This assay type uses ultrasound to measure changes in the consistency of a specific material. Unlike other assay methods, an ultrasound assay is non-destructive and does not require melting, which makes it perfect for determining whether an item is precious metal-plated—without damaging it.
To conduct the test, an ultrasonic flaw detector generates an ultrasonic pulse and emits it via a stethoscope-like transducer that is pressed against the test subject. Ultrasonic waves travel through any medium in the same direction until they meet a different material, which causes them to reflect back to their source. The transducer detects any changes in the ultrasonic pulse to find out if the outside and inside of an object are made of the same material. If the consistency of the metal changes, so does the frequency.
An ultrasound test is a much quicker and convenient alternative to melting or drilling.
It’s most useful for catching counterfeit bullion or sorting out precious metal plated items from solid ones—and can detect complex counterfeits like tungsten-filled gold bars. It’s also the best option for items like antiques, museum acquisitions, archeological finds and other delicate items that must remain in pristine condition.
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