Published on 02-Mar-2024

The commonly accepted Standards & Codes of Ultrasonic Testing

The commonly accepted Standards & Codes of Ultrasonic Testing

Sources - Inspection 4 Industry

Table of Content

  • Introduction 
  • What is ASTM and ASME Code? 
  • What is Ultrasonic Testing? 
  • Principle of Ultrasonic Testing 
  • Standards and Codes of Ultrasonic Testing 
  • Conclusion 
  • Key Takeaways 
  • FAQs 


Ultrasonic Testing (UT) is essential for various inspections based on certain standards.

It is a Non-destructive Testing (NDT) method that uses high-frequency sound waves to detect internal flaws or defects in materials.

UT is widely used in various industries, such as manufacturing, aerospace, and oil and gas, to ensure the integrity and quality of critical components and structures. 

We use high-frequency sound waves to find hidden flaws or measure thickness.

Think of it as the superhero stethoscope for materials. There are standards and codes of Ultrasonic Testing that are used for meticulous practices endorsed globally.

What is ASTM and ASME Code? 

American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) standards and codes play vital roles in ensuring the quality and safety of various products and processes.

  1. ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials)

American Society for Testing and Materials is an international organization that develops and publishes voluntary consensus technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems, and services.

These standards ensure the reliability and quality of diverse industries, from construction materials to medical devices.

  • Role of ASTM:

ASTM sets the bar for best practices in testing and materials, promoting consistency and quality on a global scale.

For ultrasonic testing Non-destructive Testing, ASTM standards provide guidelines on procedures, equipment, and materials, ensuring a standardized and reliable approach to the inspection process.

  2. ASME Code (American Society of Mechanical Engineers)

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers is another prominent organization setting standards and codes of ultrasonic testing, particularly in the mechanical engineering industry.

The ASME Code, in this context, refers to the Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code (BPVC), a set of regulations for the design, fabrication, and inspection of boilers and pressure vessels.

  • Role of ASME Code:

The ASME Code is crucial for industries dealing with high-pressure systems, such as power plants and manufacturing.

It ensures the safe design, construction, and operation of Pressure Vessels and boilers, preventing accidents using ultrasonic testing inspection and NDT Test.

ASTM and ASME codes are cornerstones in establishing and maintaining standards for materials, products, and processes.

Whether you want ultrasonic testing for welds and steel or Ultrasonic Testing on Tanks/Pipelines these codes are at the forefront of industrial practices.

What Is Ultrasonic Testing? 

Ultrasonic testing is an NDT Technique that uses high-frequency sound waves to inspect and evaluate the integrity of materials.

It's like a medical ultrasonic examination for inanimate objects, providing a detailed picture of what's happening beneath the surface without causing any harm.

Principles of Ultrasonic Testing

In the Ultrasonic Testing Procedure, a small, handheld device called a transducer sends ultrasonic waves into the material being tested.

These waves travel through the material until they encounter a boundary between different mediums, like the end of a steel pipe or the edge of a weld.

1. Reflection and Echo

When these waves encounter a boundary, part of the energy is reflected back to the transducer, creating an echo.

The transducer picks up these echoes, and the time it takes for them to return is precisely measured.

This data helps determine the thickness of the material or locate any flaws within it.

2. Flaw Detection

If there's a hidden flaw, like a crack or void, the ultrasonic waves reflect differently, signaling the presence of an issue.

Think of it like a sonar system for materials, revealing imperfections that might compromise the structural integrity.

It has varied Applications for Underwater Ultrasonic Testing as well.

3. Material Thickness Measurement

Beyond flaw detection, the ultrasonic test is handy for measuring the thickness of materials.

By analyzing the time it takes for the sound waves to travel through the material and return, inspectors can gauge the thickness accurately.

4. Applications Across Industries:

From checking welds in pipelines to ensuring the structural integrity of aircraft components, ultrasonic inspection is a versatile detective, safeguarding the reliability of everything from bridges to everyday household items.

Standards and Codes of Ultrasonic Testing 

Ultrasonic Testing Terminologies, the Standards and Codes of Ultrasonic Testing act as a common language, ensuring that whether you're testing a bridge in New York or a pipeline in Tokyo, the procedures and measurements remain consistent.

It's like having global ultrasonic NDT standards for ensuring the health of materials.

Inspectors in the world of UT are like language interpreters, deciphering the ultrasonic testing benefits.

Standards and codes of ultrasonic testing demand quality products, and awareness of these standards plays a pivotal role in maintaining a safer and more reliable world.

  1. BIS Standards

BIS, or the Bureau of Indian Standards, is the custodian of quality in India.

Their standards for ultrasonic NDT Testing ensure that industries across the subcontinent meet stringent quality benchmarks.

From medical devices to industrial applications, BIS keeps a vigilant eye, ensuring the echoes carry the right information.

Here is an example of BIS standards

IS 13805:1993 - Non-destructive testing; - Magnetic Particle Testing; - General principles

  • British Specifications

British Standards for Ultrasonic Testing resonate with a legacy of precision.

