When performing UT inspections at elevated temperatures, it is critical to select the correct couplant, both for performance and safety. Thickness gauging and corrosion mapping are often conducted at temperatures between 500°and 1000°F (260° and 538°C) where auto-ignition may occur. Ultrasonic transducers and instruments capable of operating at temperatures up to 950°F (510°C) are routinely used, and development programs are targeting new designs with capabilities up to 1100°F (593°C).
Auto-ignition of ultrasound couplants has increased exponentially over the past decade due to higher temperature inspections, such as in heavy crude refining, and due to the extensive use of inspection ports. The risk to inspectors and facilities, as well as the liability auto-ignitions impose can be reduced or eliminated by a few steps:
- Make certain all high-temperature ultrasonic couplants are labeled with the current manufacturer operating range and that inspectors are aware of the range.
- Check the temperature of the part, especially in ports and confined areas, before inspecting. (Note: In confined spaces and inspection ports the temperature can be approximately 150˚F higher than on exposed pipe.)
- Select a couplant labeled for the intended operating range.
- Request and post the below adhesive backed sticker in a location where inspectors have access. Copies of the sticker are available at no charge by contacting 360.671.9121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elimination of auto-ignition of ultrasonic couplants is one of the lowest cost, highest benefit actions you can take to protect inspectors, facilities and to reduce liabilities.
The operating range of Magnaflux/Sonotech Sono® 1100 has been reduced to 700 to 775°F with a restriction for use in ports to under 455°F (below the operating range of the couplant). A better replacement is EchoTherm Extreme with an operating range of -40 to 1250°F with NO limitations for port, confined space or under insulation UT inspections.
All Echo Ultrasonics high-temperature couplants are labeled with the operating range and auto-ignition temperature. Echo’s couplant line includes:
Two couplants with an auto-ignition temperature above current UT equipment capabilities, no operating range restriction for ports, confined spaces or under insulation UT inspections:
- EchoTherm Extreme: -40 to 1250°F (-40 to 675°C):
- EchoTherm: 200 to 1000°F (93 to 538°C)
Two couplants with broad operating ranges, but require attention to the temperature in confined spaces and ports as the temperature can be approximately 150°F higher than on exposed pipe.
- HiTempco: -50 to 775°F (-45 to 412°C)
- VersaSonic: -10 to 700°F (-23 to 371°C)
Let us prove to you that Echo has a better high temperature couplant solution for safer, faster inspections. Request free samples today.
Many UT applications require a specialty UT couplant. For difficult inspections that require high acoustic impedance, shear wave, reduced surface noise, extreme temperature range or extended service life for sensors, we have the right couplant.
High Impedance Couplant: A high impedance couplant typically has an acoustic impedance above 3.5 M Rayls. Water based couplants typically have acoustic impedances between 1.5 and 1.8 M Rayls depending on the Glycerin content (0% glycerin at 1.5 M Rayls, 12% glycerin at 1.8 M Rayls, 100% glycerin at 2.4 M Rayls).
The advantage of a high impedance couplant is that more of the acoustic energy is transmitted between the transducer (or delay line) and test object and less is reflected and scattered at the surface of the test object. This is particularly important when:
- The test object surface is very rough (porous cast iron, scale, rough grinding).
- The contact area for the delay line or transducer is small (pencil point probes measuring pit depths).
- Materials such as concrete which are high impedance, scatter acoustic energy and often have a rough surface.
There are currently two options for water-soluble, high impedance couplants:
- Z+ MV, a medium viscosity Glycerin based couplant (which has an operating range of 0 to 200°F; however, its viscosity increases quickly with temperature below 45°F.
- Z+ fluid– does not contain Glycerin and maintains a fluid viscosity down to sub-zero temperatures.
Normal Incidence Shear Wave Couplant:
Not to be confused with angle beam generated shear waves (which rely on refraction of a longitudinal beam), normal incidence shear wave transducers propagate the shear wave with the transducer perpendicular to the test object and do not rely on refraction. A normal incidence shear wave couplant requires a very high viscosity, high elastic modulus to perform acceptably. Currently there is one commercially available water-soluble couplant that meets this requirement: Echo Shear Wave Couplant
Flow Meter and Sensor Couplant:
For permanent or long-term use, a flow meter couplant should resist creep, have good resistance to weather and chemicals as well as a broad temperature range. Water-based couplants are suitable only for short-term flow metering applications. Echo 8 ZH is not water-based and is an excellent couplant for flow metering sensors.
Cryogenic UT Inspection:
CryoSoniX is the only ultrasonic couplant for use in cryogenic applications such as refrigerated ethylene. With an operating range of -200˚ to 60˚F (-129˚ to 16˚C), CryoSoniX enables repeatable and reliable inspections.
Phased Array Wedge Couplant:
Forever Wedge is an ideal couplant for use between phased array or angle beam transducers and the wedge. Forever Wedge couplant won’t leach out, is impervious to water and couplants and when applied correctly, often lasts the life of the wedge or until it is replaced. Forever Wedge eliminates phased array element drop out due to wedge couplant failure.
Why buy UT couplants directly from Echo Ultrasonics? We provide UT Solutions.
