Press Release

August 15, 2011

AECOM is using phased array ultrasonic testing (PAUT) — an advanced method of ultrasonic testing — to reduce inspection times and deliver more accurate results. The emerging technology makes it easier to inspect components with complex geometry and increases the chance of detecting defects.


With regular ultrasonic testing, high-frequency sound waves are passed through solid materials to detect cracks, voids and other inconsistencies as well as measure thickness and analyze material properties. PAUT takes the technology one step further, using a detection unit and a probe to steer, focus and scan beams, and generate images for analysis.

A typical PAUT device consists of a detection unit and a probe, which are used to generate images for analysis.

“Simply put, PAUT is to traditional ultrasonic testing what digital is to traditional film photography,” said Scott Steube, project manager, Water. “PAUT can reveal material anomalies such as size, length and location hidden inside a structure or weld that are classified as defects.”

Several AECOM-led projects in the United States have benefitted from the use of PAUT, including the private suites at TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and SC Johnson Project Honor in Racine, Wisconsin, as well as the O’Hare International Airport Façade and Circulation Enhancement project in Chicago, Illinois.

Projects involving PAUT are expected to increase as the technology gains interest from industry groups such as the Electric Power Research Institute and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.