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Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-04-124
Date: April 2005

Lab & Field Testing of AUT Systems for Steel Highway Bridges

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FOREWORD

The need for quality control and quality assurance of welds in the fabrication of steel bridge structures has led to the development of a variety of nondestructive inspection techniques. For many years, radiographic testing (RT) has been the preferred nondestructive inspection method used to ensure the quality of butt welds in the fabrication of steel plates for bridge girders. The major advantage of RT has been the capability of producing a radiograph that serves as a permanent record of the inspection. However, the significant health hazards associated with the use of radiographic methods have long been a concern.

Recent advances in computers and ultrasonic technology have led to the development of automated ultrasonic testing (AUT) techniques that produce three-dimensional images of internal conditions in the weld. The AUT image can serve as a permanent record of the inspection and allows for subjective reviews of the inspection findings. Since AUT uses ultrasonic waves, there are minimal health concerns with this method.

This report presents the findings of a study initiated by the Federal Highway Administration's Nondestructive Evaluation Validation Center (NDEVC) to evaluate the effectiveness and viability of automated ultrasonic testing techniques as a replacement for radiographic testing methods for the inspection of butt welds during fabrication of steel plates for bridge girders.

Paul Teng, Director

Office of Infrastructure Research and Development

Notice

This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for the use of the information contained in this document.

The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers' names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.

Quality Assurance Statement

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides high-quality information to serve Government, industry, and the public in a manner that promotes public understanding. Standards and policies are used to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of its information. FHWA periodically reviews quality issues and adjusts its programs and processes to ensure continuous quality improvement.

Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.

FHWA HRT-04-124

2. Government Accession No. 3 Recipient's Catalog No.
4. Title and Subtitle

Laboratory and Field Testing of Automated Ultrasonic Testing Systems for Steel Highway Bridges

5. Report Date

April 2005

6. Performing Organization Code
7. Author(s)

Ali Rezai, Ph.D., Mark Moore, P.E., Travis Green, P.E., and Glenn Washer, Ph.D., P.E.

8. Performing Organization Report No.

 

9. Performing Organization Name and Address

Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.
4165 Shackleford Road, Suite 100
Norcross, GA 30093

10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)

11. Contract or Grant No.

DTFH61-02-C-00045

12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

Office of Infrastructure Research and Development
Federal Highway Administration
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101

13. Type of Report and Period Covered

Final Report
August 2000-October 2004

14. Sponsoring Agency Code

 

15. Supplementary Notes

Contracting Officer's Technical Representative (COTR): Glenn Washer, Ph.D., PE, HRDI-10

16. Abstract

Fabrication inspection of welds is necessary to ensure the quality of workmanship during the fabrication process. The implementation of automated ultrasonic testing (AUT) methods for inspecting butt welds in steel bridge fabrication is the subject of this report. The primary goal is to evaluate the effectiveness of AUT as a replacement for radiographic testing (RT) for fabrication inspection of welds in steel highway bridges. The AUT results will be compared to RT results. The advantages of implementing AUT as compared to RT for inspecting butt welds in fabrication plants will be addressed.

 

The study consists of laboratory testing to assess the viability of the AUT system under a controlled laboratory environment and field testing at fabrication plants, during the routine fabrication process, to assess the performance and practicality of the AUT technique and system for use in the fabrication shop environment. AUT, manual ultrasonic testing (UT), and RT systems are employed side by side for fabrication inspection of welds during field testing.

17. Key Words

NDE, ultrasonic, inspection, automated ultrasonic testing, AUT, auto UT, bridge fabrication inspection, butt weld, butt joint, steel bridge, and radiographic testing.

18. Distribution Statement

No restrictions. This document is available to the public through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22161.

