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Industrial Visit to USL

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Physics Industrial Visit to USL USL, Ultrasonic Sciences Ltd, are a small specialised company dealing with the design and manufacture of machines dealing in ultrasonics for industrial use. These applications could include the testing for faults and for correct width in areas where safety is paramount, for example the blades of a jet engine and connections on silicon chips. The ultrasonic is applied for the testing, by emitting a sound burst generated by a piezoelectric transducer, into the object being tested, then analysing the reflections. Why use Ultrasound for this purpose? Ultrasound has the benefit of being a non-destructive method of testing, and if necessary can pick up extremely small faults in a material and tell you precisely where those faults are. That is why USL's machines are used to make wings for airbus and fan blades for Rolls Royce jet engines. What do USL do? USL produce (design and make) the three main components for an ultrasonic testing machine. These include: The machine to move the transducer over the object. The electrical system for amplification and analysis. The control system The two areas of physics which are of significant importance, are: * The mechanics of the arm used to move the transducer over the object at the fastest speed. ...read more.


This has allowed the arm to move at its maximum acceleration of 4m/s/s, however this would never be used in practise as the movement causes so much turbulence in the water tray containing the object that the sound waves get distorted, the common top acceleration used is only 1m/s/s. Ultrasonics The ultrasound is used when the piezoelectric crystal in the transducer turns electrical energy into mechanical energy in the form of vibrations. This is caused by its rapid expansion and contraction as an alternating current is passed across it. The practical upshot of this is that it produces ultrasonic sound waves. A Transducer The most common use of the transducers are for the testing technique called ''Acoustic microscopy'' where the object for testing is placed in a tray of water and the transducer is passed over the top of it. As it travels the transducer is emitting and detecting ultrasonic waves, these penetrate the object to a depth, which depends upon the frequency being used. Where the wave hits any boundaries it partially reflects, the level to which it reflects depends upon the relative difference between the medium it is travelling from to the medium it is travelling to. ...read more.


For example if you where to use a frequency of 100MHz, then effective penetration could only be about 1mm. The ultrasound technology is also used for medical examination, for example it can produce pictures of unborn babies. In this case the transducer is passed over the mothers stomach with a gel layer to eliminate any travel through air. Ultrasound in this case has the advantage of being completely harmless for the patient as opposed to the alternative technique, using X-rays, which eventually can lead to cancer with high doses of radiation. The future Ultrasonics have a secure future as a safe and reliable method for testing, but as I have already stated corporate industry is always looking to increase prophets, one way to do this is to decrease the time taken. Water has reached its maximum use as the transmitting medium as if the transducer moves any faster turbulence alters the results. So in the future decreasing the mass of the supporting arm and experimenting with new mediums may increase the acceleration. Another area for improvement would be to try and improve the accuracy of deeper penetration, this would involve finding ways to increase the strength of high frequencies, or improve the accuracy of the lower frequencies. ?? ?? ?? ?? Andrew Cook 1 Industrial Visit ...read more.

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