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Level III
Study Guide

ElectroDlag etic
second edition

The American Society for Nond estructive Testing

Level III
Study Guide

second edition

The American Society for Nondestructive Testing, Inc.


Publi!>hed by
The Ameriean Society for Nondestructive Testing. Inc.
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ISBN-13: 978-157117-164-1
Printed in the United States of Amerie:l

09/07 first printing


ASNT methods committees, at the direction of the Technical and
Education Council, have prepared Level III Study Guides that aTe
intended to present the major a(('as in each nondestructive testing
method. This Study Guide was updated and revised v..r:ith the assistance
of the Electromagnetics Committee.
The Lcvcllll candidate should use ASNT Level III Study GJ/ide:
Electromagnetic Testillg Method only as a review, as it may not contain all
of the informa tion necessary to pass a typical ASNT Level III
The electromagnetic testing method has several subdisciplines. The
general consensus at the time of this revision is that there are four
specific field techniques: eddy current testing. flux leakage testing.
remote field testing and alternating current field measurement. Each of
these techniques may provide some information in specific material
testing applications that the others may not be able to provide in the
same test situation. The primary focus of this document wilt be eddy
current testing. Some information is provided to define how the other
electromagnetic testing techniques might be applied..
In using this Study Guide, the reader ,vill be given specific references,
including page numbers, where additional detailed information can be
obtained. Typical Level III question s are available at the end of each
chapter to aid in detennining comprehension of the material.
A typical use of this Study Guide might include the foUowing
An individual should review the qucstions at the end of each chapter
in the Study Guide to detcnnine if his or her comprehension of
electromagnetic testing is adequate. The questions will serve as an
indicator of the individual 's ability to pass a Level III examination.
If the individual finds questions in a certain chapter of the Study
Guide to be difficult, it is suggested that the individual carefully study
the information presented in that chaptcr. This review of the
information in the Study Guide will serve to refresh one's mt.'mory of
theory and forgotten facts.
If the individual encounters information that is new or not clearly
understood, then it is important to note the specific references given
tluoughout the Study Guide and carefully read this information.
Referenccs are indicated by parentheses and the reference number: (N).


Early experimenters in the field of magnetism and electromagnetism
established the basis fo r the principles of electromagnetic
nondestructive testing used today.
In 1820, Hans Christian Oersted discovered the magnetic field
surrounding a conductor when current "w as passed through the
In 1820, Andre-Marie Ampere discovered that equal currents flowing
in opposite directions in adjacent conductors cancelled the magnetic
effect. This discovery has led to development of modern coil
arrangements and shielding techniques.
In 1824, Dominique F. Arago discovered that the vibration of a
m agnetic needle was rapidly damped when it was placed neM a
n onmagnetic conducting disk.
Michael Faraday discovered the principles of electromagnetic
induction in 1831.
James Clerk Maxwell integrated the results o f these and other works
in a two-volume work published in 1873 and Max.vell's equations are
still the basis for investigations of the magnetic and electromagnetic
The application of these laws and principles has led to the
development of an industry whose purpose is to qualitatively and
quantitatively investigate the properties and characteristics of
electrically conductive materials using nondestructive electromagnetic
As in any industry, controls and guidelines must be established to
ensure consistent and reproducible products or services. This Study
Guide is intended to provide ASNT Level III candidates w ith a concise
reference with which to prepare for the ASNT Level III Examination.


A special thank you to the technical editor who coordinated this
revision and updated major portions himself:
A special thank you goes to the follow ing reviewers who helped with
this publication:
Claude Davis, Unified Testing & Engineering Services, Inc.
Darrell Harris, Anchorage, Alaska
Gary Heath, All T~ch Inspection, Inc.
Michael J. Ruddy, Tuboscope NOV
The Publications Review Committee includes:
Chair, Joseph L. Mackin, Intemational Pipe Inspectors
Stephen P. Black. Clermont, Florida
Mark A. Randig, Team Industrial Services, Tnc.

Cynthia Meter Leeman

Educational Materials Supervisor

Table of Contents
Foreword ................ ............ .... . ....
Preface .................. . .. , . . .. .......... . . . . . ..
Acknowledgments .......... . , .............. , .... . . .

. . . Ill
. . . . 1V

. . . . . .. V

Chapter 1 - Principles of Eddy Current Testing

....... ... . .... 1
. . . . . .. . . ... . .. 1
Historical Background
Generation of Eddy Currents
....... 2
Field Intensity
. ...... .
. ..... .3
Current Density
....... .
. .. .4
Phase ! Amplitude and Current Time Relationships
. .5
Chapter 1 - Review Questions. , . . ..... .
. . . .. 7
Chapter 2 - Test Coil Arrangements .... ... . . . . . . . . .. . ... ...... 9
Probe Coils .......
. ........ .. . . . . .. . . . . . . ...... .. 9
Encircling Coils ............................. .. ....... .. 9
Bobbin Coils .............. .... . . .. .... .... .... . ... 10
Absolute Coils .............. ... . . . . . . . .. . .. . .......10
Differential Coils . . .. . ...... .
. . . ...... . .10
Hybrid Coils
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11
Additional Coil Characteristics
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12
Chapter 2 - Review Questions. .
. . . ....... . . ...... . .. ... . . .13
Chapter 3 - Test Coil Design
.... . .15
.. . .15
Inductance .....
. . .. 15
Inductive Reactance ...... . .... . .... . .... . ... . . .... .... 16
Impedance ............................. . .... ... .. ...... 17
Q or Figure of Merit
. .. . . ... . ... . . ... . . .18
Permeability and Shielding Effects
.... 18
Coil Fixtures .........
. .1 9
Chapter 3 - Review Questions. . . . . . . . . . .
. .20
Chapter 4 - Effects of Test Object on Test Coil . . . .
. .21
Electrical Conductivity ....................
. . ... 21
Permeability .... ... ....... ... ..... ....... . .... . .. ..... 22
Skin Effect .........
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . ..... .23
Edge Effect
... .. .. .. .. .. .. .
. . .... . .......... .23
End Effect ........
. ...... .. ... .. 23
Lift Off
. . . . .. .. ..... .23
Fill Factor .......... . . . . . . . .
.. ... ..
. . . .25
Signal-to-Noise Ratio
Chapter 4 - Review Questions . . . . . ..... . . . ..... . .. ... ... 26


Ch apter 5 - Selection of Test Frequency ..

Frequency Selection .... . . . .... .
Single Frequency Systems
Multifreql1ency Systems
Chapter 5 - Review Questions ...

. ..... 27
. .. 27
.... 27
. ..30
. .. ... .. . . . ... .32

Chapter 6 - Instrument Systems

. . . . . . . . . . . . .. 33
Impedance Testing
. . . .. . .... . ......... . . . . . ... 34
Phase Analysis Testing
. .. . ... ... . ... ...... .... ..34
Vector Point . . . ....... . .. .... . ... ... .. .. .. . . . . . . . ..34
Ellipse .. . . . . ...
.. . .. . . . . ... . .
. ........ . . . ..34
Linear Tune Base ...... .. . . . . ......
. . . . . . . . . . .. 34
Impedance Plane Testing
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35
Mode of Operation
...... . . . . . . . .. . . . .. . . . . ........ 36
Signal Compensation
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 36
Test Coil Ex("; tation .....
.. .. . .. .. .
. . . .. .36
Read Out Mechanisms
. . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. ..38
Indicator Lights
.. . .. ........ .38
Audio Alarms
.. .38
.. . .. . ... .39
Digital Displays
Cathode Ray Tubes
... 4()
... 4()
. . . . ..... .. . . .
. .. .. ... . .. . .
. .. Al
Test Object Handling Equipment . . .... . . . . . . .
. .. Al
Probe Delivery Systems
. . ... . . .. ...... .
Chapter 6 - Review Questions ..... .. ... . .. . . . .
. .. 44
Chapter 7 - Eddy Current Applications ...
Discontinuity Detection
. ........ .45
Dimensiona l MeaslUements .. .
. . ... .. . .47
Conductivity Measurements . . . . . . . .. . ... .
. ..... 48
Hardness MeaslUements
. . ..... .
. . . ... 48
Alloy Sorting .. . . . . .... . ... .. ...... .. ..... . .. .. .. . .. . . .48
Chapter 7 - Review Question s .. . ............
.. .......... 50
Chapter 8 - Other Electromagnetic Techniq ues ...... . ............ .51
Alternating Current Field Measu rement .................. .51
Advantages Compared to Magnetic Particle and Dye
Penetrant Inspection . ... ..... . . .. . . ....... . . . . .. . . . .. 51
Flux Leakage Testing ....
. .. . . . . . .52
Remote Field Testing ....
. . . . . . ...53
Chapter 8 - Review Questions . . . . . . . . . .
. . ....57
Chapter 9 - Eddy Current Procedures, Standards and Specifications .59
Ametican Society for Testing and Materials. . . . . . .
, .59
Military Standard
. . .. .60
American Society of Mechanical Engineers .......... . . .. . .60
S<lmple Procedure No. QA3
. . . . .61
Chapter 9 - Review Questions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . .. . ... . . . ... 66
An swers to Review Questions ............ .
References ...... .
Figure Sources ......... .


