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Ultrasonic Probe

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NDT-KITS provides more then 400+ types of ultrasonic transducers, including TOFD ultrasonic transducers, immersion ultrasonic transducers, dual element ultrasonic transducer, angle beam ultrasonic transducers, normal beam ultrasonic transducers, phased array ultrasonic transducers and so on.


We are the leading ultrasonic probe manufacturer in China. Our probes are manufactured base on piezoelectric composite crystal, which has more penetrating power in attenuation material, higher signal-to-noise ratio than coarse-grained metal, glass fiber, and reinforced composite materials, short pulse-higher resolution. Moreover, it is our advantage to customize special probes for our customers. To understand customer’s requirement, our experienced application engineers and probe design experts cooperate with our customers, use the best way to provide perfect product design and meet customer’s demands.

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We have 40 years of experience in the professional production of ultrasonic flaw detectors, an annual output of more than 10,00 ultrasonic flaw detectors, thickness gauges, ultrasonic probes and calibration blocks.

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As of September 2021, we have a total of 125 employees, including nearly 45 professional and technical workers who are masters or doctorate degree holders.

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Ultrasonic Probes: The Ultimate Guide

Table of Contents


Have you ever asked yourself what is the use of an ultrasonic probe in ultrasonic testing? 

Most of the time quality inspectors carry out inspection with ultrasonic testing devices like flaw detectors which have ultrasonic probes also known as transducers as an internal element. The truth is that no ultrasonic testing can occur without these ultrasonic probes as they are the generators of ultrasonic waves or beams used in these methods of quality testing.

This guide gives you all the information you need to know about how ultrasonic probes work and how you can select the best ultrasound transducer probe suitable for your individual testing requirements. 

So, without further ado, let’s dive in. 

I. What is an Ultrasonic Probe?

Ultrasonic probes are also known as ultrasonic transducers, and they are piezoelectric devices that produce or receive ultrasonic energy. Ultrasonic probes are often categorized into three broad divisions which includes transmitters, receivers, and transceivers. Naturally, transmitters convert electrical signals to ultrasonic energies while receivers convert ultrasonic energies into electrical signals, and transceivers can convert electrical energies to ultrasonic energies and back to ultrasonic energies. 

When AC voltage is applied to these ultrasonic probes, they tend to vibrate at the same frequency, which changes their shapes and sizes resulting in an ultrasonic wave with a sound velocity that is determined by the transmitting material. These probes are sometimes not made from piezoelectric materials but magnetostriction materials which change slightly in size when exposed to a magnetic field.


what is ultrasonic probe


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II. Benefits of Ultrasonic Probe

Granted, ultrasonic transducer probes have so many benefits mostly because of their various applications across different industries and a few of these are highlighted below.  

  • Ultrasonic probes generate signals that are used in various ultrasonic devices including flaw detectors, ultrasonic thickness gauges, and various sensors like parking sensors. 
  • They generate sound signals which makes them very useful for devices that rely on sensors in low visibility areas. 
  • They are used to detect failures that lead to leakages of dangerous gaseous and liquid substances. 
  • UT transducers help determine the quality of manufactured products helping manufacturers reduce cost and reducing injury to product users that might be caused by defective products. 
  • Ultrasonic probes are key components of automatic cleaning devices.
  • Industrial ultrasonic transducers are extensively used in metallurgy to inspect welds, corrosion, and complex molded metals and alloys.

III. What are Common Applications of Ultrasonic Probe?

Ultrasonic probes have a wide array of applications across various industries and component production including in the automotive, aerospace, metal forging, oil and gas, and infrastructure. 

In the automotive industry, ultrasonic probes are a major part of the ultrasonic testing used for ensuring the quality of automotive components manufactured to fit the final product. It also ensures that components are properly bonded and confirms the mechanical integrity of the final product. Likewise, ultrasonic probes provide signaling to confirm the accuracy of the thickness of complex geometrical components as per design and specification. 

But that’s not all.

Ultrasonic probe occupies an important role in detecting flaws in components that are difficult to reach but with access to just one side. Internal parts of pipes and tubing are also measured accurately with the aid of an ultrasonic probe.


➤ Related Article: Custom Ultrasonic Transducer

IV. How does Ultrasonic Transducer Probe Work?

An ultrasonic probe transforms an electrical pulse into mechanical energy in the form of ultrasonic energy usually from within a device like an ultrasonic flaw detector. This energy then travels through a material medium which often is a test sample being inspected for defects or a deviation from specification or design. However, the ultrasonic energy travels to the back wall of the sample material and back to the surface to determine if there is an anomaly when converted back to electrical energy with the ultrasonic probe for proper analysis and interpretation of the result. 

Nonetheless, the velocity of the sound is very critical to getting an accurate result as different materials have different travel velocities for ultrasonic sounds.

V. What are the Types of Probes Used in Ultrasonic Testing?

There are various types of ultrasonic probes used in ultrasonic based on their specific settings and testing objectives. These probes include 

  • Single element probes – These are designed with a single crystal element contained within a case serving as both ultrasonic wave generator and receiver. 
  • Dual element probes – A dual-element probe possesses two crystal elements contained in the same case but divided by an acoustic barrier. While one of the elements conveys longitudinal waves the other serves as a receiver. 
  • Angle beam probes – These are mostly used in weld inspection. Though they are single element probes used with a wedge to create a refracted shear wave into a test sample as well as for time-of-flight diffraction.
  • Ultrasonic contact probes – These are a single element, longitudinal wave probes designed to be attached directly to the part or component being inspected. 
  • Ultrasonic immersion probes – These are single element, longitudinal wave probes having a quarter wavelength layer acoustically paired to water. They convey ultrasonic energies in applications with their test parts wholly or partially immersed in water. It often enables uniform, fast coupling to quickly scan parts. 
  • Phased array probes – Most phased array probes are angle beam types, produced for use using a plastic wedge, a straight plastic shoe, or delay line. Usually, phased array probes often have from 16 to 128 elements, while some have as many as 256.
  • AWS probes (ASTM Standard) – These probes are mostly used in weld inspection, and they often meet or surpass the ASTM specifications outlined in the structural welding code of the American Welding Society, section D1.1 for angle beam assemblies for weld inspection
  • High-temperature ultrasonic probe – These probes are also mostly used in welding and processes with extreme temperatures


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VI. How to Choose the Right Ultrasonic Transducer?

Choosing the right ultrasonic transducer can sometimes be daunting and confusing especially considering the wide array of probes that are available in the market today. However, knowing your objectives for using an ultrasonic probe will be the first step to choosing a suitable ultrasonic probe. 

Secondly, you might want to consider the material you want to test as different ut transducers are often suitable for different materials since the velocity of sound travel is different for different materials and this can determine the accuracy of the result you get.

Lastly, you want to consider the volume of the testing you’ll be conducting as single element probes are often not suitable for large volume quantity testing. It might require that you use phased array probes to get accurate and precise results. 


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In all, ultrasonic probes are very beneficial especially since they have a variety of use cases with various industries including the manufacturing industry, automotive, aerospace, petrochemical, and the infrastructural industry. 

Nonetheless, it is a good practice to consider critical factors like the test material, the level of accuracy expected, the volume of testing, and your testing objectives when selecting an ultrasonic probe. You want to match the right ultrasonic transducer probe for the right testing. For instance, phased array probes are more suitable and accurate than single element probes for complex geometry test samples. 

Now that you have all this information, what is your next move?

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