Standard Historical Last Updated: Aug 20, 2012
ASTM E1211-07

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

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.


1.1 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 E 1002), or sensors attached to the system via acoustic waveguides (for additional information, see Terminology E 1316), 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 The values stated in inch-pound units are to be regarded as the standard. SI units are provided for information only.

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.

Contact Sales
Reprints and Permissions
Reprints and copyright permissions can be requested through the
Copyright Clearance Center
Book of Standards Volume: 03.03
Developed by Subcommittee: E07.04
Pages: 5
DOI: 10.1520/E1211-07
ICS Code: 17.140.01