. . .70

Chapter 1
Principles of Eddy Current Testing
Historical Background

Figure 1.1: Arago's Experiment, 182 1

Before d iscus..<;ing the principles o f eddy current

testing. it seems appropriate to briefly discuss the

facets of magnetism and electromagnetism that

serve as the fo undation for this study.

in the period from 1

n s to 1900, scientific

experimenters Andre-M a ri e Ampere,

F ran~ios

Arago, Charles Augu stin Coulo m b, Micha el

Faraday, Lord William Thomso n Kelvin, James

Clerk Maxwell and Hans Christian Oersted

investigated and cataloged most of what is known
about magnetism and electromagnetism.
Arago d iscovered that the oscillation of a

magnet was rapidly damped when a nonmagnetic


conducting disk was p laced near the m agnet. He

also observed that by rotating the disk, the magnet

was attracted to the disk. In effect, Arago had

introduced a varying magnetic field into the metallic

disk c.a u ~ing eddy current" to flow in the disk. This
produced a secondary magnetic field in the disk that
affected the magnet. Arago's simple model is a basis
for many automobile speedometers used today. This
experiment can be modeled as shown in Figure 1.1.
Oersted discovered the presence of a magnetic
field around a current carrying conductor and
observed a magnetic field developed in a
perpendicular plane to the direction of current flow
in a wire. Ampere observed that equal and opposite
cu rrents flowing in adjacent conductors cancelled
this magnetic effect. Ampere's observiltion is used
in differential coit app lications and to manufilctu re
noninductive, precision resistors. Faraday's first
experiments investigated ind uced currents by the
relative motion of magnet and a coit (Figure 1.2).
Faraday's major contribution was the discovery
of electromagnetic ind uction. Hi s work can be
summarized by the example shown in Figure 1.3. A
coil, A, is connected to a battery through a switch, S.
A second coil, B, connected to a voltmeter, V, is
nearby. When switch 5 is closed it produces a
current in coil A in the direction shown (a). A
momentary current is also induced in coil B in a
direction (b) opposite to the current flow in coil A. If
5 is now o pened, a momentary current will appear
in coil B having the direction of (c). In each case,
current flows in coil B only while the current in coil
A is chflnging.


Changing flu x density in material

The electromotive force (voltage) induced in coil

B of Figure 1.3 can be expressed as follows:

in 1873. Maxwell not only chronicled most of the

work done in electricity and magnetism at that
time, but he also developed and published a group
of relations known as Maxwell's E.quations for the
electromagnetic field. These equations form the
base that mathematically describes most of what is
known about electromagnetism today (1).
In 1849 Lord Kelvin appUed Bessel's Equation
to solve the elements of an electromagnetic field.
The principles of eddy current testing depend
on the process of electromagnetic induction. This
process includes a test coil through which a v<lrying
or alternating current is passed. A varying current
flowing in a test coil produces a vary ing
electromagnetic field about the coil . This fiel d is
known as the primary field.

E = N/;'~
K /;.1

Equation 1


average induced voltage,

number of hlrns of wire in coil B
ra te of change of magnetic lines of
fo rce affecting coil B,
I ll'

Maxwell produced a two-volume work, A

Treatise on Electricity Qnd Magnetism, first published

Generation of Eddy Currents

Fig ure 1.2: Induced current with coil and


When an electrically conductive test objecl is

placed in the primary field, an electrical current will
be induced in the test object. This current is known
as the eddy current. Figure 1.4 is a simple model that
illustrates the relationships of primary and
secondary electromagnetic events. Conductor A
represents a portion of a test coil. Conductor B
represents a portion of a test object.
Following Lenz's L..w/ and the
instantaneous direction of the primary current (Ip) a
primary field (411') is developed about Conductor A.
When Conductor B is brought into the influence of
$r an eddy current (IE) is induced in Conductor D.
This electrical current (IE) produces a secondary
electromagnetic field ($E) that opposes tht: primary

Figure 1.4: Induced current relations hips

Conductor B
(Test object)

Figure 1.3: Induced current, electromagnetic


Coil B


.t ljl



Conductor A
(Test coil)



= Primary current
= Primary magnetic field
= Secondary (eddy)

<OE =

Secondary magnetic field

electromagnetic field (4)p). The magnitude of $E is

directly proportional to the magnitude of IE'
Characteristic changes in Conductor B such as
conductivity, permeability or geometry will cause IE
to change. When IE varies $E also varies. Variations
of ~E are renectcd to Conductor A by changes in ~p.
These changes are detected and displayed on some
type of readout mechanism that relates these
variations to the characteristic thai is of interest.

Figure 1.6: Induced current flow in


Field Intensity


The electromagnetic field produced about an

unloaded test coil can be described as decreasing in
i.ntensity with distance from the coil and also
varying across the coil's cross section. The field is
most intense near the coil's surface.
The field produced about this coil is directly
proportional to the magnitude of applied current,
rate of change of current or frequency and the coil
parameters. Coil parameters include inductance,
diameter, length, thickness, number of tums of wire
and core material.
To better understand the principles under
discussion, it is important to again look at the
instantaneous relationships of current and magnetic
nux. The exciting current is supplied to the coil by
an alternating current generator or oscillator.
With a primary current Ir nowing through the
coil, a primary electromagnetic field $p is produced
abolll the coil. When thiS excited test coil is placed
on an electrically conductive test object, eddy
cu rrents IE will be generated in that test object.
Figure 1.5 illustrates this concept.

A more precise method of describing the

relationships of magnetic flux, voltage and current
is the plUJse vector diagram or phasor diagrams (4).
Figure 1.7 compares the electromagnetic events
associated with an unloaded test coil and what
happens when that same coil is placed on a
nonferromagnetic test object. The components of
phasor diagrams are as follows:

Figure 1.7(a)
primary coil voltage
excitation current
primary magnetic flux
secondary magnetic flux
Figure 1.7(b)

Ep =
4!p =

FIgure 1.5: Generation of eddy current in a test




.. t - - - - ..

a cylindrical

primary coil voltage

excitation current
primary magnetic flux
secondary coil voltage
secondary magnetic flux
total coil voltage
total magnetic flux

In Figure 1.7(a) the current (I) and primary

magnetic flux (4!p) are plotted in phase. The primary
voltage (1;,) is shown separa ted by 90 electrical
degrees. The secondary magnetic flux (4'5) is plotted
at zero because without a test object no secondary
flux exists.
Figure 1.7(b) represents the action of placing the
coil on a nonferromagnetic test object.
Observing Figure 1.7(b) one can see by vectorial
addition of ~ and Es that a new coil voltage (Er) is
arrived at for the loaded condition. The primary
magnetic flux Qp and secondary magnetic flux 4'5 are
also combined by vectorial addition to arrive at a
new magnetic flux ('h) for the loaded coil.

