★ The longitudinal velocity was almost a constant, independent of the sensitization. ★ The shear velocity and especially the shear attenuation are sensitive to DoS. ★ Relationships between DoS, shear velocity and shear attenuation were established. ★ The data mining was performed to evaluate and improve the measurement accuracy.
Sensitization in 5XXX aluminum alloys is an insidious problem characterized by the gradual formation and growth of beta phase (Mg2Al3) at grain boundaries, which increases the susceptibility of alloys to intergranular corrosion (IGC) and intergranular stress-corrosion cracking (IGSCC). The degree of sensitization (DoS) is currently quantified by the ASTM G67 Nitric Acid Mass Loss Test, which is destructive and time consuming. A fast, reliable, and non-destructive method for rapid detection and the assessment of the condition of DoS in AA5XXX aluminum alloys in the field is highly desirable. In this paper, we describe a non-destructive method for measurements of DoS in aluminum alloys with an electromagnetic acoustic transducer (EMAT). AA5083 aluminum alloy samples were sensitized at 100 °C with processing times varying from 7 days to 30 days. The DoS of sensitized samples was first quantified with the ASTM 67 test in the laboratory. Both ultrasonic velocity and attenuation in sensitized specimens were then measured using EMAT and the results were correlated with the DoS data. We found that the longitudinal wave velocity was almost a constant, independent of the sensitization, which suggests that the longitudinal wave can be used to determine the sample thickness. The shear wave velocity and especially the shear wave attenuation are sensitive to DoS. Relationships between DoS and the shear velocity, as well as the shear attenuation have been established. Finally, we performed the data mining to evaluate and improve the accuracy in the measurements of DoS in aluminum alloys with EMAT.