If you are interested in testing an asset for potential flaws or breaks, using non destructive testing is a no-brainer. In recent years, numerous non destructive testing methods, such as magnetic particle inspection and liquid penetrant testing, have been honed and perfected, making it easier and cheaper for businesses of all sizes to test their facilities.
Why is Non Destructive Testing Important?
Regular non destructive testing is the best way to ensure your assets are in full working order, safe, and compliant with today’s regulations. Without regularly testing a facility’s components, it is impossible to tell whether they will be effective in the long or even short term.
Testing is also a money saver. By being aware of the status of all of a facility’s elements, breaks can be avoided; if proper testing does not occur, the damage caused by a rupture or crack, not to mention unplanned downtime, can dramatically exceed the cost of preventative testing and repairs.
What Are the Types of Non Destructive Testing?
There are a number of different non-destructive testing methods, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. The tests employed by an inspector will change depending on the specifics of a situation. Here are some of the more common forms of NDE used today.
Ultrasonic Inspection (UT) is a term that encompasses a variety of tests that can be performed using ultrasonic waves. There are many different types of UT that are used for different inspection purposes, such as wall thickness testing in piping, pressure vessels and storage tanks; or surface and sub-surface flaw detection.
Specifics depend on the test, but in general UT involves sending ultrasonic waves into a material while at the same time reading how the waves respond to the material.
The depth allowed by this type of test is one of its biggest advantages. For flaw detection, for example, UT can detect abnormalities deep beneath the surface with incredible accuracy. However, ultrasonic tests are not as easy to perform as some other methods, potentially requiring more time and training to execute. Furthermore, ultrasonic testing cannot be performed on every surface.
Magnetic Particle Inspection/Testing
Magnetic Particle Testing is a commonly used form of NDE, mainly due to the limited surface preparation the test requires. In a magnetic particle inspection, magnetic currents are put through the desired testing component. As defects or ruptures stop the flow of current, they cause the flow and shape of the magnetism to vary.
The second part of the inspection involves spreading particles of metal across the component. As the aforementioned magnetism is different in areas with flaws or abnormalities, particles bunch within them, making them immediately visible.
Magnetic particle testing’s frequent usage can be attributed to its ease in execution. However, it has limitations. To begin, it can only be performed on ferromagnetic surfaces like nickel, iron, cobalt, and some alloys. Second, following the test, a surface must be demagnetized, which can be a difficult process. Finally, magnetic particle inspections only detect defects on the surface or near to the surface. For any deeper defects, other testing must be used.
Liquid Penetrant Testing
Liquid Penetrant Testing (LP) is another commonly employed form of NDE. This method is similar to magnetic particle testing, but rather than using magnetism and particles, it utilizes a liquid to visually detect flaws on a surface level.
In liquid penetrant testing, a liquid is spread across the tested surface, and, through capillary action, is drawn into the flaw. This makes LP an incredibly easy form of testing to perform, and it is not limited by the magnetic aspect inherent to magnetic particle testing.
However, LP has its own drawbacks. For example, due to the nature of the test, it can only detect flaws on a surface level. A smooth surface is also required for this test to be effective.
Which type of Non Destructive Testing is Best for Me?
The answer to this question depends on a broad range of factors. An inspector may use just one or several of these tests when looking at a given facility or asset, deriving their suggestions for repairs or changes from the results. An inspector will look at the asset in question, the type of service the asset is in, and various other factors to determine the best type of inspection to perform in order to be most likely to find any issues.
It may be best to get a comprehensive inspection, then work from the information collected to determine the best course of action.
No matter which test must be performed, going over the results of those tests with an expert is the proper way to be sure a facility meets modern standards.
With over 13 years in the industry, the trained staff at ProTect-All Solutions can help you meet your inspection needs. Our experts will look at your facility and assets from top to bottom, providing you with all of our inspection results in an easy-to-understand format. We’ll also give you recommendations for repairs or alterations to existing equipment, all wrapped up in one easily digestible document.
If you have any questions about non-destructive testing or want to schedule an inspection, Contact us at Info@protectall-usa.com or 412-248-SAFE. We’ll be happy to work with you to provide you with the services you need.