SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1992

An Acoustic Emissions Testing Program


Alabama Power Company started AE Testing in 1983, after suffering a catastrophic failure of a fiberglass boom. As with most new technology we felt some skepticism but were soon sold on this new method of listening inside the fiberglass components This paper will give the details of our testing program as it started and discuss the changes that have taken place over the past seven years. It will include statistics concerning the number of failures and the percentage of the fleet that failed (9% 1983, less than 1% 1990). The paper will discuss the improvement in the mechanics condition of our fleet as a direct result of the AE Testing Program as we see it. Included in the paper will be at least two case histories of booms that failed the AE Test and the final solution. It will also cover what we feel is the actual value of our AE Testing Program as it has not only given us a safer fleet but has also reduced our maintenance costs by detecting problems while they are in the early stages, allowing us to make minor repairs rather than finding the defects after they have developed into a major repair. Today we require that all new equipment pass an acoustic emission test prior to acceptance by us. By the use of acoustic emission testing we have been able to improve our preventive maintenance program with the focus on areas of concern. We know and understand more about the unique characteristics of fiberglass and steel components through the use of AE Testing.

Author Information

Largin, CR
Colvin, JE
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Developed by Committee: F18
Pages: 22–28
DOI: 10.1520/STP15857S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5199-4
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1433-3