'E @16=37%

-----i le@26=13.5%
.........:.,. 'e@3S = 5%

Note the d irection of the primary current (Ir)

and the resultant eddy current (IE)' IEextends some
distance into the test object. Another important
observation is that IE is generated ill tlJe same plane
in which the coil is wound. Figure 1.6 emphasizes
this point with a loop coil surrounding a cylindrical
lest object (4).

d istance. A common point described on such a

graph is the knee of the curve. The knee occurs at
the 37% value on the ordinate axis. TItis 37% point
is chosen because change!'; in X axis values produce
significant changes in Y axis values from ]00% to
37% and below 37% changes in X axis values
produ ce less significant changes in Y axis values.
App lying this logic to ed dy current testing, a
ternl is developed to describe the relationship of
current d istribution in the test object. The eddy
current generated at the surface of the test object
nearest the test coil is ]00%. The point in the test
objt.>ct thickness where thi!'; current is diminished to
37% of its previous strength is known as the
standard depth of penetration. The term 0 (delta) is
used to represent this point in the material.
Figure ] .8 is a relative eddy current deruity cu rve
for a plan e \'lave of infinite ex tent with magnetic
field parallel to the conducting test object surface.

Figure 1.7: Phasor diagram of coil voltage


l 5 " 0

(a) Phasor diagram of coil voltage withoullesl



Figure 1.8: Rela tive eddy current density







~Iandard depth of penetr ation

where density of eddy cu rrent
37% of density at the s urface

\ II =


(b) Phasor diagram of coil voltage with test object

Units 01 depth
(in multiples 01 the standard
depth of penetration)

Notice that for the condition of the test object in

the test coil, ~j' is no longer in phase with the
excitation current L Also observe tha t the included
angle between the exci tation current and the new
coil voltage ET is no [anger at 90 electrical degrees.
These interactions will be discussed in detail later in
this study guid e.

The current density at any depth can be

calcula ted as:

J X -- J oe -.f,JIf!/KI
Equation 2

Current Density



The d istribution of eddy currents in a test object

varies exponentially. The current density in the test
object is most dense near the test coil. This
exponential current d ensity follow!'; the
mathematical rules for a natura l exponential decay
curve (1 / e) where e (epsilon) is 2.718. Usually a
natural exponential curve is illustrated by a graph
with the ordinate (Y axis) representing magnitude
and the abscissa (X axis) representing time or




current density at depth x

current density at surface, amperes per
square meter
frequency in hertz
magnetic permeability, henries per meter
(H i m)
depth from !';urface, meters
electric conductivity, siemens per meter
2.7] 8

Using 1.35 m m as depth x from surface, a ratio

of depth / depth of penetration would be 1.
Referring to Figure 1.8, a depth / depth of
penetration of 1 indicates a relative eddy current
d ensity of 0.37 or 37%. What is the relative eddy
current density at 3 mm?
Depth x equals 3 mm and depth of penetration
is 1.35 mm, therefore:

Magnetic permeability, ~, is a combination of

terms. For nonmagnetic materials:

I' = 41t 10" Hi m

Equation 3
For magnetic materials: tl;: IJ., ).10

3+ 1.35 = 2.222

).l, ;: relati ve penneab ility

1'0 = 4,,10-' Him

This ratio ind icates a relative eddy current

d ensi ty of about 0.'1 or 10%. With only 10% of the
available current flowing at a depth of 3 mm,
delectability of variables such as condu ctivity,
permeability and discontinuities would be very
difficult to detect. The obvious solution for grea ter
detectability at the 3 mm depth is to lower the test
frequency. Frequency selection w ill be covered in
detail later in this text.

The stand ard deplh of penetration can be

c<llculated as follows:

Equation 4
0 =



standard depth o f penetration. meters

Phase/Amplitud e and Current Time


3.141 6

frequency in hertz
magnetic permeability. HI m
electric conducti vity, siemens per meter

Figure 1.9 reveals another facet of eddy current.

Eddy currents are not generated at the same instant
in time throughout the part. Eddy currents require
time to penet rate the test part. Phase and time are
analogous meaning - p/mst is an electrical term used
to describe timing relationships of electrical

It should be observed at this point that as

frequency, conductivity o r permeabi li ty is
increased, the penetration of current into the test
object will be decreased.
The graph in Figure 1.8 is used to demonstrate
many eddy current characteristics. Using an
exa mple of a very lhick block of sta inless steel
being interroga ted with a surface o r p robe coil
opcr<lting at a test frequency of 100 kHz, th,
standard depth of penetration ca n be determined
and current densilies observed at other depths.
Stain less steel (300 Series) is nonferromagnetic.
Magnetic permeability (~ ) is 4n:Xl 07 H / m and the
conductivity is 0.14 X 10.7 siemens (mhos) per
meter for 300 Series stainless steel.


Figure 1.9: Radians lagging


J lt f .t"J



1416.100,0004". 10-' 0 .14 10'

1/ ,

depth X
de pth of penetralion

Ii = c:-:--:-:c

Phase is usually expressed in either degrees o r

radia ns. There arc 2n: radians per 360 degrees. Each
radian therefore is about 57 degrees. Using the
surface eddy current ncar the test coil as a reference,
eddy current occurring deeper in the test object lags

o= 0.00 135 meters

8;: 1.35 nun

the su rface current. The amount o f phase lag is

determined by

phase lag of 5 radians or about 287 degrees for the

part thickness. Having a measurement capability of
1 degree increments, the part thickness could be
divided into 287 parts, each part representing
O.017mm. That would be considered excellent
There is an obvious limitation. Refer to
Figure 1.8 and observe the resultant relative current
density with an x I S ratio of 5. The relative current
density is near O.
It should become apparent that the frequency
can be adjusted to achieve optimum results for a
particular variable. These and other variables will
be discussed in Chapter 5 of this StUdy Guide.
In summary, eddy currents have been
explai ned, how they are created and how they move
through electrically conductive materials. Once the
application of these rules in the real world is
understood, eddy current testing can be used for a
wide range of inspection applications in electrically
conductive materials:
It is possible to measure the size or shape of
It is possible to measure variations in the grade
or chemiStry (alloy) of those parts.

It is possible to determine if and how those

parts have been heat treated.
Eddy current testing can be used to help
determine if there are manufacturing
discontinuities that need to be addressed.
It is possible to determine if there are service
induced discontinuities that may limit the use
of the part.

8 = X,J7r/,u(J

= depth/depth of penetration
Equation 5

where 9 equal,> the phase ang le lag in radians.

Figure 1.9 should be used a .. a relative indicator
of phase lag. The exact phase relationship fo r a
particular system may be different due to other
variables, such as coil parameters and excitation
The amount of phase lag for a given part
thickness is an important factor when considering
resolution. Resolution is the abilHy to separate
variables occurring in the test object; for example,
distinguishing two d iscontinuities occurring at
different depths in the same test object.
A.. an example, using a standard depth of
penetration at 1 nun in a 5 nun thick test object.
Refer to Figure 1.9 and observe the phase lag of
the current at one standard depth of penetration.
Where depth of interest (x) is ] mm and depth o f
penetration (15) is 1 mm, the xl 15 ratio is 1 and the
current at depth x lags the surface current by
1 radian or 57 degrees.
Projecting this examination, observe the phase
lag for the entire part thickness. The standard depth
of penetration is 1 mm, the part thickness is 5 mm j
therefore, the ratio x IS equals 5. This produces a

Chapter 1
Review Questions


Generation of eddy currents depends on the

principle of:
A. wave guide theory.
B. electromagnetic induction.
C. magnetorestrictive forces.
D. all of the above.


The discovery of electromagnetic induction

is credited to:
A. Arago.
B. Oersted.
C. Maxwell.
D. Faraday.


A standard depth of penetration is defined

as the point in a test object where the
relative current density is reduced to:
A. 25%.
B. 37%.

A secondary field is generated by the test

object and is:
A. equal and opposite to the primary field.
B. opposite to the primary field, but much
C. in the same plane as the coil is wound.
D . in phase with the primary field.


D. 100%.


When a nonferromagnetic part is placed in

the test coil, the coil's voltage:
A. increases.
B. remains constant because this is
C. decreases.
D. shifts 90 degrees in phase.

A. 3

B. <0.1
C. 1/ 3
D. indeterminate



Refer to Figure 1.8. If one standard depth of

penetration was established at 1 mm in an
object 3 nun thick, what is the relative
current density on the far surface?

Refer to Figure 1.7(b). If Er was produced

by the test object being stainless steel, what
would the effect be if the test object were
A. ET would decrease and be at a different
B. E-r would increase and be at a different
C. Because both materials are
nonferromagnetic, no change occurs.
D. None of the above.

