Acoustic Emission Testing

Qualitest Canada provides top notch Acoustic Emission Testing for Oil & Gas, Power Generation, Utility plants, Upgraders and Petrochemical Industries worldwide. Our advanced NDT specialists are highly innovative and have experience to provide state of the art NDT Technologies to various projects. Acoustic Emission Testing is a powerful, non-intrusive inspection technique to verify the structural integrity of pressure vessels, spheres, high-temperature reactors and piping, Coke drums, Delayed Cokers, above-ground storage tanks, cryogenic storage tanks, and more. The process involves using sensors to detect acoustic emissions and then converting the waves into electrical signals so that they can be recorded. We can then analyze the results to assess a material’s condition and locate any defects. The recorded information can provide potentially valuable information about the origin and significance of a defect in a structure.

Acoustic Emission Testing is based on the principle that only defects that are actually growing under a specific damage mechanism (i.e., SCC, wet H2S cracking, thermal fatigue, creep, etc.) can generate genuine Acoustic Emission signals. Consequently, old fabrication defects and stable cracks will not be detected because these defects are not actively growing. Repairs, if necessary, can be made only on the areas that contain defects significant to the structural integrity of the vessel.

Acoustic Emission Testing is very versatile and has many applications across a variety of industries. It’s also used as a research tool. Some of the applications include:

  • Detection of active sources, including yielding, crack propagation, fatigue, creep, fiber delamination, fiber fracture, and corrosion.
  • Structural integrity evaluation
  • In-field inspection
  • Weld quality monitoring
  • Production quality control
  • Leak detection

Acoustic Emission testing can generally be performed using the fluid stored in the tank. This has the advantage that pressure vessels or tanks need not be opened and drained prior to testing, so that Acoustic emission testing is faster as well as more cost-effective and involves less organizational effort than conventional test methods.

Acoustic Emission testing inspection is distinct from other NDT inspection methods in a few ways. Most notably, rather than supplying energy to the asset in question and detecting the changes to determine the presence of defects, it listens to the energy that occurs naturally when damages occur. This ensures that any active concerns to structural and operational health are detected.


  • Non-intrusive and can be performed on in-service equipment
  • More cost effective than internal inspections
  • Assesses the equipment for structural problems, approximates where flaws are, and gives a measure of their severity
  • In the case of ammonia tanks, with Acoustic Emission inspections one avoids the thermal stresses incurred during decommissioning and the risk of oxygen contamination incurred during internal inspections.


  • Assessments are qualitative; they do not characterize flaws or corrosion damage in terms of flaw, orientation, size and/or depth
  • Acoustic Emission testing inspections are generally not sensitive to porosity, slag inclusions and small lack of fusion fabrication defects in operating equipment
  • Background noise and other properties of a particular vessel may limit detection sensitivity
  • A complementary inspection method, such as shear wave ultrasonic techniques, is needed to map out and size flaws detected with Acoustic Emission testing

Qualitest has an extensive range of Advanced Non-Destructive Testing (ANDT) equipment that offers our clients an unmatched capability of applications ranging from simple surface inspection to the detection of hidden cracks, voids and other internal irregularities in the equipment. Our specialized applications will help you to enhance inspection quality, simplify processes, speed up your inspection setups and realize easier interpretation. With our state-of-the-art inspection technologies & application methods, you will save overall maintenance costs, improve production quality and ensure reliable operating processes. Qualitest can handle any size of the NDT / Inspection project throughout Canada and internationally.

Contact us today to get a quote.