Determining the best AUT fluid for an application involves several factors:
- Maximum temperature of test object (or under insulation)
- Viscosity must be within the capability of the pump:
This decision includes knowing the viscosity at the minimum temperature of the fluid reservoir and supply lines and the maximum length of the line from pump to AUT device. A starting point for this determination:
|50’ or less
|100’ or less
|Echo 8 HT grade 4
|200’ or less
|Echo 8HT grade 1
Selecting the highest viscosity fluid that meets the pump and line capabilities results in the longest fluid dwell time and the best overall performance.
- Vaporization rate: All AUT fluids vaporize. Most fluids will perform satisfactorily until 5% of their weight has been converted to vapor. The fluid vaporization rate is a function of time and temperature.
The plot below demonstrates weight loss from vaporization on the Y axis and time as the X axis for two AUT fluids at 387°C / 728°F.
During the initial five minutes of exposure to the high temperatures, there was no detectable vaporization. At six minutes, vaporization increased exponentially and by 10 minutes one of the fluids had lost approximately 35% of its weight and the other had lost 15% of its weight due to vaporization.
Both of these fluids are suitable for AUT when the fluid is pumped to the transducer in that less than one minute is required for the fluid to support the acoustic parameters of the inspection. However, if the fluid is sprayed on the test object with a hand sprayer, the ability of the fluid to support the inspection will depend on the spraying and test occurring in less than a 5 minute window. After 5 minutes, neither fluid illustrated above will support an ultrasonic inspection.
Often a fluid that will perform for AUT when the fluid is pumped to the transducer will not perform when the fluid is sprayed onto the test object. In many instances, vapor will be visible around the AUT crawler and on the part; however, this vapor occurs after the ultrasound coupling time requirement.
The rate and volume of fluid delivery and the viscosity will also effect the vaporization rate. In general, a higher viscosity fluid, a faster rate of delivery and a greater fluid volume yields a lower vaporization rate. Often less expensive AUT fluids can be used by increasing the flow rate of the fluid. Clouds of vapor may form quickly; however, the key is having vapor occur after the required acoustic time window.
The following table lists each couplant suitable for the temperature and application method:
-60 to 350°F
VersaSonic Fluid, Echo 8HT, SpectrumGlide
VersaSonic Fluid, Echo 8HT, SpectrumGlide
Echo 8HT Grade 1 & 4
Echo 8HT, SpectrumGlide
What are Echo’s high-temperature AUT fluid options?
EchoPure Fluid: This glycol formulation has a reduced evaporation rate, is usually the least expensive option, is water soluble and covers very cold AUT down to -60°F (-51°C). Suited for pumping applications up to 350°F (176°C).
VersaSonic Fluid: This is a plant-based oil formulation. All plant based oil AUT fluids will smoke as well as vaporize and will leave a varnish or film on the surface. Suited for applications up to 700°F to pump, 450°F to spray.
Echo 8HT / SpectrumGlide: Silicone based fluids have the following advantages:
- Viscosity is relatively constant with temperature compared to other AUT fluids and is available in very low to very high viscosities to optimize pumpability versus dwell time.
- Minimal or no residue
- Less smoke than plant based oils
Silicone based fluid options include:
Echo 8HT: This fluid pumps easily, is an excellent lubricant and is compatible with all metals and most plastics. Suited for applications up to 800°F to pump, 650°F to spray.
Grade 1 – low viscosity (125 cps) – best choice for lines over 100’
Grade 4 – medium viscosity – best choice for 100’or less lines (400 cps)
Grade 10 – very high viscosity to be manually applied (brush). Cannot
be pumped or sprayed, very slow to run off. An alternative to high temperature gel couplants.
SpectrumGlide: The is the highest performance AUT fluid with a medium-high viscosity, best for lines 50’ or less, for applications up to 700°F to pump.
Still have questions? Give us a call. 360-671-9121