NDT.net - December 2002, Vol. 7 No.12 |

Institute of Applied Physics, Belarus Academy of Sciences, Belarus, e-mail: veng@iaph.bas-net.by

U.Zscherpel, G.-R. Tillack, C.Mueller. Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und Prüfung, Germany,

e-mail: Gerd-Ruediger.Tillack@bam.de

- limited number of x-ray projections;
- limited angle for object observation by x-ray setup;
- presence of an isolation;
- presence of a process liquid;
- x-ray scattering effect.

The problem of image reconstruction from incomplete X-ray data, applied to in-situ pipes wall thickness assessment, is considered, its main critical points being the following:

- limited number of x-ray projections and
- x-ray perspective angle for object observation is too small for obtaining an unambiguous result of restoration;
- presence of an isolation;
- presence of a process liquid.

There are many practical cases, in which obtained projected x-ray image is blurry, the x-ray cross section is fuzzy and the fuzziness is non uniform along the coordinate. The classical example is x-ray inspection of pipes, which are used in many industries like chemical, power engineering, etc.. It appears a practical requirement for accurate wall thickness measurements of corroded and depleted pipes in service. But usually for those pipes, commonly covered by isolation and filled with a process liquid, the access to the object and the applicability of complex equipment, used for regular Computer Tomography (CT), are strongly limited as to accessibility, cost and labor inputs. A reasonable formulation of the problem could guess the development of the technique for pipes inner surface image restoration in the following conditions:

Mathematically that causes an induced uncertainty in the original image under restoration given particular data. This situation requires application of some non trivial approach to the reconstruction procedure like, e.g., recently developed Multi Step Image Restoration Technique using Bayesian image reconstruction at the final step [1-4].

The present article exhibits the developed technique being evaluated using simulated
and experimental data. In all cases at the end from only two to five projections, exposed
within an observation angle 60^{°} - 90^{°}, were made for data acquisition. 2D and 3D cases for image reconstruction were considered. Both regular x-ray films and imaging plates combined
with corresponding digitization procedures were explored in the experiments. All
computations are supported by PC platforms. Finally the images of restored pipes were
compared with the originally exposed to estimate the reconstruction errors.

- Absorbed, scattered and background radiation parts are additive:
(6) - Summary scattered radiation function is approximated by the Gauss function:
(7) where

*a*and*b* unknown constants, calculated using data from the perfect pipe. Background radiation part is approximated by linear function:(8)

The Bayesian image restoration technique with prior knowledge is applied to the inversion of projected data, the corresponding procedure being described below. Two approaches are applied to the sampling of the object space. In the first one, dealing with the 2D cross section, the object space is discretized on the uniform grid in polar coordinates yielding quasi-rectangular cells in this coordinate system (voxel model). In the second one the object is separated in space only by its surface coordinates in the Cartesian or polar coordinate systems.

As the problem is binary, i.e. there are only two types of substance to be considered
which are air and metal, in the first approach each cell *i* holds only one of two possible
values of the attenuation coefficient *m _{i}*. The process model, given by the absorption law, can be represented in discrete form as follows

(1) |

where
*l _{n,ij}* is the path length of the ray in the cell

The prior functional applied in this work is taken as the square of the first derivative
of the attenuation coefficient in voxel *j* along the basic coordinate directions with respect to
the center of each voxel. This functional can be written in the form

(2) |

where the index *a* designates cells adjacent to the voxel *j* so that
*m _{j,a}* gives the attenuation
coefficient in that voxel. Additional constraints are introduced into the a priori restrictions in
order to create the integral structure of the inner surface and to allow internal cavities in a
pipe wall. The resulting solution for the stated reconstruction problem, i.e. the determination
of the unknown distribution of the attenuation coefficient, is given by the following
optimization problem:

(3) |

The minimization is carried out by applying the original algorithm based on the
gradient descent. The input data for the reconstruction procedure (3) are the ray sums *p ^{m}_{n,i}* which are obtained from the scanned data

(4) |

with *I = I _{o}* exp(

(5) |

with *x _{n,i}* giving the

The parameters *a, b,* and *c* are calculated from the mean square optimization of the
experimental data *D _{n,i}*, provided by exposing the corresponding perfect pipe: the discrepancy
between the measured

The next step is to take into account the scattered radiation, which contribution to the projected image can be substantial [5]. The following considerations have been used for the present elaboration:

where *g* - unknown constant, calculated using data from the perfect pipe.

