Standard Historical Last Updated: Jul 07, 2017
ASTM B548-03(2009)

Standard Test Method for Ultrasonic Inspection of Aluminum-Alloy Plate for Pressure Vessels

Significance and Use

A number of factors such as the condition of the entry and back surfaces of the plate, the inclination of the ultrasonic beam with respect to the entry surface, and the performance characteristics of the test system may cause either a reduction of isolated indications or a substantial loss of back reflection and thereby could seriously impair the reliability of the test procedure outlined in this standard.

Accurate evaluations of discontinuity size also may be limited significantly by variations in beam characteristics which exist in most search units. For this reason, discontinuity size as determined by the test procedure outlined in this method is regarded as apparent or estimated in recognition of the limited quantitative value of the measurement.

Because a large number of interacting variables in a test system can adversely influence the results of an ultrasonic test, the actual quantitative effects of detected discontinuities upon the mechanical properties of the inspected plate are difficult to establish. Consequently, this ultrasonic inspection method is not applicable as an exclusive indicator of the ultimate quality and performance of pressure vessels but provides a reliable control of plate quality to avoid failure during the forming process for fabrication of vessels.


1.1 This test method covers pulse-echo ultrasonic inspection of aluminum-alloy plate of thickness equal to or greater than 0.500 in. (12.7 mm) for use in the fabrication of pressure vessels. The ultrasonic test is employed to detect gross internal discontinuities oriented in a direction parallel to the rolled surface such as cracks, ruptures, and laminations, and to provide assurance that only plate that is free from rejectable discontinuities is accepted for delivery.

1.2 The inspection method and acceptance criteria included in this standard shall be limited to plate of the following aluminum alloys: 1060, 1100, 3003, Alclad 3003, 3004, Alclad 3004, 5050, 5052, 5083, 5086, 5154, 5254, 5454, 5456, 5652, 6061, and Alclad 6061.

1.3 This test method applies only to ultrasonic tests using pulsed longitudinal waves which are transmitted and received by a search unit containing either a single crystal or a combination of electrically interconnected multiple crystals. Ultrasonic tests employing either the through-transmission or the angle-beam techniques are not included.

1.4 This test method shall be used when ultrasonic inspection as prescribed herein is required by the contract, purchase order, or referenced plate specification.

1.5 The values stated in inch-pound units are to be regarded as 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.

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Book of Standards Volume: 02.02
Developed by Subcommittee: B07.03
Pages: 5
DOI: 10.1520/B0548-03R09
ICS Code: 77.150.10