The Many Uses of Non-Destructive Testing

The Many Uses of Non-Destructive Testing
11/11/2014 8:57:25 AM

Nondestructive Testing (NDT) is used in a wide variety of settings, especially in industries where component failure could present a significant hazard or cause severe economic loss. Industries that use it have saved millions of dollars per year in cost savings or cost avoidance.

NDT methods are used to detect flaws, leaks, determine locations and measure stress in materials.

It can assist at nearly every stage in the production or life cycle of a component from the inspection of raw materials, inspection following secondary processing such as machining or welding, and in-service damage inspection to look for cracks, corrosion, leaks, heat damage and general wear and tear.

NDT was even used to evaluate potential damage to the Liberty Bell!

In order to give you greater insight into its versatility, here is a list of some of the many industry uses for NDT.

Aerospace - Aircraft suffer many types of structural deterioration including corrosion, fatigue, fabrication defects, operation and maintenance, and unforeseen loading.

It is critical to inspect surfaces for any damage that may exist in order to determine the extent of repair work needed, whether that occurs as a result of manufacturing or while the aircraft is in service.

Following a period of service, aircraft engines are disassembled, cleaned, inspected and then reassembled. Fluorescent penetrant inspection is used to check for cracks and other damage.

Automobiles – The automotive industry relies on NDT during manufacture to test for flaws in brakes, steering and critical engine components.

Bridges – The U.S. has 578,000 highway bridges says the NDT Resource Center. Corrosion, cracking and other damage can all affect bridge load carrying capacity. Therefore, all of the elements that directly affect performance of the bridge including the footing, substructure, deck, and superstructure must be periodically inspected or monitored with NDT.

Pipelines - NDT is used to inspect oil & gas industry pipelines to prevent leaks that could damage the environment.

Power plants - Periodic in-service inspection is carried out during maintenance outages to deliver essential input for assessing the structural integrity of primary circuit components. Among other things, this includes inspection of boiler, feedwater and condenser tubes, turbine components and steam lines.

Pressure vessels - The failure of a pressure vessel can result in the rapid release of a large amount of energy. Tanks are inspected using radiography and ultrasonic testing to protect against such an event.

Railroads – The railroad industry inspect thousands of miles of rails each year to find cracks that could lead to a derailment. NDT also tests locomotive and rolling stock axles for fatigue cracks.

Shipbuilding - Non-destructive testing has become an integral part of the shipbuilding industry and is used to the quality of finished products.

It has the secondary purpose of cutting the expense of faulty working materials and of assisting in the development of new manufacturing processes and materials.

Storage tanks - Robotic crawlers use ultrasound to inspect the walls of large above ground tanks for signs of thinning due to corrosion.

If your curiosity is piqued about the many uses of NDT within industry settings, we recommend paying a visit to the NDT Resource Center to learn more. The site contains a wealth of detailed information.

Of course, we also recommend that you turn to Tech Service Products for all your non-destructive testing needs. We offer an extensive inventory of MRO and NDT supplies, as well as NDT certification training.

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