19. Security Classification
(of this report)

Unclassified

20. Security Classification
(of this page)

Unclassified

21. No. of Pages

139

22. Price
Form DOT F 1700.7 Reproduction of completed page authorized

SI* (Modern Metric) Conversion Factors


TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. INTRODUCTION

2. BACKGROUND

3. AUT EQUIPMENT DESCRIPTION

4. EQUIPMENT QUALIFICATION AND CALIBRATION

5. TESTING AND EVALUATION PLAN

6. RESULTS

7. CONCLUSIONS

8. REFERENCES

 

LIST OF FIGURES

  1. Rating chart plotted from table 6.3 in the AASHTO/AWS D1.5M/D1.5: 2002 Bridge Welding Code,(1) showing class A, B, C, and D decibel levels for 70-degree angle

  2. Photograph of the P-scan system showing the data acquisition system and the scanning arm holding the ultrasonic transducer

  3. Schematic diagram of the MWS-1 scanner, indicating three DOF: (1) scanner arm rotation angle a, (2) scanner arm extension L, and (3) transducer skew angle beta symbol

  4. Positioning/setup configuration of MWS-1 scanner on the plate: TSC configuration describes scanning the weld from the TSC side of the centerline

  5. Positioning/setup configuration of MWS-1 scanner on the plate: BSC configuration describes scanning the weld from the BSC side of the centerline

  6. Positioning/setup configuration of MWS-1 scanner on the plate: "Both" configuration describes scanning the weld from both sides of the centerline in a single setup

  7. Laboratory specimen S033: Schematic diagram showing two implanted cracks

  8. Laboratory specimen S033: Schematic diagram of toe crack

  9. Laboratory specimen S033: Schematic diagram of root crack

  10. Laboratory specimen S033: Radiographic image shows the two implanted cracks

  11. P-scan images of laboratory specimen S033: Displayed in logarithmic mode during scanning to ensure full coverage of the weld

  12. P-scan images of laboratory specimen S033: Displayed in linear mode after scanning (highlighting only the indications in the weld)

  13. P-scan images on three projection planes

  14. Flaw-sizing scheme of the P-scan system for the root crack in laboratory specimen S033

  15. IIW reference block used for the P-scan calibration: Type I

  16. IIW reference block used for the P-scan calibration: Type RC

  17. IIW reference block used for the P-scan calibration: Type DSC

  18. Horizontal linearity check using a straight-beam transducer and IIW type I reference block

  19. Sound entry point check: Photograph shows the transducer position on the IIW reference block

  20. Sound entry point check: A-scan screen displays the echo reflected from the 100-mm(4-inch) radius circular reflector on the IIW type I reference block

  21. Sound-path angle check: Photograph shows that the selected angle transducer is positioned on the IIW type I reference block over the line indicative of the transducer angle

  22. Sound-path angle check: A-scan screen displays the echo reflected from the 50-mm(2-inch) diameter hollow-disk reflector in the reference block

  23. Resolution check: Photograph shows that the selected angle transducer is positioned on the IIW type RC reference block over the line indicative of the transducer angle

  24. Resolution check: A-scan screen displays the three distinguishable signals reflected from the three holes

  25. Distance calibration check: Photograph shows that the angle transducer is positioned on the IIW type I reference block so that the transducer's sound entry point aligns with the radius line of the 100-mm (4-inch) reflector

  26. Distance calibration check: A-scan screen displays the signals reflected back and forth from the 100-mm (4-inch) radius circular reflector and 25.4-mm (1-inch) radius groove reflector

  27. Amplitude, sensitivity, or reference-level calibration: Photograph shows that the angle transducer is positioned on the IIW type I reference block

  28. Amplitude, sensitivity, or reference-level calibration: A-scan screen displays the signal reflected from the 1.5-mm (0.06-inch) sidewall hole that is maximized to attain a horizontal reference-line (i.e., green line) height indication

