Simultaneous Ultrasonic Measurement of Thickness and Speed of Sound in Elastic Plates Using Coded Excitation Signals


Layer thickness and the speed of sound are important parameters for nondestructive testing applications. If one of the parameters is known, the other one can be determined by simple time-of-flight (TOF) measurement of ultrasound. However, often these parameters are both unknown. In this contribution, we examine and adapt ultrasonic imaging techniques using coded excitation signals to simultaneously measure the thickness and the speed of sound of homogeneous elastic plates of unknown material. Good axial resolution is required to measure thin samples. We present a new approach for transmission signal conditioning to improve axial resolution. This conditioning consists of enhancing spectral components that are damped by the transducer prior to transmit. Due to the long duration of coded excitation signals, pulse compression techniques are required for TOF measurements. Common pulse compression filters are discussed, and appropriate filtering of the compression waveform is designed to keep the sidelobe level (SLL) acceptably low. An experimental assessment of the presented measurement techniques reveals that the signal conditioning substantially increases the axial resolution. However, a tapered Wiener filter should be used for the best tradeoff between SLL and axial resolution. We used the proposed method to measure different plates of steel, aluminum, and polymethylmethacrylate of various thicknesses, and the results show very good agreement with the reference values, which we obtained with a micrometer screw and by standard TOF measurement, respectively. The relative error for the plate thickness is smaller than 2.2% and that for the speed of sound is smaller than 3%. It is remarkable that plate thickness could be measured down to 60% of the wavelength.

IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control
Daniel A. Kiefer
Daniel A. Kiefer
Researcher at Institut Langevin

Research in guided elastodynamic waves, fluid-structure interaction, simulation and signal processing for ultrasonic sensors and nondestructive testing.