Refer to Figure 1.9. Using the example in

question 1.8, what is the phase difference
behveen the near and far su rfaces?
A. The far surface current leads the near
surface current by 57 degrees.
B. The far surface current leads the near
surface current by 171 degrees.
C. The far surface current lags the near
surface current by 171 degrees.
D. The far surface current lags the near
surface current by 570 degrees.

Q.l.10 Calculate the standard depth of penetration

at 10 kHz in copper. eu has a cr = 5.7 x107
siemens per meter.
A. 0.1 mm (3.9 x 10-3 in.)
B. 0.02 mm (7.9 x 10--1 in. )
C. 0.66 mm (0.026 in.)
D. 66 mm (2.6 in.)

Eddy currents generated in a test object

A. in the same plane as magnetic flux.
B. in the same plane as the coil is wound.
C. 90 degrees to the coil winding plane.
D. eddy currents have no predictable

Chapter 2
Test Coil Arrangements
Test coils can be c<ltegorized into three main
mechanical groups: probe coils, bollbil! coils and
encircling coils (16).

either manually or mech i11lically to provide a hel ical

scan of the hole using a spimllllg probe technique
(Figure 2.2 l.

Probe Coils

Figure 2.2 : Bolt hole inspection probes

Surface coil, probe coil, flat coil or pl/Hcake coil are all
common terms used to describe the same test coil
type. Probe coils provide a convenien t method of
examining the surface of a test object. Figure 2.1
illustrates a typical set of probe coils used for
5e\'eral surface scanning applications.
Figure 2.1: Probe coil

Probe coils and probe coil forms can be shaped to

fit particular geometries to solve complex inspection
probkms. As an exampk, probe coils fabricated in a
JJf'llrii s hape (pencil probe) are used lo inspect
threaded areas of mounting studs and nuts or
serrat ed areas of lurbine wheels and turbine blade
assemblies. Probe coiL<; may be used where high
resolution is required by adding coil shielding (2).
When using a high resolution probe coiL the test
object surface must be carefully scalUled to ensure
complete inspection coverage . This careful scanning
is very time consuming. For this reason, probe coil
inspections of large test objects are usually limited
to critical areas.
Probe coils are used extensively in aircraft
inspection for crack detection near fasteners and
fastener holes. In the case of fastener holes (bolt
holes, rivet holes), the probe coil may be rotated

Encircling Coils
Encirclil1g coil. olltside diame ter wil and feed thro1lgh
coil are terms commonly used to describe a coil that
surrounds the test object. Figure 2.3 illustra tes a
typical encircling coil.
Encircling coils aTe primarily u sed to inspect
hlbular and bar-shaped products. The tube or b ar is
fed through the coil (feed through) at relatively high
speed. The cross section of the test object '''ithin the
test coil is simultaneously interrogated. For th is

calibration standard several times, each time

indexing the artificial discontinuities to a new
circumferential location in the coil.
As in all discontinuity detection schemes, it is
essential to select a reasonable operating frequen cy,
properly adjust the system display parameters and
enSlUe that the tube is centered in the coil at all
time.c; to achieve optimum test sensitivity.

Figure 2.3: Encircling coil


Direction of
tube travel

Bobbin Coils
Bobbin coil, inside dinmeter coil and illside probe are
terms that describe coils used to inspect from the
inside diameter or bore of a tubular test object.
Bobbin coils are inserted and withdrawn from the
hlbe inside diameter by long, semiflexible shafts or
simply blown in with air and retrieved with an
attached pun cable. These mechanisms will be
described later in the tex t. Bobbin coil information
follows the same basic rules stated for encircling
coils. Figure 2.4 illustrates a typical bobbin coil


Figure 2.4: Bobbin coil

Probe coils, encircling coils and bobbin coils can

be additionally classified (16). These additional
c1ac;sifications are determined by how the coils are
electrically connected. The three coil categories are
absolute, differential and hybrid.
Figure 2.5 shows various types of absolute and
d ifferential coil arrangements.

reason, the circumferential location of

discontinuities calUlot be determined with an
encircling coil (4).
The volume of material examined at one time is
greater using an encircling coil than a probe coil;
therefore, the relative sensitivity is lower for an
encircling coil. The additional advantage that a
probe coil would have oVt:!r the encircling coil is that
the probe coil could define where within the
circumferential plane the discontinuity t:!xists. The
encircling coil cannot make that distinction. If there
arc multiple signal sources within the coil's field of
vicw the encircling coil response will indicate thc
average of all of those events.
When using an encircling coil, it is important to
keep the test object centered in the coil. If the test
object is not centered, a uniform discontinu ity
response is difficult to obtain. To ensure proper
centering it is common practice to run the

Absolute Coils

An absolute coil makes its measurement without

direct reference or compa rison to a standard as the
measurement is being made (6). Some applications
for absolute coil systems would be measurements of
conductivity, penneability, dimensions and
Differential Coils

Differential coils consist of two or more coils

electrically connected to oppo~ each other.
Differential coils can be categorized into two types,

objects. It is particularly
useful for comparative
conductivity, permeability
and dimensional
measurements. Obviously
in Figure 2.6 it is
imperative to normalize
(or balance ) the system
\\lith one coil affected by
the s tandard object and
the other coil affected by
an acceptable test object.
The external rderence
differential coil system is
sensitive to all measurable
differences between the
stan dard object and test
object. For this reason it is
often necessary to provide
additional discrimination
to separate and define
variables present in the
test object.

Figure 2.5: Test coil configurations for eddy current testing of small-diameter



F'\ d{HV4 II tr:J--




:50 0









OF -

Hybrid Coils
Hybrid coils may be
defined as driver/pickup,
through transmission,
reflection or primary/secondary coil assembhes.
Hybrid coils mayor may not be the same size
and are not necessarily adjacent to each other (4).
Figure 2.7 shows one possible hybrid coil
arrangement. In the through transmission coil, the
excitati on coil is on one side of the test object and
the sensing coil is on the other. The driver coil
illduces eddy currents and a secondary magnetic
fi eld in the test specimen. Any variation of these
secondary events should be d etected by the smaller
probe coil on the opposite side of the thin plate.

self-comparisml differential and external reference

The self-comparison differe1ltial coif compares one
area of a test object to another area on the same test
object. A common u se is tv.'o coils, emillected
opposing, so that if both coils are affected by
identical test object conditions, the net output is
ovolts or 110 signal change. The self-comparison
arrangement is insensitive to test object variables
that occu r gradually. Variables such as slowly
changing wall thickness, diameter or conducti vity
are effectively discriminated against with the selfcomparison differential coil.
Only when a d ifferent condition affects one or
the other test coils will an output signal b e
generated. The coils usually being mechanically and
electrically similar allows the arrangement to be
very stable during temperature changes. Short
discontinuities such as cracks, pits or other localized
discontinuities with abrupt boundaries can be
readily detected using the self-comparison
differential coil.
The e:rternal reference differential coil, uses an
external reference to affect one coil while the other
coil is affected by the test object (4). Figure 2.6
illu strates this concept. This system is used to detect
differences between a standard obiect and test

Figure 2.6: External reference differential system

vol tmeter




____ Reference

Inspection ~



" ,I

V ~"e" o"




A hybrid coil arrangement consists of an

cxcit<ltion coil and a sensing coil. In most ca<;eS a
single probe housing assembly contain'. both thl'
driver and the pichp COiI(5). The primary magnl'tic
flux interacts with both coils. The voltage developed
in the sensing coil is a fLUlCtion of the current
magnitude an d frequency applied to the cxci t<ltioll
coil, coil parameters of the exci ting and sensing coils
and the test object characteristics.
Most hybrid coils are designed to improve test
sensiti vity for a specific application. One example of

this is for bettcr detection of subsurface

discontinuities in multilayer structures. The concept
of using a smaller pickup coil enhances the ability
to detect lower level impedance variations from
small volume discontinuities deeper in the test
sample. It should be pointed out that if larger
volume discontinuities are encountcred that a
measurable impedance change might be generated
by both the exciter and the pick up coil(s}.
Additional Coil Characteristics

Figure 2.7: Hybrid coil (through transmission)

Transmittin g circuit


AIt,m";'9 ,,,,,,,

Transmitting coil



Receiving coil


Receiving circuit


Coil configuration is but one of many

factors to consider when setting up test
cond itions. Other coil characteristics of
importance are mechanical, thl'rmal and
electrical stability; sensitivity. resolution
and dimensions. The geometry of the coil
is usually d ictated by the geometry of the
test object. Selection of smaller probe
sizes ll'L.'ly affect test sensitivity and / or
resolution. The relative importanct' uf tLost
coil characteristics depends on the nalure
of the test.
A blend of theory and experience
usually succeeds in selection of proper
coil parameters. Coil design and
interactions w ith test objects will be
d iscussed later in this Study Guide.

