Development of a high sensitivity ultrasonic phased array non-destructive testing method for early detection of creep damage in alloy steels used in high temperature / CreepTest

Project code: FP7-SME-2012-312610
ES programme: Framework Programe 7 (FP7)

Project flyer.

The objective of the project

  • To develop new ultrasonic phased NDE testing techniques for the detection of Type IV creep cracking.
  • To determine the sensitivity of defect detection and the limits of technique/system/ultrasonic array performance.
  • To produce a field prototype NDE ultrasonic array system, signal processing and software for the examination of power plant steam pipe welds for creep damage.
  • Quantify results to asess the extent of creep detection and categorise into (i) cavitation formation, (ii) cavitation coalescence, (iii) formation of micro-cracking and (iv) macro-cracking.
  • To demonstrate the NDE systems performance on in-service, in-situ steam pipe welds and to validate the technique results against representative samples containing realistic creep defects.


Creep is the time-dependent, thermally assisted deformation of the component operating under stress. Metal pressure components such as boiler tubing, headers, and steam piping in fossil-fired power plants operate at thermal conditions (above 538C) conducive to causing creep damage over the operating life of the component.

To ensure safe and reliable operation of such components in service, utilities periodically use non-destructive evaluation techniques to inspect these components for damage. These inspections are largely targeted at detecting late stage creep damage in which cracking is active in  the component and provides qualitative rather that quantitative data.

Recent advances in NDE technology have provided enhanced capabilities ffor incipient creep failure detection. CreepTest will seek to apply time reversal focusing and full matrix capture techniques that have already shown a capability to identify early stage creep damage. A library of the defects will be produced with the aim of providing inspection limits and the probability of detection for the techniques developed in the project and thus enable accurate life cycle prediction of components under inspection.

Project partners

Applied Inspection LTD (United Kingdom), Acutech Eisagoges Antiprosopeies EPE (Greece), INETEC (Croatia), TWI Limited (United Kingdom), National Technical University of Athens (Greece), SSE PLC (United Kingdom), Kaunas University of Technology (Lithuania).

2013 - 2015