What's different about the talks in 2018
We have taken feedback from the focus groups and tried to implement some of the suggestions in the way that the open days run, as will be discussed at the meeting.
At the CIU we are always trying to look for new ways to help CIU members with access to R&D and funding - a new CIU member Inventya will describe their model for helping CIU members who wish to apply to various funding bodies for research funding. We have also been working with the University to find new ways of bringing research costs down for CIU members and we will discuss a new model for supporting industry with R&D at lower costs than were possible previously.
We have asked some CIU members to describe some of the ways that they have worked with the CIU and what they got out of it. Unfortunately much of what we do with CIU members has to remain confidential, but there are some specific and generic examples that will be discussed in a few case studies.
Some of what's new in the demonstrations for 2018
Wetted ultrasonic arrays for flow measurement:
We will demonstrate the outputs from a recent EU funded project in which we developed a 4x4 ultrasonic transducer array for flow measurement, in which the angle of the ultrasonic beam can be adjusted to compensate for beam drift caused by high flow rates. The demonstration array is driven by a bench-top ultrasonic phased array controller developed by one of the project partners, whilst another project partner developed a low cost, more portable FPGA based systems for the phase array electronics.
Flexural ultrasonic transducers for operation at "high" frequencies, and at high pressures of up to 200 bar:
Conventional flexural, ultrasonic transducers are often quoted as only being able to operate up to frequencies of 60 kHz, but if one understands how they operate it is possible to drive them with low voltages an operate them at frequencies of up to hundreds of kHz - "high" frequencies for flexural transducers. One of the attractive features of flexural ultrasonic transducers is their incredibly high efficiency, requiring low voltages to drive them and yielding large amplitude signals on reception, but one of the limiting factors to date has been their ability to operate at high pressures. We are developing transducers for operation at pressures of up to 200 bar, with high efficiency. There are many different potential applications for these sensors in NDT, metrology and flow measurement applications, and we will show preliminary results from this research.
Wideband, electromagentically driven flexural, ultrasonic transducers:
One of the challenges with operating flexural transducers based on piezoelectric elements is that their construction can currently limit the temperature of operation and they are generally narrowband devices that only operate efficiently at a resonant frequency. Building on previous CIU research we have developed a new design of electromagnetically driven flexural sensor that is both highly efficient, requiring low electrical power and voltage to operate, and is also a very wideband device, capable at operating over a wide frequency range.
High temperature piezoelectric transducers: These transducers use materials that are designed to operate continuously at temperatures of up to 450C, and beyond in some cases. The piezoelectric materials used are lower efficiency than PZT, but they can survive high temperature operation. We have also done some preliminary work with couplants that are often used as elevated temperature or high temperature couplants, uncovering a range of different behaviour.
High temperature Electromagnetic Acoustic Transducers for operation on pipes at up to 500C:
These ultrasonic transducers have been designed to attach to ferritic steel pipes operating at elevated temperatures, using the magnetite oxide coating that grows on the surface of the pipe to dramatically enhance the operational efficiency of EMAT transducers. The entire prove is designed to withstand continuous operation at high temperatures without any cooling and required us to develop new techniques for fabricating the internal designs of the devices. In continuous trials that ran for almost 9 months on a petrochemical refinery and the sensors still operated without any sign of degradation, with the trial only ending due to the decommissioning of the pipes under test.
EMAT array systems for inspection of very thick samples:
As part of a project with partners in the steel industry, we have developed current pulsers for EMATs that are capable of driving a temporally short (~1 microseconds) pulse of up to 1000 amps through an EMAT coil. The system that will be demonstrated is a 4 channel driver, where the time delay between each pulser can be electronically controlled for beam steering type applications, or for enhancing surface wave generation. This short time, high current pulse has opened up new opportunities for EMAT NDT where additional power is required to generate waves on difficult to inspect samples or even for large stand-offs, having applications in areas from the metals industry to inspecting fill levels in food and drink containers.
In some of the cases above, the technology is already licensed to a third party, but for the majority of cases the CIU is looking to license the technology and is open to discussions with CIU members in the first instance. For some of the technology, we cannot currently go into technical detail on specific designs due to IP confidentiality and restrictions at this point in time, but we wanted to give CIU members and prospective CIU members first sight of these latest developments.
There is also a range of other developments that the CIU has made with industrial collaborators who have approached us for assistance, but due to commercial confidentiality we are unable to go into any detail about those at this point in time.