A collaborative project, between Precision Acoustics, Ionix Advanced Technologies, TWI and University of Sheffield (UoS), towards developing and manufacturing radiation resilient ultrasonic sensors (reDRESS) has been completed with high praise from the project’s funding body, InnovateUK.
The goal of the reDRESS project was to construct a reliable ultrasonic testing sensor capable of operating at 350°C for defined periods, whilst exposed to high levels of gamma and neutron radiation. The result allows engineers to undertake an ultrasonic inspection close to the core of a nuclear reactor – An extremely hot (> 350°C) environment with high radiation levels.
For our part of the project, we designed a radiation resilient ultrasonic transducer range (RRUT) based around piezopolymer sensing elements. Designed for ambient temperature inspection and NDT applications in high radiation environments, the RRUT transducers have been tested up to a cumulative Gamma dose of 9.5 MGy with almost no change in performance up to doses of 2 MGy.
A parametric design approach allows the sensors to be fitted with additional radiation shielding and/or delay line lengths to allow greater radiation exposure and can accommodate a range of operating frequencies and beam shapes. The flexibility of this design also enables probes to be fitted into existing systems with specific size requirements for the sensor.
Thomas Kelley, Research Scientist at Precision Acoustics, said:
The reDRESS project enabled us to gain a valuable breadth of data on the performance of PVDF sensors under irradiation and at elevated temperature, whilst also making some innovative research towards a new architecture of fibreoptic hydrophone.
It was a pleasure collaborating with other industry experts and academics on this project.