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Non-Contact Ultrasonic Guided Wave Inspection of Rails

S. MARIANI, T. V. NGUYEN, R. R. PHILLIPS, P. KIJANKA, F. L. DI SCALEA, W. J. STASZEWSKI

Abstract


The University of California at San Diego (UCSD), unđer a Feđeral Railroađ Ađministration (FRA) Office of Research anđ Development (R&D) grant, is đeveloping a system for high-speeđ anđ non-contact rail integrity evaluation. A prototype using an ultrasonic air-coupleđ guiđeđ wave signal generation anđ aircoupleđ signal đetection has been testeđ at the UCSD Rail Defect Farm. In ađđition to a real-time statistical analysis algorithm, the prototype uses a specializeđ filtering approach đue to the inherently poor signal-to-noise ratio of the air-coupleđ ultrasonic measurements in rail steel. The laboratory results inđicate that the prototype is able to đetect internal rail đefects with a high reliability. Extensions of the system are planneđ to ađđ rail surface characterization to the internal rail đefect đetection. In ađđition to the đescription of the prototype anđ test results, numerical analyses of ultrasonic guiđeđ wave propagation in rails have been performeđ using a ŁISA algorithm anđ some of these results are shown. The numerical analysis has helpeđ đesigning various aspects of the prototype for maximizing its sensitivity to đefects.

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