The British Standards Institution (BSI) lays down the guidelines, orchestrating a harmony of accuracy and reliability.

These standards, like a well-composed melody, set the tone for industries across the United Kingdom.

Here is an example of British Specifications

BS EN ISO 17638:2016 - Non-destructive testing of welds; - Magnetic Particle Testing

  2. American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)

Across the Atlantic, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) takes the stage.

Ultrasonic Testing Applications meet the highest standards.

From aerospace to petrochemicals, their codes echo across diverse industries.

Here is an example of ASTM 

ASTM E1444/E1444M-16 - Standard Practice for Magnetic Particle Testing

ASTM E1417/E1417M-16a - Standard Practice for Liquid Penetrant Testing

  • French Specifications

The French, known for their finesse, reflect this in their Ultrasonic Testing Methods.

French standards, carefully curated, mirror the precision associated with French craftsmanship.

In the realm of UT, it's not just about finding flaws; it's about doing it with finesse.

Here is an example of AFNOR

NF EN ISO 17638:2016 - Non-destructive Testing of Welds - Magnetic particle testing

  • German Specifications 

When we think of German engineering, precision is the first word that comes to mind.

The Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN) oversees NDT ultrasonic testing in Germany.

It's like the intricate gears of a clock, each standard ensuring that the machinery of testing ticks with absolute accuracy.

Here is an example of German Specifications 

DIN EN ISO 17638:2016 - Non-destructive testing of welds - Magnetic Particle Testing  

3. International Standard Organization (ISO)

In the global symphony of standards, the International Standard Organization (ISO) plays the lead role. Imagine ISO as the conductor, harmonizing ultrasonic testing uses.

Their standards Picture a meticulous conductor guiding an orchestra; that's ASTM, ensuring the resonance of bridge borders, creating a universal language for industries embracing ultrasonic precision.

Here is an example of ISO Standards

ISO 17638:2016 - Non-destructive Testing of Welds  - Magnetic particle testing

ISO 3452-2:2013 - Non-destructive testing - Penetrant testing - Part 2: Testing of penetrant materials

Each set of standards plays a vital role in the quality symphony of Ultrasonic Inspection future.

BIS ensures India resonates with precision, British Standards weave an intricate melody, ASTM orchestrates the American resonance, French specifications add finesse, German DIN standards embody precision, and ISO conducts the global harmony.


Standards and codes of Ultrasonic Testing aren't merely rules; they unlock the potential of ultrasonic testing.

Like tuning an instrument, adherence to these codes ensures that the echoes are clear, revealing defects or characteristics within materials accurately.

Understanding Ultrasonic Testing standards is akin to learning the language of echoes.

BIS, British Standards, ASTM, French Specifications, German DIN, and ISO each contribute a note, forming a harmonious composition that resonates across industries.

Key Takeaways

  • Ultrasonic Testing (UT) is a crucial Non-destructive Testing (NDT) method.
  • It deploys high-frequency sound waves for flaw detection in materials.
  • UT is widely applied in manufacturing, aerospace, Oil and Gas Industry.
  • It ensures the quality and integrity of critical structures and components.
  • Global standards and codes govern UT practices globally.
  • They ensure meticulous and consistent inspections, endorsing quality.
  • ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) sets global standards.
  • ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) codes focus on mechanical engineering, crucial for high-pressure systems.
  • UT uses a transducer to send sound waves into materials.
  • Reflection and echoes help measure thickness and detect flaws.
  • Flaw detection and measurement are crucial in detecting and addressing issues in materials.
  • BIS, British, ASTM, French, German (DIN), and ISO standards shape the global UT symphony.
  • Each set of standards ensures precision, reliability, and a harmonious future in ultrasonic inspection.


1. What is ASTM and ASME Code? 

A: ASTM stands for the American Society for Testing and Materials, while ASME refers to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

  Both are organizations that develop and publish standards for various industries.

  ASTM focuses on materials and products, while ASME sets standards for mechanical engineering practices.

2. What is the ASME V standard? 

A: The ASME V standard, also known as ASME Section V, provides guidelines for Non-destructive Examination methods, including ultrasonic testing.

   It covers techniques for detecting and characterizing flaws in materials without causing damage.

3. What is the latest ASME Code? 

A: As of the latest available information, the latest edition of the ASME Code is [insert current edition].

  It's crucial for industries to stay updated with the latest code to ensure compliance with the most recent standards.

4. What is the ultrasonic thickness (UT)?

A: Ultrasonic thickness is a Non-destructive Testing Method used to measure the thickness of materials using ultrasonic waves.

   It's commonly applied to assess the integrity of structures like pipelines, tanks, and vessels by gauging the thickness of the material without causing damage.

5. What are the types of ultrasonic testing? 

A: Ultrasonic testing comes in various types, each serving specific purposes.

   Contact testing, in which an ultrasonic probe touches the material directly; immersion testing, in which the material is submerged in a liquid; & phased array testing, in which ultrasonic elements steer and focus the beam.

   Each method has its own unique applications and advantages in flaw detection and material characterization.

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Application Notes