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Non-destructive testing (NDT) is the process of examining a material without damaging or destroying it so that the material can continue being used in its current application. The method has been prevalent for decades, continually evolving and developing. NDT is now invaluable to a number of industries.
How Is NDT Used?
A range of NDT methods can determine flaws and defects on or within a material's surface. These techniques do not cause any harm to the material itself in gaining information on its performance and structure.
Beginning as a method of visual testing, where characteristic signs were looked for on the surface of a material or component, NDT now encompasses a wide range of techniques.
Industries rely on NDT methods to ensure the safety and reliability of their products and structures. Aviation, space, oil and gas, automotive, transportation, energy, and construction are all sectors for which NDT is now essential.
Methods such as visual inspection, ultrasonic testing, liquid penetrant testing, magnetic particle testing, eddy current testing, radiographic testing, and acoustic emission testing are all ways in which these industries can test materials without destroying them.
Benefits of NDT
There are five main benefits that companies can take advantage of when using NDT methods. These benefits make NDT important to the industries that use them.
The first and most obvious benefit is that NDT methods offer a way to investigate structures and materials without causing them damage. This means that whatever is being tested can remain intact, allowing it to preserve its structural integrity and function.
Product safety can be increased by adding NDT methods to product development. Non-destructive methods can be used to test how the product functions for its purpose while it continues to be used. This helps product developers better understand how to amend the product to increase the level of safety to the user.
Similar to improvements on safety, NDT can also be used to improve reliability, allowing all types of products to be tested while they are being put through their paces, highlighting areas of weaknesses that would benefit from improvement.
Extensive repair and early replacement due to product failure to meet expectations is a significant cause of cost. This can be avoided through testing products with NDT before they enter the market. At this stage potential defects through long term usage can be detected before they happen, helping companies to avoid costly loss of revenue due to recalls or loss of reputation through faulty products.
NDT methods can be more cost-effective than destructive ones. For example, a car manufacturer may use computer simulations of how a car will perform and respond to crashes, as opposed to physically crashing and observing numerous real-life staged crashes.
Peace of Mind
Adding NDT methods to the product development process gives companies confidence in the quality of their products, allowing them to be certain that they have crafted a product with the highest safety measures and longest lifespan possible.
The Necessity of Non-Destructive Testing
Products like aircraft, trains, pipelines, oil rigs, bridges, and pressure vessels are all items that could potentially cause catastrophic accidents if they do not perform to the highest standards. That is why NDT has become and is an essential part of their development and monitoring process, allowing them to continually improve and helping experts to foresee potential future problems, preventing them before they occur.