Chapter 2
Review Questions
Q. 2.1

Differential coils arc usually used in:

A. bobbin coils.


An absolute coil measurement is made:

A. by comparing one spot on the test
object to another.
8. without reference to o r direct
comparison with a standard.
C. only with probe coils.
D. by comparative measurement to a
known standard.


When coils in a self-compa ri son differential

arrangement are affected simultaneously
with the same test object variables, the
output signal:
A is directly proportional to the number
of variables.
8. is 0 or near O.
C. is indirectly proportional to the number
of variables.
D. is primarily a function of the exciting


Which coil type inherently has better

thermal stability?
A. bobbin
8. absolute
C. outside diameter
O. self-comparison differential


A hybrid coil is composed of two or more

coils. The coils:
A. must be aligned coplanar to the driver
B. may be of widely different dimensions.
C. must be impedance matched as closely
as possible.
D. are very temperature sensitive.

B. probe coils.


outside diameter coils.

O. any of the above.


When using a probe coil to scan a test

A. the object must be dry and polished.
B. the object must be scanned carefully to
ensure inspection coverage.
C. the object must be scalmed in circular

motions at constant speeds.

O. the probe must be moving at all times
to get a reading.




A spilllling probe would most likely be:

A. a bobbin coil.
B. an inside diameter coil.
C. an outside diameter coil.
D. a probe coil.

A feed tllmugll coil is:

A a coil with primary / secondary
windings connected so that the signal is
fed through the primary to the
S_ an encircling coil.
C. an outside diameter coil.
D. both Band C.

When inspecting a tubular product with an

enci rcling coil, which statement is not true?
A Outside diameter discontinuities can be
B. Axial discontinuity locations can be
C . Circumferential discontinuity locations
can be noted.
D. Inside diameter discontinuities can be

Q.2.10 Proper selection of test coil arrangement is

determined by:
A. shape of test object.
8. resolution required .
C. sens itivity required.
D. stability.
E. all of the above.


Chapter 3
Test Coil Design
Thus, the resistance of a 10 fllength of 40 gage
copper w ire with a specific resistance of lOA
circula r milfoot at 20 C would be found as follows:

As discussed eartier, test coil design and selection

is a blend of theory and experience. Many factors

must be considered . These important factors are

determined by the inspection requirement for
resolution, sensitivity, impedance, size, s tabi lity and
environmen tal considerations.
To better understand coil properties and electrical
relationshi ps, a shorl refresher in alternating current
theory is necessary.
First, the electrical units must be examined . For
example, current and its representative symbol I.
Cu rrent not only suggests electron flow but also the
amount. The amount of elect rons flow ing past a
point in a circuit in 1 second is expressed in amperes :
2nx lOIS electrons passing a point in 1 second is
called 1 ampere.


10.4 10

~IO.518ohm s

In an alternating current circuit containing only

resistance, the current and voltage are in phase. III
phase means the current and voltage reach their
minimum and maximum values, respectively, at th{
same time. The power d issipated in a resistive
circuit appears in the form of heat. For example,
electric toasters are equipped with resistance wires
that become hot when current flows through them,
providing a heat source for toasting bread .



Resistance is an opposition to the flow of electrons

and is measured in ohms. O hm' s Law is stated by
the equati on:

Heat generation is an undesirable trait for an

eddy current coil. If the 10 ft length of wire used in
the previous example was wound into the shape of
a coil, it would exhibit characteristics of alternating
current other than resistance. By forming the wire
into the shape of a coil, the coil also would have th(
property of i"ductallce. The role of inductance is
analogous to inertia in mechanics, because inertia i1
the property of matter that causes a body to opPOS{
any change in its velocity.
The unit of inductance is the henry (H). A coil is
said to have the property of inductance when a
change in current through the coil produces a
voltage in the coiL More precisely, a circuit in whid
an electromotive force of 1 V is induced when the
current is ch anging at a rate of 1 A /s w ill have an
inductance of 1 H .
The inductance o f a multilayer air core coil can
be expressed by its physical properties or coil
parameters. Coil parameters such as length,
diameter, thickness and number of turns of wire
affect the coil's inductance.
Figure 3.1 illustrates typical coil d imensions
required to calculate coil inductance.
An approxima tion of small, multilayer, air core
coil inductance is as follows:

I ~-

Equation 6


R "

E "

current in amperes,
resistance in ohms,
electrical potential d ifference in volts,

The resistance of a coil is determined primarily

by the length of wire used to wind the coil; its
s pecific resistance is determined by the type of wire
(e.g., copper, silver) and the cross-sectional area of
the wire.

= ReSlstance
Equation 7

speci fic resistance


ohms / circular mil-foot
circu lar mils
fec t


Inductive Reactance

Figu re 3.1: Multilayer coil






The unit of inductive reactance (XL) is in ohms.

For a given coil the inductive reactance is a function
of the rate of change of current or frequency. A
formula relating frequency, inductance and
inductive reactance is:





x, = 2JCi L


Equation 9
XL -

08 (rN)'

f or example, using the 32 J.1H euil calculated

earlier, operating at 100 kH?" its inducti ve reactance
would be found as follows:

Equation 8



selfinductance in microhenries (J.1H),

total number of tum~,
mean radius in inches,
length of coil in inches,
coil depth or thickness in inches.




Therefore, thiS coil would present an oppo~ition

of 20.096 ohms to cu rrents \'lith a rate of change of
100 kHz due to its reactivc component. Unlike a
resistive circuit, the current and voltagl.. of an
inductive circuit do not reach their minimum and
maximum values at thc same time. In a pure
inductive circuit the voltage leads the current b}' 90
electrical degrees. This means that when the voltage
reaches a maximum value, the current is at O.
Power is related to current and voltage as

0.1 in.
0.1 in.
0.1 in.
100 turns

would have an inductance of:


0. 8 (0. 1 . 100)'

6 . 0. 1 + 9 . 0.1 + 10 . 0.1


32 !JH or 0.000032 I I
100 kHz or 100 000 Hz
6.28 x 100 000 x 0.000032
20.0% ohms

For example, a coil whose dimensions Me as


inductive reactance (in ohms)

frequency (in hertz )
inductance (in henries)

0.8 (100)

P =E /

= 80 = 32
0.6 + 0.9 + I

Equation 10

L = 321lH



stated (;OIrlier, this inductance is analogous to

inertia in mechanical systems in that inductance
opposes a chOinge in current as inertia opposes a
change in velocity of a bod y. In alternating current
circuits the current is always changing; therefore
inductance is always oppo!oing this change. As the
current tries to change, the inductance reacts to
oppose that change. This reaction is called i.nductive

power in watts
current in amperes

Kotice that in a pure ind uctive circuit, when the

voltage is mOlximum, the current is O. Therefore, the
product E I = O. Inductive reactances consume no
alternating power where resistive elements
consume power and diSSipate power in the form of
The opposition to curren t flow because of the
resistive dement of the coil and the reactive element

of the coi l do not occur at the same time; therefore,

they cannot be added as scala r quantities.
A scalar qualltify is one having only magnitude,
that is a quantity fully described by a number, but
which does not involve any concept of direction.
Gallons in a tank, temperature in a room, miles per
hour, for example, are all scalars.

vector Z is known as impedallce. Impedance is the

total opposition to current flow.
Example: What is the impedance of a coil haVing
an inductance of 100 JlH and a resistance of 5 ohms
and being operated at 200 kH z?

