Guided waves testing allows a long-range screening in pipes of different types and represents an effective and powerful non-destructing technique for defect detections using a limited number of points of measures. This kind of testing hence represents an appealing technique not only for the Oil and Gas industries but also for the Nuclear Industry, in particular regarding the Structural Health Monitoring of Nuclear Power Plants components. Another point of strength of this technique is that it can be applied in different configurations as the pulse-echo (the same probe is used both for transmission and signal receiving) or the pitch-catch (two symmetric probes are used one for the signal transmission and the second one for the signal receiving). In this way, the guided wave testing with magnetostrictive sensors can be reliably used for the short and long-term monitoring of Nuclear Power Plants components.

The objective of this paper is to establish a strong theoretical background to pave the way for a robust experimental investigation. In particular, after the characterization through a general theoretical analysis, the focus is on a real steam discharge pipe with a high mechanical complexity used for many years in a research facility and now dismissed. The experimental method applied is the pitch-catch configuration of two magnetostrictive sensors. Preliminary experimental results conducted on a real complex steam discharge pipe are consistent with the theoretical analysis.

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