Non-contact, High Speed Inspection of Zirconium Power Plant Components

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-FG02-11ER90128
Agency Tracking Number: 97608
Amount: $1,009,940.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2012
Solicitation Year: 2012
Solicitation Topic Code: 58 a
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0000676
Small Business Information
MA, Watertown, MA, 02472-4699
DUNS: 073804411
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Timothy Tiernan
 (617) 668-6800
Business Contact
 Michael Entine
Title: Dr.
Phone: (617) 668-6800
Research Institution
Advanced sensors and measurement techniques are needed to increase resolution, and sensitivity to defects while reducing the intrusiveness and cost of inspection at nuclear power plants. Zirconium, a metal with a low neutron absorption cross section, is widely used in nuclear power plants. Close proximity to the reactor of zirconium parts presents limitations for in-service inspection because the parts are difficult to access. High quality, defect-free manufacturing is essential to avoid defects in components before installation. RMD proposes a new, hybrid solid-state, eddy current sensor array to provide complete, high resolution analysis of critical components such as conduits made from zirconium and other low conductivity metals. High sensitivity, low noise and directionality, combined with the wide frequency range of the sensor elements, will give the sensors the capacity to make measurements all the way through the walls and detect microscopic defects in components made from zirconium, stainless steel and Inconel. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The new sensors can penetrate much deeper into metal parts and will result in more definitive detection of defects, and the ability to detect smaller, more deeply buried defects. The sensors will be suitable for use in existing eddy current test (ECT) equipment making them available for all applications where ECT is now used. Some of the major industries using ECT include: electricity generation, aircraft inspection, transportation vehicle maintenance, oil drilling, and pipeline inspection.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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