x, = 27rfL
X, =6.28 0 200 000 Hz 0 0.0001 H


X, =6.28 0 20= 12S.6 ohms

To explain the addition of reactance and resistance
with a minimum of mathematical calculations, it is
possible to use vector or phasor d iagrams (15). A
vector d iagrnm constructed with tmaginary units on
the ordinate or Y ax is and real units on the abscissa
or X axis is shown in Figure 3.2.

z = J(I25.6)' +(S)' = ,!is 800.36

z = 12S.7 ohms
First, convert inductance to inductive reactance
and then, by vector addition, combine inductive
reactance and resistance to obtain the impedance.
The importance of knowing the impedance of the
test coil is more one of instrument consideration
than coil design .
Maximum transfer of power is accomplished
when the driving impedance and load impedance
are matched. If, for instance, an eddy current
instrument had a driv ing impedance of 50 ohms,
the most efficient test coils would also have
impedances of 50 ohms. Other, more common
examples of impedance matching are home stereo
systems rated at 100 W per channel into 8 ohms.
Impeda nce can be discussed in a more detailed
manner by mathematically noting variables using
imaginary numbers (4). The square root of a
negative number is known as an imaginary number.
The imaginary number r-t6 can be written J(-1)16
or -p>J!6 or F>. 4 . The notation ,rr:::!) is used
extensively and is mathematically noted by a lower
case letter "i". Because i is also used in electrical
terms for current, the i notation for electrical
calculations is changed to the letter "j". The term j,
often called operator j, is equal to the .pj . Instead
of noting r-t6 as ~ _ 4 note it as ;4. Because
reactance is known as an illlagillary componellf, then

Figure 3.2 : Vector diagram

Observation of Figure 3.2 reveals Xv Rand Z

appear to form the sides of a right triangle. The
malhematical solution of right triangles states the
square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the
squares of the other two sides, or

Equation 11

Substituting Z, XL and R, the statement becomes:

Equation 12

further simplified:

=R+ jX," =lzlLe

Equation 14

Equation 13

Substituting inductive reactance (Xl) and
resistance (R) it is possible to find the resultant of
the vector addition of X L and R. This resu ltant

e= XL +- R
Equation 15

The term R + jXm is known as a rectangltiar

notatiol/ . As an example, a resistance of 4 ohms in

Permeability and Shielding Effects

series with an inductive reactance of 3 ohms cou ld

be noted a~ Z - 4 + j3 ohms. The impedance
calculation is then:

The addition of permeable core materials in certain

coil designs dramatically improves the Q factor.
Permeable con..>s are usually constructed of high
permeability powdered iron. Probe coils, for example,
are wound on a form thai allows a powdered iron
rod or slug to be placed in the center of the coil (4).
It is common to increase the coil impedance by a
factor of 10 by the addition of core materials. This
increase in impedance withou t additional wind ing
greatly enhances the Q of the coil.
Some core materials are cylinder or cup shaped.
A common term is Clip core (Figure 3.3). The coil i ..
first "Wou nd and then p laced into the cup core. In
the case of a probe coil in a cup core, not only is the
impedance i"creased, but the benefit of sJri!!lrling is
also gained. Shielding with a cup core prevents the
electromagnetic field from spreading at the sides of
the coil. This greatly reduces the signals producl,.'d
by edge effect of adjacent members to the te~ t area,
such as fasteners on an aircra ft wing. Shielding,
while improving resolution, !lSI/ally sncrifices some
amount of penetration into the part.
Another technique of sh ielding uses high
cond uctivity material, such as copper or aluminum,
to suppress high frequency interference &om other
sources and a1so to shape the electromagnetic field
o f the test coil. A copper Clip would restrict the
electromagnetic field in much the same manner as
the powdered iron cup core. A disadvantage of high
conductivity, low or no permeability shielding is
that the coil's impedllllce is reduced when the

Equation 16

In coil design \t is often helpful to know also the

included angle between the resistive component
and impedance. A convenient method of notation is
the polar form where Tan 9 = Xl. -:- R and e is the
induded angle between resistance and impedance.
In the previous example the im}>l><iance magnitude
is 5 ohms, but at " .. hal angle?
A proper form of notation is ZL9 w here Z is
impedance and La is the included angle. Therefore,
the complete not<ltion is:

R = 3+4=0.750
= 36.9 degrees

Tan 8= X,
An; Tan

Z = 5L36.9
Equation 17

Eddy current coils with included impedance

anglt's of 60 degrees to 90 degrees usually make
efficient test coils. As the angle beh....een resistance
and impedance approaches 0 degrees, the test coil
becomes very inefficient w ith most of its energy
being dissipated as heat.

Q or Figure of Meri!
The term u sed to describe coil efficiency is Q or
merit of the coil. The higher the Q or merit of a coil,
the more efficiently the coil performs as an
inductor. The merit of a coil is mathematically
stated as:

Figure 3.3: Effects of cup cores


Equation 18


~D ~L

XI. = inducti ve reactance

R = resistance


For example, a coil haVing an inductive reactance of

100 ohms and a resistance of 5 ohms would have a
Q of 20.

(a) Unshielded coil - fietd spread might be up to

twice the coil diameter.
(b) Shielded coil - magnetic field extension restricted
to the core geometry.


shielding material is placed around the test coil. The

net effect is that the coil's Q is less than it was when
the coil was surrounded by air.
Another coil design used for inspection of
ferro magnetic materials is the saturation approach. A
predominant va riable that prevents eddy current
penetration in ferromagneti c material is called
J'ermeability. Permeability effects exhibited by the
test object can be reduced by means of magnetic
sahlranon (Figure 3.4). Sahlration coils for steels are
usually very large and surround the test object and
test coil. A steady state (DC) current is applied to
the saturation coil. When the steel test object is
magnetically saturated it may be inspected in the
same manner as a nonferromagnetic material. In the
case of mild steel many thousands of tesla are
required to produce saturation.
In some inherently nonferromagnetic tubing
materials like high temperature nickel chromium
alloy there may be low level permeability variations
because of manufacturing discontinuities. In this
case the use of small permanent magnets adjacent to
the bobbin probe coils may improve the inspection
quality by red ucing the permeability effects.

Figure 3.5 shows the use of disk type magnets

placed close to the coil. It is also possible to use an
array of bar magnets arranged around the probe
housing if higher magnetic potential is required to
offset the material permeability characteristics.

Coil Fixtures

Coil fixtures or holders may be as varied as the

imagination of the deSigners and users. After the
size, shape and style have been decided on, the next
consideration should be the test environment.
Characteristics of wear, temperahlre, atmosphere,
mechanical stress and stability must be considered (4).
Normally wear can be reduced by selection of
wear resistant compound s to protect the coil
windings. If severe wear is expected, artificial or
genuine jewels may be used. Less expensive and
very effective wear materials, such as aluminum
oxide or cerami cs, are more commonly used.
Temperature stability may be accomplished by
using coil holder material with poor heat transfer
characteristics. Metals have high heat transfer
characteristics and often coils made with metal
holders are sensitive to temperahlre variations
caused by human touch. For high temperature
Figure 3.4 : Magnetic saturation inspection
applications, materials must be chosen carefully.
Most common commercial copper coil wire may be
used up to 150C to 200 dc. For temperatures above
Large saturation
w ts
col (DC)
ma er e y
C, silver or aluminum wire with ceramic or
current coil (AC)
high temperahlre silicone insulation must be used.
Materials must be chemically compatible with
the test object. As extreme examples, a polystyrene
coil form would not be used to inspect an acetone
Fen;ti, (steel) tube ~
cooler or a lead or graphite housing allowed to
come in contact with a high temperature nickel
chromium alloy jet engine tail cone. The chemical
interactions between these material
combinations could cause cracking and
Figure 3.5: Magnetic bias probe
lead to component failure .
Mechanical and electrical stability
Poly shaft
of the test coil can be enhanced by an
Permanent magnets
application of epoxy resin between
each layer of coil w inding. This
accomplishes many objectives: 1) it
seals the coil to exclude moisture; 2) it
provides additional electrical
insulation; and 3) it provides
mechanical stability.
Differential coils
Characteristics listed are not in
order of importance. The importance of
each characteristic is determined by
Non-metallic probe body
specific test requirements.

i": : i


Chapter 3
Review Questions


A coil's resistance is determined by:

A. wire material.
13. wire length.
C. wire cross-sectional area.
D. all of the above.


The Q or merit of a coil is denoted by the

A. Z + XL
B. XL + Z
C. XL + R
D. R+ XL


The incorporation of ferromagnetic

shield ing materials around a coil:
A. improves resolution.
B. decreases fie ld extension.
C. increases impedance.
D. Does all of the above.