With more than 50 years of experience manufacturing ultrasonic couplants, and having developed most of the ultrasonic testing couplants on the market today, the personnel at Echo Ultrasonics are experts in couplant selection. On staff, we have a metallurgist with ASNT Level III certification dedicated only to ultrasound couplants.
Echo personnel are committed to identifying the best couplant at the best price and are willing to go to great lengths to satisfy customer requirements. At other companies, couplants are a business. At Echo Ultrasonics, couplants are our passion.
Consider these examples:
- At 7:00 a.m., a customer called needing customized packaging for a high-temperature phased array inspection by 10:00 a.m. the next day. Because Echo has inventory of all couplants in stock, we were able to respond quickly, repackaging the needed couplant and shipping it for delivery at 7:57 a.m., hours before it is needed.
- A customer called at 8:30 a.m. on a Friday. His inspection team had been called to an emergency inspection in Africa, and they were to depart on Sunday. The customer, located remotely, had no local couplant source, and his team needed the couplant when they arrived in Africa on Monday morning. The Echo Team was able to put together couplant for the inspectors to pack in their luggage. With an overnight shipment and a Saturday delivery, the inspection team was able to successfully perform their inspection with the optimal UT couplant.
At Echo Ultrasonics, customer service isn’t a buzzword. We make certain our customers’ needs are met. That’s one reason a live representative answers the phones at Echo 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
It’s also why we work hard to develop custom specialty couplants in response to our customers’ needs. Consider these custom couplants we’ve developed over the past two years:
- CryoSoniX is the only couplant in the world available to work at temperatures as low as ‑200 °
- EchoTherm Extreme is the only couplant in the world that can safely operate up to 1250 °
- Forever Wedge is a phased array wedge couplant that facilitates more reproducible inspections, fewer artifacts and longer wedge coupling.
- EchoPure is an ideal couplant for phased array inspection and reduces noise and artifacts from couplant failure between the wedge and test object.
Our goal at Echo Ultrasonics is to get you the right product at the right price, when and how you need it. Why buy UT couplants directly from Echo Ultrasonics? We provide UT solutions.
- Formulated for specific applications.
- Product performance guarantee.
- 50 years of experience developing and manufacturing ultrasonic couplants.
- Lowest price guarantee.
- Need it overnight to a hotel room? International delivery? We can make that happen.
Right on Time
- 24/7 live telephone response.
- Emergency inspections? Foreign countries? Overnight shipment? We are here to help.
- All couplants in stock for immediate, same-day shipment.
Echo Direct: We love challenges. Let us help you optimize your inspections with the right couplant delivered to you at the right time.
Echo Ultrasonics is approved by GE as a supplier of Glycerol for the inspection of CFM56-7B engine fan blades in accordance with SB 72-1033.
Echo’s GE-approved Glycerol Echo Lot 205 is available in 16-oz / 500 ml bottles for overnight delivery worldwide. To order, contact Echo Direct 24/7 at 360-671-9121 or email@example.com. Part number GLY-16, batch #205.
As noted in the National Transportation Safety Board’s May 3 investigative update of the engine failure on Southwest Airlines flight 1380, CFM International issued Service Bulletin 72-1033 on April 20 recommending ultrasonic inspections of fan blades of CFM56-7B engines with more than 30,000 cycles. The Boeing 737 on flight 1380 was powered by engines from CFM International, which is a joint company between GE Aviation and Safran Aircraft Engines.
By the end of August, CFM International also recommends inspections for fan blades with 20,000 cycles. When other fan blades reach 20,000 cycles, they also should be inspected, according to the service bulletin. After the first inspection, it is recommended that inspections are repeated every 3,000 cycles (typically, about two years in airline service).
Glycerol Echo Lot 205 from Echo Ultrasonics has been approved by GE Aviation for this inspection work.
Contact Echo Ultrasonics for more information and to order Glycerol Echo Lot 205 for GE fan blade inspections: 360-671-9121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
EchoPure is an excellent ultrasonic couplant for inspecting hot welds before they cool or UT inspection in the hot sun.
EchoPure is also ideal for boiler inspections as it is salt resistant and slow to dry.
EchoPure LV has been extremely popular for tank inspections.
EchoPure contains no water, but is completely water soluble and water-removable.
EchoPure is non-toxic and safe for food processing equipment.
The operating range of EchoPure is -60 to 350°F.
EchoPure is available in four viscosities (fluid, low, medium and high).
Request your free sample today.
Echo’s most popular couplant, UltraSoniX™ is now available in high viscosity. This couplant is ideal for overhead and vertical applications.
UltraSoniX is a high performance ultrasonic couplant for flaw inspection and thickness gaging that is compatible with most materials, has excellent ferrous corrosion inhibition and is formaldehyde and glycol ether-free.
Call today for your free sample (360) 510-3503.
Echo Ultrasonics® has introduced EchoTrack™ ultrasonic couplant, an economical high performance ambient temperature ultrasonic couplant for flaw inspection and thickness gauging. EchoTrack is compatible with most materials, has excellent ferrous corrosion inhibition and is formaldehyde and glycol ether free.
EchoTrack has a broad operating range (18 to 180°F, -8 to 82°C), leaves a low level, easier to remove residue, is slow drying and is available in a medium and high viscosities.
For free samples, complete the sample request form and let us know what couplant you are currently using.