It's an awfully long name for something, isn't it? It is, and that is why it is often referred to as PAUT, which stands for phased array ultrasonic testing. (The differences between the usage of examination and testing are negligible, for these purposes.)
PAUT is what is known as an advanced non-destructive examination technique (or, NDT). It is a way, in other words, of looking at, examining, and testing things without causing physical damage to the item or items in question. There are many advanced NDT of which PAUT is one, but PAUT stands out for a few reasons.
PAUT is, at its heart, ultrasonic testing. This means PAUT can be utilized in any situation where other types of ultrasonic testing can be used. Ultrasonic testing uses sound waves that are too high pitched for most humans to hear (occasionally ultrasonic testing will drop into potential human hearing range, though rarely) and use the way that sound echoes back to the receiver to create an image of the object being tested. This is not dissimilar to ultrasounds, commonly used in pregnancies and other medical procedures.
PAUT, like other advanced NDT, is used to examine an item for damage that cannot be seen by the eye. You can use it to check if welds are solid and correct, if there's corrosion occurring on an item that will need attending to, you can examine something for cracks or other breakages. All without having to do anything to the item itself.
PAUT is set apart from most other types of ultrasonic testing by the first two words- phased array. The array has several meanings, but in this case, it's used much as it would be used when talking about solar panels. So an array of solar panels is a grouping of them, arranged for maximum efficiency, PAUT makes use of groups of smaller elements assembled together emitting sound. A PAUT transducer assembly can use up to 256 different elements to create a picture.
Where this has an advantage over other types of NDT, even other types of ultrasonic testing is that a larger picture can be gained from the process without having to move equipment. This means you can reduce the number of people needed on the job, as well as how much it interferes with workflow and site shutdown. It also works on all kinds of materials and has applications in almost every major industry. Contact someone near you for phased array ultrasonic examination services.