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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P01951X/1
Title: Stochastic ultrasonic scattering from the tips of rough cracks
Principal Investigator: Lowe, Professor M
Other Investigators:
Craster, Professor R
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Amec Foster Wheeler UK BAE Systems EDF
National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) Rolls-Royce Plc (UK)
Department: Mechanical Engineering
Organisation: Imperial College London
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 April 2017 Ends: 31 August 2020 Value (£): 415,369
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Acoustics Eng. Dynamics & Tribology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Aerospace, Defence and Marine Energy
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
01 Dec 2016 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 1 and 2 December 2016 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The inspection of safety-critical components in the nuclear power industry depends on procedures that can detect defects to a given threshold of severity; the acceptance process for this is known as inspection qualification. Inspection qualification in the UK is a highly developed formal activity, and is representative of the best practice in the world. However it can be very conservative if there is uncertainty in the expected measured response. A vital example is the scattering of ultrasound from the tips of rough cracks, such as thermal fatigue cracks or stress corrosion cracks. Ultrasound scattering from crack tips is widely exploited to measure crack sizes, but while the nature of the scattering is well understood for smooth cracks, scattering from the tips of rough cracks can differ significantly, and is not readily predictable. Consequently the qualification of ultrasound inspections for rough cracks has to be subject to severely conservative assumptions, and even so there remains a risk of misinterpreting findings.

This project aims to bring understanding to the nature of the scattering, and to develop predictive modelling tools, such that these conservative assumptions can be safely eroded and the reliability of inspections improved. This will enable industry to reduce the costs of manufacturing and repairing, and down-time from outages, as well as improving confidence in the safe operation of safety-critical plant. The project will build on a strong UK heritage of the knowledge of ultrasound scattering, including recent work by the proposers on the stochastic nature of wave reflections from rough surfaces. The key aim is to deliver a new analytical approach that will predict the statistically expected scattering from the tips of cracks of given characteristics of roughness. The work will also include experimental investigation of real cracks and numerical modelling studies. The new ideas will be applied to the primary ultrasound inspection techniques of Time-of-Flight-Diffraction, Pulse-Echo, and array imaging. The work will be undertaken as a collaboration between researchers in Mechanical Engineering and in Mathematics at Imperial College.

The proposal is being submitted within the UK Research Centre in NDE (RCNDE) to its targeted research programme. The proposal has been reviewed internally by the RCNDE, approved by the RCNDE board, and supported financially by five RCNDE industrial members.
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk