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Physics of Ultrasonic Testing Techniques

Ultrasonic inspection techniques for rail-wheel-systems

Safety related parts of rail-wheel systems are the main focus of non-destructive testing. Of particular interest are the wheelset and the rail itself. In this area there is a distinct need for the development of high performance and speed, automatic ultrasonic inspection systems.

Division 8.4 has a long term co-operation with the railway industry on the development of complex inspection techniques. The main objectives relate to probe design, positioning and ergonomically designed concepts for optimising inspection results.

Examples for automatic inspection concepts

Shafts inspection

Phased array techniques are used for the non-destructive testing of shafts and shafts with drilled holes. The shafts surface and its inner volume are in the amount of inspection.

Inspection results are normally presented using customised software e.g. reconstructions using time displacement (TD) scans on the shaft's uncoiled surface.

Wheel disc inspection

Locomotives' wheel discs are inspected with a transmitter receiver combination in a special V-arrangement consisting of two phased array probes. The wheel rim is tested with a phased array pulse echo probe.


The inspection results of each discs surface are displayed and computed using echotomography algorithms:

Rail inspection

The analysis of defects found in rails with an inspection train can be performed using phased array techniques:

The results of non-destructive testing data are displayed as TD-scans:


Division 8.4 | Physics of Ultrasonic Testing Techniques



Acoustical and Electrical Methods

Thomas Heckel
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