Detection and evaluation of the depth of surface cracks in conductive materials by using a loop antenna

K. Yagi, N. Sato, Y. Sato, K. Tamakawa, D. Minkov, Tetsuo Shoji

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1 Citation (Scopus)


A new method is developed for detection and evaluation of the depth of surface cracks in conductive materials. The main components of the measurement equipment are a conductive wire and a loop antenna, both of which are located as close as possible to the surface of the investigated material, while the antenna loop is perpendicular to the surface and parallel to the wire. Supplying of electrical potential with microwave frequency f and amplitude |s| to the wire results in spreading of induced current close beneath the surface of the material. The induced current redistributes in the vicinity of surface cracks, and some of the current paths flow along the crack walls. This leads to generation of a time-variable magnetic field mostly within the volume of the crack, which is detected by the loop antenna. A theoretical analysis is presented of the contributions of the different types of generated magnetic fields to the potential drop with amplitude |Us| measured by the antenna. The distribution of the ratio R(dB) = |U|/|Us| is measured for specimens of paramagnetic and ferromagnetic steel which contain three artificial cracks with depths of 0.5 mm, 1 mm, and 2 mm, and frequency f = 300 MHz of the supplied electrical potential. It turns out that artificial cracks with a depth of d ≥ 0.5 mm, located at distances from x = 3 mm to x = 15 mm from the wire, can be detected. The largest sensitivity of crack detection is achieved for x ∼ 4 mm when the long axis of a crack is perpendicular to the wire. The crack response of the measured ratio R is proportional to the crack depth when the loop of the antenna is located above or slightly outside an artificial crack, and at least 4 mm from the wire. This relation could be used for evaluation of the depth of real surface cracks. The notable decrement of the crack response outside the crack can indicate the location of the crack tips on the surface of the specimen. It is shown that a loop antenna with a diameter of 7 mm provides the largest crack response, as well as that the developed method can be applied to both paramagnetic and ferromagnetic materials. An example of the detection of a real crack by an antenna is reported for the first time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-468
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Physics A: Materials Science and Processing
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Aug 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)


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