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Time of Flight Diffraction is a reliable method of non-destructive ultrasonic testing used to look for flaws in welds. In Time of Flight Diffraction (TOFD) systems, a pair of ultrasonic probes reside on opposite sides of a weld-joint or area of interest. A transmitter probe emits an ultrasonic pulse, which is captured by the receiver probe on the opposite side. In an undamaged part, the signals picked up by the receiver probe are from two waves: one that travels along the surface (lateral wave) and one that reflects off the far wall (back-wall reflection). When a discontinuity such as a crack is present, there is a diffraction of the ultrasonic sound wave from the top and bottom tips of the crack. Using the measured time of flight of the pulse, the depth of the crack tips can be calculated automatically by trigonometry. This method is more reliable than traditional radiographic, pulse echo manual UT (Ultrasonic Testing) and automated UT weld testing methods.
In the near future, reusable rockets will ferry us to space and back, and you’ll be able to honeymoon on the actual moon. To realize that dream, rocket scientists will rely on Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) of carbon fiber, steel, and aluminum components on reusable rockets.