The next paragraphs illustrate the application of the technique for 2D and 3D pipes image reconstruction from limited data, and consequent pipes wall thickness assessment.

- x-ray beam track length in a metal is strongly non uniform;
- additionally the influence of scattered radiation is not negligibly small.
- obtaining an x-ray image of a perfect pipe, which geometrical features are known;
- calculation of a primary radiation taking into account absorption law (1), optical density function and using the attenuation coefficient, estimated considering beam hardening effect;
- Extraction of the scattered radiation part and background part from the image of a perfect pipe using (6);
- Calculation of the unknown coefficients
*d, e*and*f*in the formula (7) and (8) using the following optimization procedure:(9) where superscripts mean calculated and measured values respectively.

- Using calculated values of
*d, e*and*f*for investigation of inspected pipes.

We shall separately consider two most critical reasons for the data uncertainty in pipes:

**1. Non uniformity of x-ray track length**

In case of non uniformity of x-ray track length the apparent attenuation coefficient
can change dramatically along the coordinate and cause pipes projected image blurring.
Given obtained fuzzy data, simulated with attenuation law in the form (1), the quality of
restored image, using usually applied least square minimization technique (first term in
eq.(3)), is corrupted due to the enormous mean square discrepancy between measured and
simulated data. Although integrating a priori knowledge in the reconstruction algorithm in
the form (3) positively influences the quality of the restored image [1], it still appears to be
useless for wall thickness assessment. The above mentioned conditions are realized in the
data acquisition system, which geometrical setup is shown in Figure 1. The pipe phantom
with two defects was used for the validation of the image restoration technique. Depending
upon the pipe diameter and thickness the ratio of the maximum/minimum track length can
reach the value of one order and more, causing enormous blurring. S_{0},
S_{4} - are successive
positions of the x-ray source.

Fig 1: Geometrical setup for data acquisition. |

Fig 2: Exploited 2D cross section extracted from projection (a) together with optimized data set region (b) for reconstruction purposes. |

In our experiments the exposed pipe had a radius of 57 mm and a nominal wall thickness of 6 mm. The machined notches 1 and 2 had the width of 6 mm and a depth of 3 mm and 1 mm, respectively. For the exposure a 0.8 mm focal spot X-ray tube with a voltage of 200 kV and a current of 2 mA was used for the 5 projections within the observation angle between extreme sources positions of 90°. The exploited 2D cross section, extracted from the image, is shown in Figure 2a. Large difference of track lengths in the metal (the longest path length belongs to the ray tangential to inner pipe surface and is close to 51 mm, the smallest is close to zero near the outer tangent and 9mm in the center), and small tube voltage used for the exposure resulted in image blurring effect in the pipe region bounded by the outer and inner tangents.

One of the key point of the proposed technique is the procedure of excluding from the iteration step of those experimental data, which are located in the area of large blurring effect. In our example only the data set similar to that shown in Figure 2b were used for the reconstruction. The optimal cut-off was estimated by minimizing the reconstruction error at the level of about 20 % of the total pipe projection. It reduces the amount of input data and essentially improves the quality of restoration. The result of image restoration is shown in the Figure 3b which can be compared with the actual pipe image given in Figure 3a. The marginal reconstruction error was less than 0.16 mm.

Fig 3: Comparison of reconstruction result (b) with original image (a). |

**2. Compensation of scattered radiation**

The idea of the compensation of a scattered and background radiation from an x-ray
image, described above, assumes the following steps:

Figure 4 illustrates all five profiles which are logically follow the procedure described above. The final profile used for reconstruction is shown by curve 5.

Fig 4: Original x-ray profiles for the pipe (100 mm diameter) defected by notch (1), simulated absorbed radiation (2), extracted scattered radiation and background (3), simulated scattered radiation and background (4), profile used for restoration (5). |

The development profile of the reconstructed pipes inner surface is shown in Figure 5.

