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Home > News > What Are Defects And Why Is It Important to Detect Them?

What Are Defects And Why Is It Important to Detect Them?

Jul. 12, 2021

Defects cause stress concentrations and can compromise the integrity of structural components, leading to premature failure below design stress. Depending on the size, shape (round vs. sharp notches), and a number of defects, static mechanical properties (tensile strength, elongation, toughness) can be reduced. A small number of fine pores may not significantly reduce static properties. However, even small amounts of porosity can significantly reduce dynamic properties such as fatigue strength, so parts under high cyclic loads should be monitored for defects before and during use.


Defects and interruptions provide the initiation point for fatigue cracking. Surface defects also make the material more susceptible to corrosion. Ultrasonic flaw detection is important in the aerospace, automotive, infrastructure (bridges, towers, etc.), manufacturing, marine, oil and gas, and power generation industries.

Ultrasonic Flaw Detector

Ultrasonic Flaw Detector

Aging structures such as bridges, airframes, pressure vessels, reactors, and ships require non-destructive testing to ensure material integrity, seaworthiness, and overall human safety, as well as to protect the environment and prevent major capital equipment losses. Ultrasonic testing or monitoring is used in the manufacturing process of composite materials, welds, metal alloy plates, or mill blank products to detect voids, inclusions, and defects and to adjust process parameters to eliminate these manufacturing defects.


Ultrasonic flaw detection is important in the aerospace, automotive, infrastructure (bridges, towers, etc.), manufacturing, marine, oil and gas, and power generation industries. Aging structures such as bridges, airframes, pressure vessels, reactors, and ships require non-destructive testing to ensure material integrity, seaworthiness, and overall human safety, as well as to protect the environment and prevent major capital equipment losses. Ultrasonic testing or monitoring is used in the manufacturing of composite materials, welds, metal alloy plates, or mill blank products to detect voids, inclusions, and defects and to adjust process parameters to eliminate these manufacturing defects.


What is UT?

Ultrasonic flaw detectors are part of the tools used by non-destructive testing (NDT) engineers, inspectors or technicians, metallurgists, and materials engineers to ensure the integrity of parts and materials. Ultrasonic testing (UT) is one of the primary methods of NDT.


Electromagnetic or eddy current (ET), X-ray or radiographic testing (RT), visual inspection (VT), computed tomography (CT, aka digital imaging or computed radiography [CR]), magnetic particle testing (MT), liquid penetrant (LP) and hardness testing (HD) are also prominent NDT techniques. While eddy current and electromagnetic methods are widely used to inspect metals and alloys, they do not work when electrically insulating or non-ferromagnetic materials or parts need to be inspected. ut can be used to inspect non-conductive materials such as composites, plastics, wood, and ceramics. Depending on the specific product, ultrasonic instruments can also indicate material thickness, speed of sound in the material, modulus of elasticity, leak detection, and fault detection.


Non-destructive testing (NDT) or nondestructive evaluation is performed by NDT personnel to verify the structural integrity of new and used products, components, and materials. This Association for Non-Destructive Testing (ASNT) is the premier organization involved in training and certifying NDT personnel, developing NDT standards, promoting the use of NDT best practices, encouraging the exploration of new NDT methods, and sharing NDT expertise and research through conferences, meetings, and publications. There are many industrial applications that require ASNT level certification. For example, companies often require inspectors to be qualified in ultrasonic testing (UT) and hold ASNT certification. Different levels of ANST NDT certification are available depending on experience and the exams passed. NDT personnel are also required to recertify periodically.


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