Non destructive testing is exactly what it sounds like. It includes a huge number of analysis tools used in science and industry to inspect objects without damaging them. Many of the most popular types of NDT technologies in use today are also used in the medical field, although the term non destructive testing isn’t used for one simple reason: in medicine, it’s generally assumed that you want to analyze the object (in this case, a human being) without harming him or her.
Today, scientists use NDT technology to analyze ancient mummies or study the earth’s crust. In industry, metrology labs and quality engineers use NDT technologies to improve the quality of their products, decrease production time, reduce costs, comply with safety regulations, reverse engineering, and other purposes.
If you’re looking for a list of NDT technologies in use today, then here are the six most popular NDT techniques as of July 2016:
Laser Testing: Although there are several techniques used by 3D laser scanning services, they all involve using lasers to scan the external surface of an object. It’s a fast and extremely accurate form of analysis. Because of the low cost, high scan rate, and portability of laser scanners, it remains a popular technique for non destructive testing.
Drawbacks: even the best 3D laser scanning services can only provide an analysis of the outside of an object.
Ultrasonic Testing: Just like the name suggests, ultrasonic testing uses the same technology used in marine SONAR equipment. Ultra-high frequency sound passes through the part, and changes in density are used to create a visual model of the object.
Drawbacks: Because ultrasound waves won’t travel through air, some type of liquid or gel couplant is required.
Eddy Current Testing: This popular form of electromagnetic testing uses the current created by alternating current coils to analyze objects. When scientists need to analyze conductive materials, this is the NDT technique of choice.
Drawbacks: only works on flat surfaces or tubular products; only penetrates one-quarter inch below the object’s surface.
Liquid Penetrant Testing: When quality engineers need to inspect a part for cracks, they apply a low viscosity liquid to the surface of the object. LPT testing can be performed on both magnetic and non-magnetic materials.
Drawbacks: Cannot be used with porous materials; not effective for internal analysis.
Magnetic Particle Testing: This NDT technology uses magnetic fields to identify surface and near-surface flaws and discontinuities in ferromagnetic materials.
Drawbacks: Because it only works on magnetic materials, it has limited applications.
Industrial CT Scanning Services: Of all the NDT technologies, industrial CT scanning is fast emerging as the technique of choice. It can be used on microscopic objects and jumbo jets alike, and is a relatively fast inspection method. Most importantly, this digital radiography technology uses X-rays or gamma radiation to create highly accurate 3D models of objects. This allows scientists to analyze the internal and external properties of the object.
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