Elastic Wave Diffraction at Cracks in Anisotropic Materials
Ultrasonic inspection is used to confirm that there are no defects of concern in various regions of a nuclear reactor primary circuit. All materials are naturally anisotropic, but if the grains are small relative to the ultrasonic wavelength and are also randomly oriented, then the material will appear as homogeneous and isotropic as in ferritic steel. The ultrasonic wavelength is chosen as a compromise between resolution of defect size and acoustic noise from grain boundaries. In austenitic steel, the wavelength chosen will typically be smaller than the grain size, at least in one direction. The grains are not randomly oriented but exhibit macroscopic patterns which depend on the welding process, and the material is neither homogeneous nor isotropic.