Eddy Current Inspection (ECI) | Eddy Current Non Destructive Testing

Eddy Current Inspection (ECI) | Eddy Current Non Destructive Testing

Eddy Current Inspection (ECI)

Eddy current testing is the Non-Destructive Testing process in which electronic probes are run through the length of various types of tubes or along the surfaces of various materials in order to find flaws in them. The current produced by a probe into a conductive material is called a probe current. Eddy currents run counter to this probe current. Free electrons are manipulated to "drift" across metal by an electromagnetic field that is created, and this is what makes up eddy currents. Eddy current is used to find surface cracks, pits, subsurface cracks, corrosion on internal surfaces, and to assess the quality of the alloy and heat-treat.


Eddy Current Inspection Aircraft

In order to check for cracks, heat, or frame damage, eddy current is used in aircraft maintenance to examine the turbine shafts and vanes, wing skins, wheels, bolt holes, and spark plug bores. Aluminum aeroplanes that have been burned or overheated may also be repaired using eddy current technology. When the hardness of the same metal varies, different metre values are observed. Readings from the afflicted area are contrasted with analogous data from known unaffected places. A difference in measurements shows that the afflicted area's hardness state has changed. Eddy current is employed in aircraft manufacturing facilities to inspect castings, stampings, machine components, forgings, and extrusions.

Eddy Current Testing Advantages

Eddy current testing provides several advantages:

  • In addition to cracking, it is appropriate for volumetric defects like corrosion, wear, and significant porosities.
  • It is capable of spotting surface-breaking, close-to-surface, and far-surface flaws.
  • Eddy current testing is a technique that can be used for purposes other than finding flaws. It requires little preparation of the parts being tested, and ECT probes don't need to come into contact with the object being examined.
  • It is frequently possible to conduct an eddy current inspection without removing the surface coatings, such as paint, primer, and anodized films. It is useful for spotting pots, surface and subsurface corrosion, and heat treatment conditions.

Basic Principles

When alternating current (AC) is applied to a coil, a magnetic field forms around the coil. This magnetic field then induces a voltage with the opposite polarity inside the coil, which opposes the initial current flow. Eddy currents are induced into the specimen if this coil is positioned so that the magnetic field passes through an electrically conducting specimen. The original field's resistance to the original current's flow changes as a result of the eddy currents' creation of their own field. The amount of current that flows through the coil depends on how susceptible the specimen is to eddy currents.

We are able to determine the various physical characteristics of the test material qualitatively thanks to the amplitude and phase of this counter field, which is principally determined by the resistance and permeability of the specimen under examination. Electronic equipment resembling a Wheatstone bridge can be used to monitor the power shift caused by the eddy current field's interaction with the initial field.

Principles of Operations

When an AC is applied to a test coil, a test article will experience eddy currents (probe). Eddy currents flow in the article as a result of the AC in the coil creating an alternating magnetic field there.

A copper wire is activated by an alternating electrical current in eddy current technology's most basic configuration, the single-element eddy current testing probe. In the direction determined by the right-hand rule, this wire generates a magnetic field all around itself. The frequency of this magnetic field's oscillation matches that of the coil's current. Eddy currents are produced in the conductive material when the coil comes in contact with it because they are currents that are the opposite of those in the coil.

The course of eddy currents is disrupted by a flaw in the conductive material, producing a local magnetic field that alters the equilibrium of the system. This can be discovered by monitoring changes in coil impedance, which are a surefire way to spot faults.

With time, several technologies emerged, including those that can detect corrosion and faults in ferrous materials and that combine multiple coils to efficiently read a wide region in a single pass.

Eddy currents are influenced by flaws or variations in the thickness of the test piece, which alters the impedance of the coil appropriately. Instruments either use impedance plane charts or needle deflection to show impedance changes.

An electromagnetic induction coil's field is applied to the specimen, either directly or indirectly, and its impact on the coil's impedance or the voltage output of one or more test coils is then observed. Similar to the transmission of x-rays, heat, or ultrasound, the process of using electric fields to examine a test piece for various conditions involves the transmission of energy through the specimen.


Eddy Current Instruments

There are several different eddy current test equipment options. Three essential tasks are carried out by the eddy current test instrument: generating, receiving, and showing. The generator part of the device powers the test coil with an alternating current. The signal from the test coil is converted by the receiving section into the necessary amplitude and form for display. Using metres, video displays, chart recorders, alarms, magnetic tape, computers, and electrical or electronic relays, instrument outputs or displays can take a number of visual, auditory, storage, or transfer forms.

Eddy current test equipment needs to be calibrated using a reference standard. The material used to create a reference standard is the same as that of the object being tested. A reference standard may have features like a countersink hole, a fastener head, or a flat surface notch that are known to have defects or fissures.

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