  29. Schematic diagram of specimen: Thickness transition at butt joint

  30. Schematic diagram of specimen: Width transition at butt joint

  31. AUT field testing: High Steel Structures, Inc.

  32. AUT field testing: Stupp Bridge Company

  33. Laboratory specimen S034: Schematic diagram showing two implanted cracks

  34. Laboratory specimen S034: Schematic diagram of longitudinal/centerline crack

  35. Laboratory specimen S034: Schematic diagram of transverse crack

  36. Laboratory specimen S034: Radiographic image showing the two implanted cracks

  37. Laboratory specimen S034: Top view of joint

  38. P-scan images of laboratory specimen S034: Images of longitudinal/centerline indication in the weld

  39. Laboratory specimen S125: Top view of joint

  40. Laboratory specimen S125: Radiographic image showing discontinuities in the weld

  41. P-scan images of laboratory specimen S125: From TSC side of centerline

  42. P-scan images of laboratory specimen S125: From BSC side of centerline

  43. Laboratory specimen S126: Top view of joint

  44. Laboratory specimen S126: Radiographic image showing discontinuities in the weld

  45. P-scan images of laboratory specimen S126: From TSC side of centerline

  46. P-scan images of laboratory specimen S126: From BSC side of centerline

  47. Laboratory specimen S132: View of joint

  48. Laboratory specimen S132: Radiographic image showing discontinuities in the weld

  49. P-scan images of laboratory specimen S132: From TSC side of centerline between 0 and 177.8 mm (0 and 7 inches)

  50. P-scan images of laboratory specimen S132: From BSC side of centerline between 0 and 177.8 mm (0 and 7 inches)

  51. P-scan images of laboratory specimen S132: From TSC side of centerline between 177.8 and 304.8 mm (7 and 12 inches)

  52. P-scan images of laboratory specimen S132: From BSC side of centerline between 177.8 and 304.8 mm (7 and 12 inches)

  53. Laboratory specimen S133: Top view of joint

  54. Laboratory specimen S133: Radiographic image showing discontinuities in the weld

  55. P-scan images of laboratory specimen S133

  56. Laboratory specimen S135: Side view of joint

  57. Laboratory specimen S135: Top view of joint

  58. Laboratory specimen S135: Radiographic image showing discontinuities in the weld between markers A and B

  59. Laboratory specimen S135: Radiographic image showing discontinuities in the weld between markers B and C

  60. P-scan images of laboratory specimen S135: From TSC side of centerline between 0 and 203.2 mm (0 and 8 inches)

  61. P-scan images of laboratory specimen S135: From BSC side of centerline between 0 and 203.2 mm (0 and 8 inches)

  62. LP-scan images of laboratory specimen S135: From TSC side of centerline between 203.2 and 454 mm (8 and 17.875 inches)

  63. P-scan images of laboratory specimen S135: From BSC side of centerline between 203.2 and 454 mm (8 and 17.875 inches)

  64. Laboratory specimen S136: Side view of joint

  65. Laboratory specimen S136: Top view of joint

  66. Laboratory specimen S136: Radiographic image showing discontinuities in the weld between markers A and B

  67. Laboratory specimen S136: Radiographic image showing discontinuities in the weld between markers B and C

  68. P-scan images of laboratory specimen S136: From TSC side of centerline between 0 and 203.2 mm (0 and 8 inches)

  69. P-scan images of laboratory specimen S136: From BSC side of centerline between 0 and 203.2 mm (0 and 8 inches)

  70. P-scan images of laboratory specimen S136: From TSC side of centerline between 203.2 and 454 mm (8 and 17.875 inches)

  71. P-scan images of laboratory specimen S136: From BSC side of centerline between 203.2 and 454 mm (8 and 17.875 inches)

  72. Field specimen FG38K-TF2-TopF-FCM used in blind testing: Top view of joint

  73. Field specimen FG38K-TF2-TopF-FCM used in blind testing: Side view of joint

  74. P-scan images of field specimen FG38K-TF2-TopF-FCM using 45-degree probe: From TSC side of centerline between 0 and 279.4 mm (0 and 11 inches)

  75. P-scan images of field specimen FG38K-TF2-TopF-FCM using 45-degree probe: From BSC side of centerline between 0 and 279.4 mm (0 and 11 inches)

  76. P-scan images of field specimen FG38K-TF2-TopF-FCM using 45-degree probe: From TSC side of centerline between 279.4 and 558.8 mm (11 and 22 inches)

  77. P-scan images of field specimen FG38K-TF2-TopF-FCM using 45-degree probe: From BSC side of centerline between 279.4 and 558.8 mm (11 and 22 inches)

