Comprehensive Characterization of Measurement Data Gathered by the Pressure Tube to Calandria Tube Gap Probe

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Shokralla, Shaddy
eddy current , pressure tube , calandria tube , lift-off , gap , resistivity , surface profiling , principal components analysis , signal processing , multi-frequency
Multi-frequency eddy current measurements are employed in estimating pressure tube (PT) to calandria tube (CT) gap in CANDU fuel channels, a critical inspection activity required to ensure fitness for service of fuel channels. In this thesis, a comprehensive characterization of eddy current gap data is laid out, in order to extract further information on fuel channel condition, and to identify generalized applications for multi-frequency eddy current data. A surface profiling technique, generalizable to multiple probe and conductive material configurations has been developed. This technique has allowed for identification of various pressure tube artefacts, has been independently validated (using ultrasonic measurements), and has been deployed and commissioned at Ontario Power Generation. Dodd and Deeds solutions to the electromagnetic boundary value problem associated with the PT to CT gap probe configuration were experimentally validated for amplitude response to changes in gap. Using the validated Dodd and Deeds solutions, principal components analysis (PCA) has been employed to identify independence and redundancies in multi-frequency eddy current data. This has allowed for an enhanced visualization of factors affecting gap measurement. Results of the PCA of simulation data are consistent with the skin depth equation, and are validated against PCA of physical experiments. Finally, compressed data acquisition has been realized, allowing faster data acquisition for multi-frequency eddy current systems with hardware limitations, and is generalizable to other applications where real time acquisition of large data sets is prohibitive.
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