Fig 5: The development profile of the reconstructed pipes inner surface. The reconstruction was done after extraction of the scattered and background radiation. The mean square error of reconstruction is 291mk. |

- determination of the projection of triangle
*S*on the current detector plane;_{u} - definition of triangle boundaries;
- selection of all pixels
*p*:^{n}_{j}*j*= 1,**L**,*j*with the center located inside the triangle s_{n}or on its boundaries;^{n}_{u} - search for the cross points of the rays, passing
through the inner and boundary pixels of the triangle s
, with the inner and outer object surface.^{n}_{u}

The technique for wall thickness measurements using 3D tomographic pipes image,
reconstructed from limited projections and observation angle, was first described in [6]. The
advantage has been taken from introduced elaboration, which assumed the presentation of the
defected pipes image with a hull model. Due to the model the reconstructed object is
represented by two hulls: outer and inner. The outer hull is assumed to be a cylinder with
known radius. The inner surface is considered as a set of elementary surface elements

*S _{u}* :

The forward operator sequentially searches through all inner hull elements for:

(10) |

represents the discrepancy between the current inner surface *S* , which is given by a set of
discrete grid knots

*M _{i}, i *= 1,

Fig 6: Reconstruction results: (a) gray value representation of inner pipe surface together with circumferencial wall thickness profile 1 and profile 2 along pipe axis. |

Investigating the results, shown in the wall thickness profiles 1 and 2, it turns out that the average pipe wall thickness is accurately restored with an error, which does not exceed 200mm. This value holds for smooth wall thickness variations as known from corrosion and erosion. The accuracy of the reconstruction of the notches is smaller and the error is estimated at the level of about 500mm. It is clear that the proposed algorithm can not restore through-wall holes (see Figure 6b) due to the applied surface representation in the reconstruction algorithm. Finally it turns out that the discussed reconstruction algorithm is capable to monitor wall thickness variations in pipes with an accuracy sufficient to meet practical requirements. This technique overcomes the major restrictions of other radiographic methods which usually allow measurements only at specific positions.

- the geometrical setup,
- the spatial resolution of the detector system, and
- the considered prior information.

The proposed 2 and 3 dimensional tomographic procedures can be applied to the wall thickness determination for pipes. For this purpose 3-5 projections within an observation angle of 90° are sufficient. The measurement accuracy that is reached in the presented examples can be interpreted as follows: regions with smooth and/or small wall thickness variation, as usual for corrosion and erosion, can be reconstructed with measurement errors less than about 400mm. In regions with sharp and/or large wall thickness variations the reconstruction error is increased to about 1 mm as shown for notches and flat bottom holes, which were used as phantoms for defects like corrosion pits. It is found that the reached accuracy of restoration is mainly influenced by the following factors:

- V. Vengrinovich,Y. Denkevich and G.-R. Tillack,Reconstruction of Three-Dimensional
Binary Structures from an Extremely Limited Number of Cone-Beam x-ray Projections
Choise of Prior.
*Journal of Phys., D:Applied Physics*. V.32, 1999, pp. 2505-2514. - V. Vengrinovich, Yu. Denkevich, G.-R. Tillack, U.Ewert and B.Redmer, Bayesian
Restoration of Crack Images in Welds from Incomplete Noisy Data.
*Review of Progress in QNDE*, ed. by D. O. Tompson and D. E. Chimenti, v. 19A, American Institute of Physics, Melville-N.Y., 2000, pp.635-642. - V. Vengrinovich, Yu. Denkevich, and G.-R. Tillack, Bayesian 3D x-ray reconstruction
from incomplete noisy data. In book:
*Maximum Entropy and Bayesian Methods*, ed. by W.von der Linden et. al., Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1999, pp. 73-83. - Zolotarev S.A., Vengrinovich V.L. and G.-R.Tillack. 3D Reconstruction of Flaw Images
with Inter -Iterational Suppression of Shadow Artefacts.
*Rev. Prog. In QNDE*, Vol 16, ed. By D.O. Thompson and D.E. Chimenti, Plenum Press New-York, 1997. - V.M. Artemjev, A.O.Naumov, G.-R.Tillack and C.Bellon, Simulation of Scattering
Process in Radiation Techniques exploiting the Theory of Markovian Processes,
*Rev. Prog. In QNDE*, Vol 16, ed. By D.O. Thompson and D.E. Chimenti, Plenum Press New- York, 1997, pp.309-316. - V. Vengrinovich, S. Zolotarev, A. Kuntsevich and Gerd-Rüdiger Tillack. New Technique
for 2D and 3D X-ray Image Restoration of Pipes in Service Given a Limited Access for
Observation.
*Rev. Prog. In QNDE*, Vol 20, ed. By D.O. Thompson and D.E. Chimenti, Plenum Press New-York, 2001, pp. 756-763

© NDT.net - info@ndt.net | |Top| |