  78. P-scan images of field specimen FG38K-TF2-TopF-FCM using 45-degree probe: From TSC side of centerline between 558.8 and 857.25 mm (22 and 33.75 inches)

  79. P-scan images of field specimen FG38K-TF2-TopF-FCM using 45-degree probe: From BSC side of centerline between 558.8 and 857.25 mm (22 and 33.75 inches)

  80. Radiographic image of field specimen FG38K-TF2-TopF-FCM: Section A-B

  81. Radiographic image of field specimen FG38K-TF2-TopF-FCM: Section B-C

  82. Radiographic image of field specimen FG38K-TF2-TopF-FCM: Section C-D

  83. Field specimen G5G-TF1-TopF: Top view of joint

  84. Field specimen G5G-TF1-TopF: Side view of joint

  85. Radiographic image of field specimen G5G-TF1-TopF: Section A-B

  86. Radiographic image of field specimen G5G-TF1-TopF: Section B-C

  87. P-scan images of field specimen G5G-TF1-TopF using 70-degree probe: From TSC side of centerline

  88. P-scan images of field specimen G5G-TF1-TopF using 70-degree probe: From BSC side of centerline

  89. Field specimen G2G-CF1-BottF-FCM: Top view of joint

  90. Field specimen G2G-CF1-BottF-FCM: Side view of joint

  91. Radiographic image of field specimen G2G-CF1-BottF-FCM: Section A-B

  92. Radiographic image of field specimen G2G-CF1-BottF-FCM: Section B-C

  93. Radiographic image of field specimen G2G-CF1-BottF-FCM: Section C-D

  94. Radiographic image of field specimen G2G-CF1-BottF-FCM: Section D-E

  95. P-scan images of field specimen G2G-CF1-BottF-FCM using 45-degree probe: From TSC side of centerline

  96. P-scan images of field specimen G2G-CF1-BottF-FCM using 45-degree probe: From BSC side of centerline

  97. Field specimen FG26G-TF2-BottF-FCM: Top view of joint

  98. Field specimen FG26G-TF2-BottF-FCM: Side view of joint

  99. Radiographic image of field specimen FG26G-TF2-BottF-FCM

  100. P-scan images of field specimen FG26G-TF2-BottF-FCM using 70-degree probe: From TSC side of centerline

  101. P-scan image of field specimen FG26G-TF2-BottF-FCM using 70-degree probe: From BSC side of centerline

  102. Field specimen FG16D-TF1-BottF-FCM: Top view of joint

  103. Field specimen FG16D-TF1-BottF-FCM: Side view of joint

  104. Radiographic image of field specimen FG16D-TF1-BottF-FCM

  105. P-scan images of field specimen FG16D-TF1-BottF-FCM: From TSC side of centerline using 60-degree probe

  106. P-scan images of field specimen FG16D-TF1-BottF-FCM: From BSC side of centerline using 60-degree probe

  107. P-scan images of field specimen FG16D-TF1-BottF-FCM: From BSC side of centerline using 70-degree probe

  108. Field specimen FG36K-TF2-TopF-FCM: Top view of joint

  109. Field specimen FG36K-TF2-TopF-FCM: Side view of joint

  110. Radiographic image of field specimen FG36K-TF2-TopF-FCM: Section C-D

  111. P-scan images of field specimen FG36K-TF2-TopF-FCM using 45-degree probe: From TSC side of centerline

  112. P-scan images of field specimen FG36K-TF2-TopF-FCM using 45-degree probe: From BSC side of centerline

  113. Field specimen FG37K-TF3-BottF-FCM: Top view of joint

  114. Field specimen FG37K-TF3-BottF-FCM: Side view of joint

  115. Radiographic image of field specimen FG37K-TF3-BottF-FCM: Section C-D

  116. P-scan images of field specimen FG37K-TF3-BottF-FCM: Scan using 45-degree probe

  117. P-scan images of field specimen FG37K-TF3-BottF-FCM: Scan using 70-degree probe

  118. HSS procedural test plate TP2: Top view of joint

  119. HSS procedural test plate TP2: P-scan images from BSC side of centerline

  120. Field specimen FG40M-TF1-Curved-FCM: Top view of joint

  121. Field specimen FG40M-TF1-Curved-FCM: Side view of joint

  122. Radiographic image of field specimen FG40M-TF1-Curved-FCM: Section B-C

  123. P-scan images of field specimen FG40M-TF1-Curved-FCM: From TSC side of centerline between 0 and 228.6 mm (0 and 9 inches)

