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9 June 2000 Thermographic imaging of material loss in boiler water-wall tubing by application of scanning line source
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Localized wall thinning due to corrosion in utility boiler water-wall tubing is a significant inspection concern for boiler operators. Historically, conventional ultrasonics has been used for inspection of these tubes. This technique has proven to be very manpower and time intensive. This has resulted in a 'spot check' approach to inspections, documenting thickness measurements over a relatively small percentage of the total boiler wall area. NASA Langley Research Center has developed a thermal NDE technique designed to image and quantitatively characterize the amount of material thinning present in steel tubing. The technique involves the movement of a thermal line source across the outer surface of the tubing followed by an infrared imager at a fixed distance behind the line source. Quantitative images of the material loss due to corrosion are reconstructed from measurements of the induced surface temperature variations. This paper will present a discussion of the development of the thermal imaging system as well as the techniques used to reconstruct images of flaws. The application of the thermal line source coupled with the analysis technique represents a significant improvement in the inspection speed for large structures such as boiler water-walls. A theoretical basis for the technique will be presented which explains the quantitative nature of the technique. Further, a dynamic calibration system will be presented for the technique that allows the extraction of thickness information from the temperature data. Additionally, the results of applying this technology to actual water-wall tubing samples and in situ inspections will be presented.
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K. Elliott Cramer and William P. Winfree "Thermographic imaging of material loss in boiler water-wall tubing by application of scanning line source", Proc. SPIE 3995, Nondestructive Evaluation of Highways, Utilities, and Pipelines IV, (9 June 2000);

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