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Phased Array Transducer

NDT-KITS offers a wide variety of phased array (PA) probes using piezo-composite technology for all types of phased array ultrasonic testing (PAUT) inspections. Our PA probes provide fast scan speeds, sharp imagery, and accurate testing results.


Phased Array Transducer for Sale

Phased array transducer is extensively used for nondestructive testing (NDT) purposes in varied industrial sectors, such as pipelines, construction, as well as power generation. This advanced NDT method can predict the quality of a component by determining the discontinuities such as flaws or cracks.

Ultrasonic testing using phased array probes is fast becoming the preferred NDT method because it is efficient, reliable, and safer than some alternative methods. Linear arrays are the most commonly used phased array probes for industrial applications.

Linear phased array probes

Linear phased array probes

Phased array transducers are composed of ultrasound transducers that fire the array elements in an exact sequence to direct the sound wave in a definite direction. While most of the modern multi-element transducer arrays such as linear and curved arrays implement several degrees of phasing, they work differently in their technologies and function. A phased array ultrasound probe naturally has a smaller footprint than a linear or curved array. However, it can image a large area.

Laterally Focused phased array probes

Linear phased array probes

The PA probe comprises of numerous small ultrasonic transducers, each of which can be pulsed autonomously. By varying the time, such as by making the pulse from every transducer gradually delayed going up the line, a pattern of productive interference will be set up that can result in radiating a quasi-plane ultrasonic beam at a set angle according to the progressive time delay. In other words, by altering the progressive time delay the beam can be directed electronically. Like a search-light, it can be swept through the object or tissue being inspected. The data that comes from multiple beams are combined together to create a visual image depicting a slice through the object.

NDT-KITS provide a series of standardized probes, customized probes, as well as the relevant accessories, in more than 4000 models totally. These probes are extensively used in nuclear power, aerospace, oil and gas, shipping industry, mechanical manufacturing, medical industries, railway transportation, and so on, around the world.

Compatible With All Kinds of Phased Array Flaw Detector

Phased Array probe connector

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Phased Array Transducer: The Ultimate Guide

Table of Contents


Have you ever wondered how important a phased array transducer can be in ultrasonic testing?

As essential and accurate as ultrasonic testing has become in the manufacturing industry and many quality assessment professionals, the role of phased array transducer can not be overlooked. The reason is that the advancement in the NDT industry has brought about this recent invention, and it has become crucial for several manufacturing procedures and components. 

Therefore, knowing the workings and benefits of the phased array transducer is vital when selecting an appropriate device and method for carrying out specific inspection procedures.

This guide gives you a comprehensive body of knowledge about phased array transducers and if you’re ready, then let’s dive in.

I. What is a Phased Array Transducer?

Phased array transducers are very unlike the traditional monolithic transducers you’ll find around. Even though you’ll find basic similarities in the use of ultrasonic energy and piezoelectric elements to generate electrical pulses, that’s just about where the similarities end. Quite frankly, phased array transducers are a bit more complex to manufacture with their piezocomposite element than traditional piezoceramic elements. However, they make up for it in increased sensitivity of 10 to 30 dB relative to their piezoceramic counterparts. 

Clearly, phased array transducers give more accurate results as they are made up of several tiny piezoelectric elements combining to generate multitudes of ultrasonic waves to analyze flaws within a component. These signals are often controlled using computer programs to generate time lagging and angled waves that help achieve accurate mapping during NDT applications. 

What is a Phased Array Transducer

II. What is a Linear Phased Array Transducer?

Linear phased array transducers are made up of a set of elements placed side by side and aligned along the same axis to enable the movement of a beam, its focus and deflection along a plane. Ultimately, a linear arrangement of transducers along a plane increases the detection of laminar defects in composites or corrosion in metals for surfaces. Linear phased array transducers are designed to increase coverage of inspection area with improved speed and accuracy of inspection result.

This phased array transducer is widely used in most applications. It meets the requirements for most inspections coupled with its cost-effectiveness, making it a preferred method within the ultrasonic testing category.

III. How does a Phased Array Transducer Work?

To put it in simple terms, a phased array ultrasound probe contains several separate elements within a single housing, with the elements being successively pulsed in a specific way. Generally, elements range from 16 to 256 and can be programmed to pulse with particular patterns. Though they come as either square, round, or rectangular, they can work as contact and immersion elements with frequencies ranging from 1MHz to 10MHz.

Phased ultrasound probes work by generating, projecting, and receiving pulses from multiple elements within an array. Additionally, the elements are pulsed in such a manner as to produce multiple-beam components to merge and create a distinct wavefront moving in the chosen direction. Equally, the receiver function combines the feedback from several elements into an individual presentation.

Nonetheless, the phasing technology allows electronic beam modeling and steering. It is feasible to produce several ultrasonic beam shapes from a single transducer assembly, and this beam steering can be programmed dynamically to produce electronic scans.

IV. What is Phased Array Probe Used for?

Generally, pa probes have a wide array of applications in various industries and for numerous materials. These multilevel abilities and usefulness are why it is becoming prevalent among manufactures and NDT professionals. But mostly phased array probes are especially useful in assessing weld integrity in welded components in different industries like automotive and aerospace. 

Products like blades roots and rotor steeples are often assessed by avoiding beam-deflecting wedges carrying out the inspection despite limited access that would have been difficult for other assessment methods. But then, the increase in depth and accuracy of the sizing is enhanced by the probe’s electroacoustic performance.

Another important example of phased array probe’s application is in the inspection of tubes often carried out using encircling probes accessing the tubes from the outside but with the ability to assess the internal parts except in the case of heat exchanger tubes which are accessed from inside.  

