Ultrasonic imaging is taking a larger and larger role in the NDE of turbine engine materials and in support of fracture mechanics calculations. It is also playing an increasing role in quality and process control. For most fracture toughness calculations, it is necessary to establish the accuracy with which a flaw’s size and shape are imaged, whether single or multiple flaws are involved, and the spacing of multiple flaws. Because of these requirements, resolution has become an issue as well as detection sensitivity. There are a number of resolution targets that can provide this type of calibration information for an ultrasonic imaging system. A fused quartz USAF 1951 target, similar to the patterns used in this work, was first used by Gilmore (1986), but Gilmore’s pattern was superficial and subsurface evaluations were limited to focusing on the pattern from the opposite side of the blank and monitoring the reflection from what is now the target backwall. Work by Peyton (1977) did produce buried targets in titanium samples, but there was no practical method to produce buried targets in high-temperature ceramics until the techniques developed by Rodel and Glaeser (1987) were used to produce the targets described in this paper.
Optically transparent resolution targets make it feasible to visually verify that the resolution target has been correctly fabricated. An image of the target with a candidate ultrasonic transducer then permits quantitative image resolution estimates to be made even when the interrogating acoustic beam contains significant refractive aberration. This is important because useful subsurface images can be acquired with the use of acoustic beams that are aberrated to the point that diffraction-limited beamwidth calculations are meaningless.
This work also demonstrates how the interdisciplinary skills of manufacturing companies can be combined with those of universities to produce results that any one of the individual members of the team could not have produced alone, without significant increases in labor, time, and cost.