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Ultrasonic inspection is a nondestructive method in which beams of high-frequency acoustic energy are introduced into a material to detect surface and subsurface flaws, to measure the thickness of the material, and to measure the distance to a flaw. This article provides a detailed account of ultrasonic flaw detectors, including ultrasonic transducers and types of search units and couplants. The article describes pulse-echo and transmission inspection methods and data interpretation. The general characteristics of ultrasonic waves and the factors influencing ultrasonic inspection are also addressed. The article concludes with a review of the advantages and disadvantages of ultrasonic inspection compared with other methods applications of the technique.

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