Lastly, phased array probes are especially useful in inspecting titanium billets previously examined with several single-element probes. Lately, with the advancement in ultrasonic testing, matrix array probes have become accepted as a suitable alternative because of the main benefit of fitting different diameters of billets.

V. What is a Linear Phased Array Transducer Used for?

Due to the type of arrangement of linear phased array transducers, they are more helpful in inspecting planar components, which are often flat regular geometrical objects. The reason is that projecting the beams generated by these transducers is often focused and deflected on a plane. Whereas if the objects’ geometry was irregular or at an angle, other types of phased array transducers, including annular or circular phased array transducers, will have sufficed. 

For instance, an inspection of plates, blade roots, and welds are some of the most suitable applications for linear phased array transducers evidently because they require scanning, focusing, and deflection of ultrasonic waves in a plane.

VI. What are the Advantages of Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing?

Phased array ultrasonic testing (PAUT) has numerous benefits over traditional ultrasonic testing. It is simply due to its ability to operate and dynamically control the acoustic pulses projected on the test sample or the structure under assessment. Clearly, industries like aerospace, oil and gas, power generation, and pipeline services derive several benefits from using phased array ultrasonic testing. Some of these merits include 

  • Improved defect discovery ability

The sheer number of transducers employed during phased array ultrasonic testing is by far a great indication of its increased flaw detection ability when compared with conventional ultrasonic testing. While single transducers are often employed for traditional ultrasonic testing, as many as 120 transducers can be arranged for a single phased array ultrasonic testing. 

Additionally, PAUT supports beam steering without having to move the scanner, enabling it to capture different angles, a feature that is most useful when inspecting complex geometrical components.

  • Increased Inspection Speed

Mechanical scanning, which often involves setting configurations, is usually one that slows down inspection using conventional ultrasonic testing. However, for phased array ultrasonic testing, the combination of electronic scanning and multiple transducers enables faster assessment even for large surface areas. Also, the time spent on changing transducers for every new inspection using traditional ultrasonic testing is eliminated. 

  • Increased accuracy of results

The accuracy of the result of phased array ultrasonic tests is better enhanced compared to conventional ultrasonic testing. This ability is centered around its adequate coverage of complex geometry and large surfaces, making it a reliable testing method. 

  • High flexibility 

The ability to replace several components and carry out multiple inspections instantly makes phased array ultrasonic testing a better alternative to ordinary ultrasonic testing. Ultimately, PAUT can replace so many toolboxes of traditional ultrasonic testing kits making the whole testing process very easy. 

VII. What are the Important Parameters of the Phased Array Probe?

Parameters are pretty crucial while using phased array probes in any inspection procedure. The reason is that these parameters ensure that the right tool is used for the correct application to achieve the appropriate result. The categories of phased array probes are based on the following parameters.

  • Probe Type – The probes used in phased array ultrasonic testing differ significantly concerning beam angle as they are mostly angled beams and apply either plastic wedge or delay line. 
  • Frequency – Ultrasonic phased array probes fall under the same frequency as conventional ultrasonic probes, between 2MHz and 10MHz. Nonetheless, frequencies above or below this range can be obtained with increased penetration for lower frequencies and increased focus and sharpness for higher frequencies. 
  • Number of Elements – Phased array probes often come with between 16 and 128 elements. However, some can have as many as 256 elements to increase the focus and steering ability of the probes. Also, this increased probe number can increase the coverage area but not without increasing the costs.
  • Size of Elements – With a rise in elements’ number comes an increase in elements’ width, but so is the reduction in the steering capability of the beam. Nevertheless, a large coverage area will need additional elements at more cost. 
  • Sensitivity Variations – Phased array probes have a higher sensitivity to conventional ultrasonic probes. 

VIII. How to Choose the Right Phased Array Transducer?

Selecting the appropriate phased array transducer for a particular application can differ between getting an accurate result and an unreliable one. However, it is always dependent on the specific requirements of the inspection as manufacturers always consider the elements’ width, proper pitch, and aperture. Ultimately, achieving a balanced compromise between these factors amidst cost considerations is often the main subject of choosing the appropriate array transducer. 

For instance, it selects a linear array transducer for angle beam, and straight beam inspections are often preferred. Apparently, it is a long transducer that’s efficient at producing and receiving a single ultrasonic beam. The reason is that the focal point for a linear array transducer is fixed doesn’t matter the orientation of the linear array transducer.

Clearly, a linear array transducer will always satisfy the conditions for nearly all weld and components’ integrity assessment, including reliability assessment of surface and subsurface with identification of defects and wall-thickness measurements. Mainly due to their flexibility and cost-effectiveness, linear transducers are used in flexible array transducers. Also, they are used in scanners built for the discovery of flow-accelerated corrosion found in pipeline elbows.

Another case in point is the matrix array transducers with elements in two directions which enhances the speedy acquisition of data and a complete volumetric assessment capability. Ultimately these array transducers can speedily generate both 2D and 3D images to identify flaws with precision. But how? Simply by stimulating the elements of a phased array UT instrument individually in a highly regulated manner with software. 

A matrix array transducer assembly and portable phased array devices are now popular for pipeline inspections. Essentially, these instruments have robust software that permits technicians to virtually put transducers on the sample to ensure most volumetric coverage and then replicate an inspection step by step. 

In the final analysis, a technician determines the best-phased array transducer based on factors like the job requirements, materials under examination, and access to the test sample.


So, there you have it. The importance of a phased array transducer cannot be overemphasized in ultrasonic testing because of its many industrial applications and the numerous benefits it offers. Some of these benefits include increased accuracy, speed of result delivery, and flexibility, as they can be used for a wide variety of inspection applications. It is also suitable for situations where there is limited access and where accuracy is paramount.

However, selecting suitable transducers requires considering the right factors, including the nature of the inspection, the material under examination and access to the area.

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