The purpose of a steady state winding u'>Cd

near a test coil is to:
A. reduce material permeability effects.
B. produce possible magnetic sahlfation in
the test materia 1.
C. provide a balance source fOT the sensing
D. both A and B.

Inductance might be referred to as being

analogous to:
A. force .

B. volume.
C. inertia.
O. velocity.



The unit of inductance is the:

A. henry.
B. m axv,'cl1.
C. o hm.
D. farad .

The inductance of a multilayer air core coil

wi th the dimensions I = 0.2, r = 0.5, b = 0.1
and N = 20, is:
A. 1.38 H .
B. 13.8 ~ I-l .
C. 13.8 ohms.
D. 1.38 ohms.


The inductive reactance of the coil in Q.3.4,

opera ting at 400 kHz, would be:
A. 1380 ohms.
B. 5520 ohms.
c. 34.66 ohms.
D. 3466 ohms.


The impedance of a lOO ll H coil with a

res istance of 20 ohms operating at 100 kH z
would be:
A. 62.8 ohms.
B. 4343.8 ohms.
C. 628 ohms.

Q.3.1O The most important consideration when

selecting a test coil is:
A. sensitivity.
B. resolution.
C. stability.
D. meeting established inspection criteria.

D. 65.9 ohms.


Chapter 4
Effects of Test Object on Test Coil
conductor is a poor resistor. Conductance and
resistance are direct reciprocals as s tated earlier.
Conductivity and resistivity, however, have
different origins and units; therefore, the conversion
is not so direct.
As previously discussed, conductivity is
expressed on an arbitrary scale in percent lACS.
Resistivity is expressed in absolute terms of
micro-ohm-centimeters. To convert values on one
scale to the other system of units a conversion factor
of 172.41 is required. Once you know either the
conductivity or the resistivity value for a material
the other electrical property can be calculated.

As previously seen, the eddy current technique

depends on the generation of induced currents
within the test object. Disturbances in these small
induced currents affect the test coil. The result is a
variance of the test coil impedance due to test object
variables. These variances are called operating or test
<.>ariablcs (15). The range of test variables
encountered might include electrical conductivity,
magnetic permeability, skin effect lift off, fill factor,
end effecl, edge effect and signal-ta-noise ratio.
Coil impedance was d iscussed at length in
Chapter 3. In this chapter coil impedance changes

will be represented graphically to more effectively

explain the intcmction of the operating variables.


% [ACS= ~~~~~~~---

Electrical Conductivity

Resistivity (in rnicro-ohm-cm)

In electron theory the atom consists of a positive

nucle us surrounded by orbiting negative electrons.
Materials that allow these electrons to be easily
moved out of orbit around the nucleus are classified
as condllctors. In conductors electrons are moved by
applyi ng an outside electrical force. The ease with
which the electrons are made to move through the
conductor is called cOlldl/Ctallce. A unit of
conductance is the siell1e11s (mho). The siemens is the
reciprocal of the ohm or conductance G = l / R
where G is conductance in siemens and R is
resistance in ohms.
In eddy current testing, instead of describing
conductance in absolute terms, an arbitrary unit has
been aSSigned. Since the relative conductivity of
metals and alloys varies over a wide range, the need
for a conductivity benchmark is of prime
The International Electrochemical Commission
established in 1913 a convenient technique of
comparing one material to another. The commission
established that a specific grade of high purity
copper, 1 m in length, with a uniform cross section
o( 1 mm 2, measuring 0.017241 ohms at 20 C would
be arbitrarily considered to be 100% conductive.
The symbol for conductivity is (} (sigma) and the
unit is percent lACS or percent of the International
Annealed Copper Standard.
T<lble 4.1 lists materials by their electrical
properties: cOlldllctivity and resistivity. A statement
can be made about a conductor in terms of
conductance or resistance. Note that a good


. .. (.
172.4 1
ReSlstlvlty 10 rnlcro-o rn-cm =


Equation 19
These numerical values will be necessary when
additional calculations are needed to determine
issues of frequency choice, depth of penetration
and / or phase spread to meet specific inspection
As the tcst coil is influenced by different
conductivities, its impedance varies inversely to
conductivity. A higher conductivity causes the test
coil to have a lower impedance value . Figure 4.1
illustrates th is concept.
The coil's inductive reactance is represented by
the Y axis and coil resistance appears on the X tlxis.
The 0% conductivity pOint, or air point, is when the
coil's empty reactance (XLQ) is maximum. Figure 4.1
represents a measured conductivity locus (4).
Conductivity is influenced by many factors. Table
4.1 is a comparative listing of materials with various
chemical compositions.
There are various ma nufactu ring or in s itu
factors that must be considered when try ing to
measure the conductivity of various alloys.
In metals, as the temperature is increased, the
conductivity will decrease. This is a major factor to
consider when accurate measurement of
conductivities is requ ired.

Heat treatment affecl'> electrical conductivity by

redistributing elements in the materiaL Dependent
on materials and degree of heat treatment,
conductivity can either increase or decrease as a
result of heat treatment.
Stresses in a materia l due to cold working
produces lattice distortion or dislocation (2). This

mechanical process changes the grain structure and

hardness of the material, changing its electrical
Hardness in age hardellnble aluminum alloys
changes the electrical conductivity of the alloy. The
electrical conductivity decreases as hardness
in creases. As an example, a Brinell hardness of 60 is
represented by a conductivity of 23 and a Brinell
hardness of 100 of the same alloy would have a
conductivity of 19.

Fig ure 4.1: Conductivity curve

tr o(air)
% I r--.
'< I

Permeability of any material is a measure of the
ease with v:hich its magnetic domains can be
aligned or the ease with which it can establish lines
of force (2). Materials are rated on a comparative
basis. Air is assigned a permeability of l.
Ferromagnetic metals and alloys induding nickel.
iron and cobalt tend to concentrate magnetic flux
lines (15). A5 discussed in Chapter 3, some
ferromagne tic materials or sifltered ionic compollnds
are also useful in concentrating magnetic flux (4).
Magnetic permeability is not constant for a given
material. The permeability in a test samp le depends
on the magnetic field acting on it. As an example,
consider a magnetic steel bar placed in an encircling
coil. As the coil current is increased, the magnetic






10% .....


100% lACS ......

Resistance -

Table 4.1: Electrical resistivity and conductivity of several metals and alloys

micro-ohm-cm Utncm)


Admiralty Brass
Aluminum (99.9)



Aluminum Bronze
Copper Nickel 90-10
Copper Nickel 70-30
Corrosive Resistant Nickel Alloy
High Temperature Nickel Chromiu-m Alloy
Magnesium (99%)
Stainless Steel 304
Stainless Steel 316
TItanium 99%
Tung sten





% lACS






field of the coil wi ll increase. The magnetic flux

within the steel will increase rapidly at first and
then will tend to level off as the s teel approaches
magnetic saturation. This phenomenon is called the

Figure 4.2: Edge effect

Good coupling

Bllrkha/lsell effect (4).

When increases in the magnetizing fo rce produce
little or no change on the flu x w ithin the steel bar,
the bar is magnetically satu rated. When
ferromagnetic materials are satu rated, permeability
becomes constant. With magnetic permeability
constant, ferromagnetic materials may be inspected
using the eddy current method. Without magnetic
saturation, ferromagnetic materials exhibit such a
wide range of permeability variation that signals
produced by discontinuities or condu ctivity
variations are masked by the permeability signal (15).



Skin Effect

Decreased coupling



Electromagnetic l'esLs in many applications are

most sensitive to test object va riables nearest the test
coil because of skin effect. Skill effect is a result of
mutua l interaction of eddy currents, operating
frequency, test object conductivity and permeability.
The skin effect, the concentration of eddy currents
it' the tes t object nearest the test coil, becomes more
evident as test frequency, tes t object conductivity
and permeability are increased (4). For current
density or eddy current distribution in the test
object, refer to Figure l.8 in Chapter 1.

