by Subcommittee: E07.04

    Book of Standards Volume: 03.03


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    Significance and Use

    Because of safety considerations, regulatory agencies (for example, U.S. Department of Transportation) require periodic tests of pressurized vessels used in commercial aviation. (see Section 49, Code of Federal Regulations). AE esting has become accepted as an alternative to the common hydrostatic proof test.

    An AE test should not be conducted for a period of one year after a common hydrostatic test. See Note 1.

    Note 1—The Kaiser effect relates to the irreversibility of acoustic emission which results in decreased emission during a second pressurization. Common hydrostatic tests use a relatively high test pressure (200 % of normal service pressure). (See Section 49, Code of Federal Regulations.) If an AE test is performed too soon after such a hydrostatic pressurization, the AE results will be insensitive below the previous maximum test pressure.

    Acoustic Emission is produced when an increasing stress level in a material causes crack growth in the material or stress related effects in a corroded surface (for example, crack growth in or between metal crystallites or spalling and cracking of oxides and other corrosion products).

    While background noise may distort AE data or render it useless, heating the vessels inside an industrial oven is an almost noise free method of pressurization. Further, source location algorithms using over-determined data sets will often allow valid tests in the presence of otherwise interfering noise sources. Background noise should be reduced or controlled but the sudden occurrence of such noise does not necessarily invalidate a test.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This practice is commonly used for periodic inspection and testing of welded steel gaseous spheres (bottles) is the acoustic emission (AE) method. AE is used in place of hydrostatic volumetric expansion testing. The periodic inspection and testing of bottles by AE testing is achieved without depressurization or contamination as is required for hydrostatic volumetric expansion testing.

    1.2 The required test pressurization is achieved by heating the bottle in an industrial oven designed for this purpose. The maximum temperature needed to achieve the AE test pressure is 250°F (121°C).

    1.3 AE monitoring of the bottle is performed with multiple sensors during the thermal pressurization.

    1.4 This practice was developed for periodic inspection and testing of pressure vessels containing Halon (UN 1044), which is commonly used aboard commercial aircraft for fire suppression. In commercial aircraft, these bottles are hermetically sealed by welding in the fill port. Exit ports are opened by explosively activated burst disks. The usage of these pressure vessels in transportation is regulated under US Department of Transportation (DOT), Code of Federal Regulations CFR 49. A DOT special permit authorizes the use of AE testing for periodic inspection and testing in place of volumetric expansion and visual inspection. These bottles are spherical with diameters ranging from 5 to 16 in. (127 to 406 mm).

    1.5 The values stated in inch-pound units are to be regarded as the standard. The values given in parentheses are mathematical conversions to SI units that are provided for information only and are not considered standard.

    1.6 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. Specific precautionary statements are given in Section 8.


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

    Code of Federal Regulations

    Section49 Code of Federal Regulations, Hazardous Materials Regulations of the Department of Transportation, Paragraphs 173.34, 173.301, 178.36, 178.37, and 178.45 Available from U.S. Government Printing Office Superintendent of Documents, 732 N. Capitol St., NW, Mail Stop: SDE, Washington, DC 20401, http://www.access.gpo.gov.

    Compressed Gas Association Standard

    PamphletC-5 Service Life, Seamless High Pressure Cylinders Available from Compressed Gas Association (CGA), 4221 Walney Rd., 5th Floor, Chantilly, VA 20151-2923, http://www.cganet.com.

    ASTM Standards

    E543 Specification for Agencies Performing Nondestructive Testing

    E650 Guide for Mounting Piezoelectric Acoustic Emission Sensors

    E976 Guide for Determining the Reproducibility of Acoustic Emission Sensor Response

    E1316 Terminology for Nondestructive Examinations

    E2075 Practice for Verifying the Consistency of AE-Sensor Response Using an Acrylic Rod

    E2374 Guide for Acoustic Emission System Performance Verification

    ASNT Standards

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


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 17.140.20 (Noise emitted by machines and equipment); 23.020.30 (Pressure vessels, gas cylinders)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    DOI: 10.1520/E2863-12

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