  124. P-scan images of field specimen FG40M-TF1-Curved-FCM: From BSC side of centerline between 0 and 228.6 mm (0 and 9 inches)

  125. P-scan images of field specimen FG40M-TF1-Curved-FCM: From TSC side of centerline between 228.6 and 457.2 mm (9 and 18 inches)

  126. P-scan images of field specimen FG40M-TF1-Curved-FCM: From BSC side of centerline between 228.6 and 457.2 mm (9 and 18 inches)

  127. P-scan images of field specimen FG40M-TF1-Curved-FCM: From TSC side of centerline between 457.2 and 685.8 mm (18 and 27 inches)

  128. P-scan images of field specimen FG40M-TF1-Curved-FCM: From BSC side of centerline between 457.2 and 685.8 mm (18 and 27 inches)

  129. P-scan images of field specimen FG40M-TF1-Curved-FCM: From TSC side of centerline between 685.8 and 993.8 mm (27 and 39.125 inches)

  130. P-scan images of field specimen FG40M-TF1-Curved-FCM: From BSC side of centerline between 685.8 and 993.8 mm (27 and 39.125 inches)

  131. Field specimen FG1A-TF2-BottF-FCM: Top view of joint

  132. Field specimen FG1A-TF2-BottF-FCM: Side view of joint

  133. P-scan images of field specimen FG1A-TF2-BottF-FCM: From TSC side of centerline using 60-degree probe

  134. P-scan images of field specimen FG1A-TF2-BottF-FCM: From TSC side of centerline using 70-degree probe

  135. P-scan images of field specimen FG1A-TF2-BottF-FCM: From BSC side of centerline using 70-degree probe

  136. Field specimen G3VHW-CF1-BottF: Top view of joint

  137. Field specimen G3VHW-CF1-BottF: Radiographic image of section A-B

  138. Field specimen G3VHW-CF1-BottF: P-scan images from TSC side of centerline using 70-degree probe

  139. Field specimen G5VHW-CF1-BottF: Top view of joint

  140. Field specimen G5VHW-CF1-BottF: Side view of joint

  141. Field specimen G5VHW-CF1-BottF: Radiographic image of section B-C

  142. P-scan images of field specimen G5VHW-CF1-BottF: From TSC side of centerline using 45-degree probe

  143. P-scan images of field specimen G5VHW-CF1-BottF: From BSC side of centerline using 45-degree probe

  144. P-scan images of field specimen G5VHW-CF1-BottF: From BSC side of centerline using 70-degree probe

  145. Transducer articulation testing: Test setup

  146. Transducer articulation testing: Various articulation angle wedges

  147. Influence of transducer articulation angle on the maximum amplitude of the reflected signal

LIST OF TABLES

  1. Description of laboratory specimens

  2. Description of manufactured defects in the category 1 laboratory specimens

  3. Description of defects found by manual UT in the category 2 laboratory specimens

  4. Description of field specimens tested at HSS

  5. Description of field specimens tested at Stupp

  6. Inspection results of laboratory specimens

  7. Inspection results of blind field testing

  8. Inspection results of the first field testing at HSS

  9. Inspection results of the second field testing at HSS

  10. Inspection results of the third field testing at HSS

  11. Inspection results of the fourth field testing at HSS

  12. Inspection results of field testing at Stupp

  13. Consolidating the results of laboratory testing using laboratory specimens with rejectable defects

  14. Consolidating the results of field testing using field specimens with rejectable defects

  15. Assessing the detectability and rejectability of three inspection methods in the laboratory

  16. Assessing the detectability and rejectability of three inspection methods in the field

 

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