Plant in the power generation, petrochemical and metals processing industries is subject to increasingly onerous operational and regulatory requirements. Where plant that operates at high temperature is involved, the costs associated with shutdown for planned or unplanned inspection to meet these requirements can be particularly high. The ability to perform condition monitoring or flaw detection at on-line plant temperatures would enable plant to remain in operation for longer periods, reduce the risk of damage from thermal cycling associated with periodic shutdowns and allow shutdowns to be completed more quickly. The associated minimizing of the loss of revenue caused by frequent and lengthy shutdowns is a highly attractive proposition to the plant operators. This paper reports on progress in the Ultrasmart Project, which is being undertaken by a consortium of UK companies and aims to address the problems associated with performing ultrasonic inspection on pressure vessels and piping at temperatures exceeding ∼350°C. A brief review of the state of current industry capabilities is given and then details of the developments investigated within Ultrasmart are reported and discussed. These include: • Liquid cooled transducers and automated scanning mechanisms suitable for deployment on components with surface temperatures up to ∼500°C. • Permanently mounted piezoelectric transducers suitable for long term flaw growth or component thickness monitoring at temperatures up to ∼750°C. • Techniques, procedures and protocols necessary to achieve reliable and quantifiable inspection capability at high temperatures. • Use of a novel non-resonant thin film Aluminum Nitride (AlN) transducer for in-situ component monitoring.

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