Pierre Bélanger: Serving Industry and Medicine with Guided Ultrasonic Waves

At a time when corrosion in pipelines is causing major environmental and security concerns, research on guided ultrasonic waves and their application in industrial settings is valuable. They are also used in biomedical applications.

What Are Guided Ultrasonic Waves?

Guided ultrasonic waves, also known as “Lamb waves,” are elastic waves that can propagate over distances that may exceed 100 metres, thanks to the low frequency used to activate them. The low ecological footprint and low cost make this a very attractive technology. However, using these waves is complex, and modelling is required, a problem that Professor Bélanger and his teams are trying to solve.

How Do These Waves Meet Industry Needs?

Due to aging infrastructures around the world, there is a demand for increasingly advanced inspection techniques that can be met by guided ultrasonic waves. They can map the remaining thickness of material on corroded structures.

What Industries Can Make Use of Guided Ultrasonic Waves?

Many sectors, including the oil and gas industry, use these waves in the context of non-destructive inspections (characterization without deterioration). They are frequently used in the inspection of very large structures, to which classical techniques are not adapted.

Our researchers have developed new transducers that are able to “excite” waves in areas that are difficult to access. They can be used in many different ways; they make it possible to inspect thin or very large structures and work in extreme conditions.

What Are the Biomedical Applications of These Waves?

Professor Bélanger’s team is working to develop highly innovative techniques, particularly in medical engineering. Their research is currently focused on the use of guided waves to diagnose osteoporosis and assessing the elasticity of the spinal cord in the case of spinal cord injuries. Guided waves have a promising future ahead of them!