The Robert C. Byrd National Technology Transfer Center (NTTC) (Wheeling, WV) has announced that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has developed a new ultrasonic leak detection technology which is said to offer significant improvement for specific leak-detection applications. NASA is offering the technology for licensing.

This leak detection technique was designed to provide a highly sensitive listening device that would detect small gaseous leaks at a distance of a few inches to a range of 12 to 15 in. from the source of the leak. It uses an elliptical collector for focusing ultrasonic waves that reflect from the internal surface onto a detector located at one of the focal points of the ellipse (at the opposite end of the opening). Depending on the shape of the ellipse, the distance to the source, the size of the opening, and other parameters, the elliptical shape can provide up to 10 times the sensitivity of a bare sensor or a parabolic collector, according to the agency.