Electromagnetic non-destructive testing for inspecting the microstructure of high performance ferritic steels

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Electrical and Electronic Engineering


New techniques to measure the microstructure of a material in a non-contact non-destructive fashion can lead to a dramatic improvement in the understanding of the material and its behavior during processing and in-service, and an ability to control or predict the material properties. This project will consider advanced magnetic techniques for inspecting the microstructure of high value ferritic steels during manufacture and in service, focusing on applications of strategic importance to industry. The key aims are to establish robust relationships between microstructure and the magnetic properties and to devise sensors which exploit these relationships for use in the field.

Outline Project Scope:
The aim of this doctoral research is to develop new NDE techniques for the inspection and monitoring of microstructure on-line during pipe manufacture. Within this field, the project will target research in electromagnetic techniques, which is a specialism for both the University and industry partners.

The specific objectives for the development of an NDE technique would be (deliverables in brackets):
1. Induction - become familiar with the current existing research and relevant tools.
2. Conduct a literature search for any recent developments elsewhere. This will include one or more electromagnetic and ultrasonic methods for particular aspects of material characterisation (This will form part of the end of first year transfer report).
3. Further formulation and refinement of theoretical approaches (for simplified cases) and, in the case of EM methods, full 3D FEM models for the forward problems using COMSOL and Ansys Maxwell focussing on a particular case study (Report with appended models).
4. Production or acquisition of suitable reference materials and laboratory calibration samples of components with known characteristics or for instance known conductivity profiles. (Hardware / presentation).
5. Design and construction of experimental sensors with appropriate signal conditioning and data acquisition electronics. (Demonstration to supervisors).
6. Experimental results of the performance limits of the new sensors in laboratory conditions (Report / presentation).
7. Validation of the sensor system response on the laboratory rigs against the predictions from the FEM and theoretical models of the forward problem. (Report and presentation).
8. Development of the solution to the inverse problem by adapting techniques used in inverse problems or data analysis (Report with appended MatLab models).
9. Error analysis of the complete inverse solution and validation against theoretical results and experimental data from the laboratory test rig (Report and presentation).
10. If appropriate, assist in the design and construction of appropriate tools for deployment in an industrial environment, subject to progress (Hardware with CAD drawings). If appropriate, support deployment of the technique on site and analysis of the collected data.
11. Test programme of the complete system, evaluation of reports and recommendations for future deployment of the technology (Report and presentation).
12. Production of PhD thesis (Thesis and Thesis defence)
13. Provision of quarterly (or bi-yearly) progress reports to Tenaris and attending of quarterly (or bi-yearly) progress meetings.

The plan is designed around the experience at the University and Tenaris on electromagnetic NDT techniques. In addition, the University of Manchester has experience of successfully applying methods of this type to several industrial applications and has developed a series of electromagnetic finite element method (FEM) models to quantify the response of various sensor designs. Consequently, we have increasing confidence in the potential of these approaches. However, if better alternative solutions are encountered, or current techniques prove to be infeasible in practice, then the project plan will be adapted to address these developments.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/T517689/1 01/10/2019 31/03/2025
2325157 Studentship EP/T517689/1 01/09/2019 30/12/2023 Alasdair Regan