Non-destructive testing (NDT) is a general term referring to a variety of testing methods that generate important information without physically damaging or altering the material, structure, or component that is being examined. Within the world of industry, it is most often associated with vitally important testing to ensure safe and proper maintenance and avoid disastrous and costly malfunctions or breakdowns in critical equipment.  

This article will explain the most basic and important information about NDT, provide insight into why it’s necessary, and explain some of the most common forms of NDT used in the industrial sector.

A Closer Look at NDT – What Is It and Why It’s So Important

After considering the term “non-destructive testing,” we logically come to the question, “what is destructive testing?”

Destructive vs. Non-Destructive Testing

As you might suppose, the alternative to NDT is any testing method that gathers data by physically damaging, altering, or destroying material from the thing being tested. These testing methods are known as Destructive Testing (DT) and generally involve subjecting material samples to various kinds of stress.  

Common types of destructive testing can involve physically crushing or bending samples (e.g., 3 point bend testing, tensile testing) or exposing samples to different chemical stressors (e.g., hydrogen testing, corrosive testing). 

Why Choose NDT?

NDT is critical for any enterprise seeking to ensure the safety of their products, from food production to storing potentially volatile chemicals. When it comes to implementing those safety precautions, there are many reasons to make use of NDT services: 

  • – It’s safe almost all forms of NDT (except perhaps radiographic testing) pose no harm to the people performing the test or the employees of the business that require testing.
  • – It’s more cost-efficient compared to Destructive Testing, NDT doesn’t physically harm or alter the subject being tested. No money is spent replacing material removed for testing or on creating sample materials specifically for testing.
  • – It’s highly efficient and accurate NDT methods have proven themselves to be a quick, reliable, and accurate means of monitoring facilities to avoid costly damage and repairs, keep employees safe, and ensure reliable operation of various businesses.

Common Forms of NDT

As mentioned, NDT is a very broad term that can refer to various methods, tools, and techniques. The specific method or materials used in NDT depend on the exact purpose of the test being performed. Below are some of the more most common types of commercial NDT:

Visual Testing (VT):

  • – What is it? Perhaps the simplest form of NDT, this method simply refers to visually observing the status of equipment to find potential damage or problems.
  • – How is it done? – Visual testing can be done by examining assets with the naked eye or with the assistance of flashlights or specialized camera technology.

Magnetic Particle Testing (MT):

  • – What is it? – Magnetic Particle Testing is a form of testing that searches for imperfections by examining magnetic flow in metals or other materials susceptible to magnetization.
  • – How is it done? – MT is done by inducing a magnetic field into the material being tested. Once this is done, iron particles are introduced to the surface of the material in question, which offers a visual indication of the presence and location of potential disruptions in the magnetic field.

Radiographic Testing (RT):

  • – What is it? – Radiographic Testing is the process of exposing material to gamma radiation to find imperfections or flaws.
  • – How is it done? – Radioactive isotopes (X-rays) are passed through the testing material towards specialized film or detectors on the other side. The results offer data about the material that might be hard to examine with the naked eye, density, for example.   

Ultrasonic Testing (UT):

  • – What is it? – Ultrasonic Testing is the process of running high-frequency sound waves through a material to identify potential changes or imperfections in a surface. 
  • – How is it done? – There are a variety of UT methodologies, the most common being pulse-echo, where sound waves are introduced to the material, and imperfections or flaws can be identified based on the way the sound returns as an echo.

Penetrant Dye Testing (PT):

  • – What is it? – Penetrant Dye Testing refers to the use of specialized dyes to identify potential leaks or cracks in a system.
  • – How is it done? – A specialized dye is introduced into the system being tested. If there is a leak or a flaw in the container, the highly visible dye will render even a very small or hard to spot leak easily visible.

How Can NDT Serve You?

NDT plays a critical role in ensuring the safety of employees and consumers in nearly every form of industry, and this is where NDT Tanknicians come in. Based outside of Kansas City, MO, and with locations nationwide (Houston, Dallas, San Diego, Chicago, Tampa, and Fort Lauderdale, to name a few), we understand the importance of accurate and reliable testing in keeping your employees safe and your business running smoothly.  

We specialize in inspections and the industrial cleaning and painting of above-ground storage tanks used in various industries such as food and dairy, pharmaceutical, chemical, petroleum, and more.  

Contact us to request your quote today!