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Understanding How Sound Waves Travel and Why This Matters for Safety

calendar Dec. 02, 2022user-iconTXNDT

In the world of nondestructive testing, the complex processes by which technicians inspect different assets and components can involve a lot of hidden science.

Every technician knows that high-quality nondestructive testing training is a critical component of becoming a skilled NDT technician. While experience and training will earn you an NDT certification, depth of knowledge separates the average technician from a master.

Whether it is magnetic particle testing, liquid penetrant testing, or ultrasonic testing, the means through which a discontinuity is indicated goes a lot deeper than just the procedures of the inspection method itself.

In the case of ultrasonic testing, the ways in which sound waves travel is a determining factor in detecting and locating a flaw or inconsistency in a component. If you want to stand out in the crowd with your advanced understanding of nondestructive testing and the science behind methods of testing, here is your crash course on ultrasonic testing: understanding how sound waves travel and why this matters for safety.

How Do Sound Waves Travel?

As you may have learned in a high school or college physics class, sound waves are particles produced by vibration that travel in waves.

According to the BBC, vibrations “causes nearby air particles to vibrate, which in turn causes other nearby air particles to vibrate. These vibrating particles make up a sound wave.”

The human ear hears sound because the vibrating particles hit the eardrum, causing it to vibrate as well and receive the sound.

Sound waves travel fastest through solids and liquids. When traveling through the air, sound waves will travel at 343 meters per second.

While sound waves travel fastest in solids, solids can either reflect or absorb the sound. Hard surfaces will reflect sounds, but soft surfaces like fabrics will absorb sound. It is the reflection of sound off of hard surfaces like metals that is critical to identifying flaws in components under inspection.

Safety Through Nondestructive Testing

If you have even had an ultrasound at a doctor’s office, you have experienced the benefits that ultrasonic testing offers to nondestructive testing technicians.

In the process of ultrasonic testing, high-frequency sound waves are introduced to the component under inspection through a piezoelectric crystal transducer. When the sound waves travel through the part, the sound waves will bounce back if the waves hit material with a different acoustical impedance.

It is critical that these sound waves indicate to the nondestructive testing technician whether or not a flaw is present. Based on these indications, technicians can determine the location of a flaw by examining the time of travel. This knowledge will help flaws to be identified and repaired more quickly, keeping assets functioning safely and efficiently.

Contact TXNDT Today!

Nondestructive testing is crucial for maintaining the safety of assets in countless industries. For NDT technicians, a thorough understanding of nondestructive testing methods and the science behind the safety they ensure.

If you are looking for nondestructive testing services to support your business and protect your assets or to become a technician yourself through NDT technician training, it’s crucial to choose the right company or school to meet your NDT needs.

TXNDT is a cut above the rest with superior NDT courses, knowledgeable instructors, and hands-on coursework to prepare all emerging technicians for NDT certification. Check us out online or give us a call today at 281-231-0001 to see how TXNDT can work for you!