This study demonstrated the applicability of a nondestructive microwave testing method for the long-range inspection of pipe inner surfaces. Experimental verifications were conducted using pipes with lengths of 19–26.5 m, inner diameters of 11, 19, or 39 mm, and made of either brass or austenitic stainless steel. Microwaves were emitted from a probe attached to one of the pipe ends, and the reflections due to full circumferential wall thinning 50 mm in length and 1 mm in depth situated at various distances from the end were measured. The frequency range and the probe characteristics were decided so that microwaves propagating only in TM01 mode affect signals. After signal processing to compensate for microwave dispersion, the measured signals showed clear reflections caused by wall thinning situated 23.5 m from the pipe end at which microwaves were emitted. This study also discussed the attenuation of microwave reflection with the distance between a probe and wall thinning. The experimental results agreed well with a theoretical model describing the attenuation of microwave propagating inside a pipe, although the model did not consider the reflection of microwaves due to a flaw, the dependence of the reflection on the frequency of microwaves, or mode conversion of the microwave due to the reflection. The agreement revealed that not only frequency but also the inner diameter, electromagnetic property, and surface roughness of a pipe are needed to evaluate the length of the pipe that can be inspected by the method.
- Electromagnetic nondestructive testing
- Signal processing
- Time of flight
- Wall thinning