Magnetostrictive Transducer Performs Accurate Structural Health Monitoring

Southwest Research Institute’s latest generation of its patented magnetostrictive sensor withstands extreme temperatures, automatically adjusts frequencies, and incorporates a stronger magnet. The compact magnetostrictive transducer (MsT) more accurately detects potential problems in oil, gas and chemical industry metal and nonmetal structures such as pipelines, storage tanks and anchor rods.

 

The circular, hard-shell MsT sensor clamps around pipes and other structures and is available in circumferences ranging from 1.5 in. to 70 in. It detects material flaws, corrosion and areas at risk of developing cracks and leaks. At just 1.1 inches wide, MsT uses less shear-wave couplant, a gel that aids energy transmission, and requires less clamping force when dry coupled, meaning when no couplant is used.

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The sensor can be permanently installed on a structure to provide ongoing monitoring. A battery-operated hub collects and wirelessly transmits data from the sensor and can connect to multiple sensors at once. The hub can be programmed to change the sensors' frequencies automatically to meet industry safety standards, which require a structure be tested using at least two frequencies.  

 

The MsT is designed to withstand up to +500°C (+932°F). It can be installed on extremely hot structures to detect weaknesses and can also withstand temperatures significantly below freezing.

 

Additionally, the sensor can now scan a structure in segments, providing more thorough inspections. MsT has also made the time-consuming task of shifting from transversal to longitudinal guided waves easier with the flip of a built-in switch. Longitudinal waves are ideal for buried pipes, while transversal waves are better for inspecting structures filled with fluids.

 

This past spring, the American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT) presented Vinogradov with the 2018 Research Recognition for Innovation Award for the MsT sensor. The award recognizes highly distinguished breakthroughs in nondestructive evaluation and testing research. Learn more by visiting SwRI's nondestructive evaluation solutions.

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