Research & validation of UltraAnaltyix® NDT inspection for FRP and composite assets
UTComp is dedicated to providing you with the latest research and validation of UltraAnalytix, our game-changing non-intrusive and non-destructive testing (NDT) method for the inspection of fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) and composite assets. Research is currently ongoing in the following areas:
- Transportation: Trains and Aircraft
- Corrosion Barrier
- Flexural modulus
- Acoustic Emissions
- Quality Assurance Program
- Composites Core
- UTComp Interface
- Bonding Joints
- Glass Orientation
- Glass Content
FRP and other composite materials have many benefits for a wide array of industrial applications. Composites have been used successfully to reduce corrosion losses, which include total cost of failure (lost production, safety risks, repair costs) and ongoing repair and replacement, since the 1950s. Many chemical process industries depend upon FRP and other composite materials to ensure safe and reliable operations. In many cases, FRP tanks, vessels and piping will meet corrosive process requirements at lower initial cost and with longer life than stainless steel.
Limitations of conventional FRP inspection
A major barrier to effective use of FRP and other composites in many process applications has been availability of inspection and evaluation methods that provide repeatable and reliable results for use in standard codes such as API 653, “Tank Inspection, Repair, Alteration, and Reconstruction” or API 570, “Piping Inspection Code”. For metal equipment, these practices provide the basis for determining ongoing fitness for service. Furthermore, conventional and ordinary FRP inspection almost always requires intrusive inspections where the equipment must be emptied and companies and personnel are exposed to significant risk from entering confined spaces in process equipment.
NDT inspection for FRP and composites has finally caught up with steel
UltraAnalytix inspection is now used worldwide to provide the same level of structural information for FRP and composite assets as can be obtained for equipment made of steel.
UltraAnalytix has passed rigorous scientific testing, unlike any other method used to inspect FRP.
There have been 500+ comparisons between UltraAnalytix NDT and destructive tests, making the technology the most validated NDT solution for composites, including visual inspection.
The UltraAnalytix system has also been extensively tested and proven through investigation by the University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA, and York University in Canada. Both universities report agreement of the UltraAnalytix results with results obtained from comparative destructive tests.
The UltraAnalytix system and method for analysis of fiber reinforced composites has been issued U.S. Patent No. 9,989,502 and U.S. Patent No. 10,527,591 B2. See all UTComp patents.
FRP and composite assets can usually be inspected using UltraAnalytix while in operation and, of course, without entry into the equipment. Inspections provide repeatable and reproducible quantitative information about the following:
• Corrosion barrier condition at and beneath the surface.
• Structural FRP condition for mechanical integrity.
• The actual strength and thickness of the FRP for determining its structural capacity.
• The rate of change of its structural capacity.
• Estimated remaining service life.
This information now allows users of FRP and composite process equipment to manage their assets with the same discipline and scientific approach as for their metal assets.
Innovative Nondestructive Ultrasonic Testing and Analysis for FRP Piping by Ahmed Arabi Hassen, Uday K. Vaidya, Geoffery E. Clarkson
“FRP pipes are on the rise due to their superior corrosion resistance, lightweight and high strength-to-weight ratio, which makes them attractive to be used in many industrial product applications. Prior knowledge of FRP piping defects, methods of inspection and FRP pipe material characterization prevents any unexpected failures. These defects affect the structural integrity of FRP pipes and their mechanical properties. Different methods and strategies for FRP pipe inspection can be used however UT inspection methods proved advantages over other method in terms of reliability, portability (in field use) and easiness. The ultrasonic method used in this paper is known as the UTComp® System and provides non-destructive assessment of the structural capacity of FRP piping systems. The method uses easily available instruments along with a short training cycle and highly automated data processing, thereby reducing inspector skill requirements. This paper shows that the method determines the actual structural capacity of FRP piping.”
Experimental validation of ultrasonic non-destructive evaluation of residual service life of fiberglass reinforced plastic structures by Latheepan Murugathasan, Dr. Zheng (George) Zhu and G.E. Clarkson
“The results from the nondestructive tests are in good correlation with the prediction by the nondestructive test. Thus, the ultrasonic nondestructive test is a good indication of the modulus of material and the residual service life can then be inferred with knowledge of the design/theoretical modulus of the material….In practice, this is advantage for the ultrasonic nondestructive test method as the inspector can inspect the pressure vessels from outside without the need to shut down the plant to get the thickness information by drilling.”
Determine the remaining service-life of your FRP and composite assets: