3D ULTRASONIC STRAIN IMAGING USING FREEHAND SCANNING AND A MECHANICALLY-SWEPT PROBE
R.J. Housden, A.H. Gee, G.M. Treece and R.W. Prager
This paper compares two approaches to 3D ultrasonic axial strain imaging. The first uses a tracked ultrasound probe swept manually over the region of interest to build up a co-registered sequence of 2D strain images, each obtained by comparing neighbouring B-scans in the sequence. The alternative uses a mechanically-swept 3D probe to record pre- and post-deformation volumes, which are then processed to yield a volume of strain data. The resulting strain images depend on the stress fields induced by the different probe footprints and also on the signal processing techniques used to produce the strain volumes. Both of these factors are considered in this paper, which presents a comparison of the two approaches based on finite element simulations validated through in vitro experimentation. The conclusion is that, for a given frame density, high quality axial strain data is more easily obtained using the 3D probe. However, the freehand approach might be preferable in situations where limited access to the scanning target restricts the use of a large footprint probe.
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