E"d effect follows the same logic as edge effect.

End effect is the signal observed when the end of a
product approaches the test coil. Response to end
effect can be reduced by coil shielding or reducing
coil width in outside diameter encircling or inside
diameter bobbin coils. End effect is a term most
applicable to the inspection of bar or tubular

Edge Effect

Lift Off

The electromagnetic field produced by an excited

test coil extends in all directions from the coil. The
coil's field p recedes the coil by some distance (2)
deh'!rmined by coil par,mleters, operating frequency
""d lest object characteristics. As the coil
approaches the edge of a test object, eddy current
flow in the test sample becomes distorted by the
edge. This is known as edge effect.
Edge effect can create a change in the coil's
impedance that is similar to a discontinuity
(Figure4.2). The response would move back along
the conductivity curve toward the air point. The coil
is responding to a slightly less conductive situation
(.li r) at the leading edge of the coil's field of view. It
is therefore essen tial that edge effect be eliminated
as a variable during a surface sca nning test.
Response to the edges of test objects can be
reduced by: incorporating magnetic s hields around
the test coil, increasing the test frequency, reducing
the test coil diameter or by changing the scanning
pattern used. Edge effect is a term most applicable
to the inspection of sheets or plates with a probe

Electromagnetic coupling between test coil and

test object is of prime importance when conducting
an eddy current examination. The coupling between
test coil and test object varies with spacing between
the test coil and test object. This spacing is called lift
off (4). The effect on the coil impedance is called lift

End Effect

off effect.
Figure 4.3 shows the relationship between air,
conductive materials and lift off. The
electromagnetic field, as previously discussed, is
strongest near the coil and dissipates w id1 distance
from the coil. This fact causes a p ronounced lift off
effect for small variations in coil to object spacing.
As an example, a spacing change from contact to
0.0254 mm (0.001 in.) will produce a lift off effect
many times greater than a spacing change of
0.254mm (0.010 in.) to 0.2794 mm (0.011 in.) (15).
Lift off effect is generally an undesired effect
causing increased noise and reduced coupling
resulting in poor measuring ability (12).
In some instances, equipment haVing phase
d iscrimination capability can readily separa te lift off
from cond uctivity o r other variables. Lift off can be


used to advantage when measuring nonconductive

coatings on conductive bases. A nonconductive
coating such as p aint or plastic causes a space
betv/een the coil and conducting base, allowing lift
off to represent the coating thickness. Lift off is also
useful in profilometry and proximity applications.
Lift off is a term m ost applicable to testing objects
with a smfilce or probe coil.

equation resulting in the d ivision of effective coil

and part area,>. Because the term rr. / 4 appear.:; in
both the numerator and the denominator of this
fractional equation the term rr. / 4 cancels out, leaving
the ratio of the diamctf::!rs squared:


- , = 11 = Fill Factor

Fill Factor

Equation 21

Fill factor will always be a number less than 1

and efficif::!nt fill factors approach L A fill factor of
0.99 is more desirable than a fill factor of 0.75. The
effect of fill factor on the test system is that poor fUl
factors do not allow the coi! to be sufficiently
coupled to the test object. This is analogous to the
effect of drawing a bow only slightly and releasing
an arrow. The result is, with the bow slightly drawn
and released, little effect is produced to propel the
in electrical terms it is said that the coil is loaded
by the test object. How much the coil is loaded. by
thf::! test object due to fill factor can be calculated. in
relative terms. A test system with constant current
capabilities being affected by a conductive
nonmagnetic bar placed into an encircling coil can
be used to d emonstra te this f::!ffect.
For this example, the system parameters are as
(a) Unloaded coil voltage equals 10 V.
(b) Tes t object effective permeability
equals 0.3.
(c) Test coil ins ide diameter equals
25.4 mm (1 in.)
(d) Test object outside diameter equals
22.9 mOl (0.9 in.)

Fill facfor is a term used to describe how well a

test object will be electromagnetically coupled. to a
test coil that surround s or is in serted into the test
object. fill fac tor then pertains to inspections using
bobbin or cllCi rclin g coils. Like lift off,
electromagnetic coupling between test coil and test
object is most efficient when the coil is neaTCst the
surface of the pilIt.
The area of a circle (A) is determined using the

Eq uation 20

Fill factor can be described as the ratio of test

object diameter to coil diameter sq uared
(Figure4.4). The d iameters squared is a simplified
Figure 4.3 : Lift off/conductivity relationships

0% lACS


Fi II Faclor q~ - ;-

~ 0.81

Equation 22

An equation demonstrating coil

loading is given by:
Angle A


__-1-_-1-_ --'-_ --'-_--"-_

---"' 0'


Resistance - --

lift off: The change in coil impedance due to a changing (air) gap

between the coil and the material being tested.

.uiff =


coil voltage with coil

affected by air
coil voltage with coil
affected by test object
fill factor
effective permeability

establishes a
standard depth of
penetration at the
midpoint of the rube
wall. Th is condition
would allow a
relative current
OD - - density of about 20%
on the far surface of
the tube. With this
condition, identical
near and far surface
discontinuities \..,ould have greatly different
responses. Due to current magnirude alone, the near
surface discontinuity response would be nearly five
times that of the far surface discontinuity.
Discontinuity orientation has a dramatic effect on
response. As seen earlier, discontinuity response is
maximum when eddy currents and discontinuities
are at 90 degrees or perpendicular. D iscontinuities
parallel to the eddy current flow produce little or no
response. The easiest technique to ensure
detectability of discontinuities is to use a reference
standard or model that provides a consistent means
of adjusting instrumentation (12).

Figure 4.4: Fill factor ratios

Compare either:



ID - - - coil 00



When a nonferromagnetic test object is inserted

into the test coil, the coil's voltage wil l decrease.


10[(1 - 0.81) + (0.81) (0.3)]

10[0.19 + 0.243J
4.3 V

This allows 10 - 4.3 or 5.7 V available to respond

to test object changes caused by discontinuities o r

decreases in effective conductivity of the test object.

It is suggested that the reader calculate the
resultant loaded voltage developed by a 12.7 mm
(0.5 in.) bar of the same material and observe the
relative sensitivity difference.

Signal-Io-Noise Ralio


Signal-fa-liaise ratio is the ratio of signals of

interest to unwanted signals (4). Common noise
sources are test object variations of surface
roughness, geometry and homogeneity. Other
electrical noises can be due to such external sources
as welding machines, electric motors and
generators. Mechanical vibrations can increase test
system noise by physical movement of test coil or
test object. In other words, anything that interferes
with a test system' s ability to define a measurement
is considered lIoise.
Sigllal-to-noise ratios can be improved by several
techniques. If a part is dirty or scaly, signal-to-noise
ratio can be improved by cleaning the part.
Electrical interference can be shielded or isolated.
Phase discrimination and filtering can improve
signal-to-noise ratio.
It is common practice in nondestructive testing to
require a minimum signal-to-noise ratio of 3 to 1.
This means a signal of interest must have a response
at least three times that of the noise at that point.

Any d iscontinuity that appreciably changes the

normal eddy current flow can be detected.
Discontinuities, such as cracks, pits, gouges,
vibrational damage and corrosion, generally cause
the effective conductivity of the test object to be
Discontinuities open to the surface are more
easily detected than subsurface discontinuities (15).
Discontinuities open to the surface can be detected
with a wide range of frequencies; subsurface
investigations require a more careful frequency
selection . Discontinuity detection at depths greater
than 12.7 mm (0.5 in.) in stainless steel is very
difficult. This is in part due to the sparse
distribution of magnetic flux lines at the low
frequency required for such deep penetrations.
Figure 1.8 is again useful to illustrate
discontinuity response because of current
distribution. As an example, consider testing a
nonferromagnetic tube at a frequency that


Chapter 4
Review Questions

Materials that hold their electrons loosely

are classified as:
A. resistors.
8. conductors.
C. semiconductors.
O. insulators.


Diamagnetic materials have:

A. a permeability greater than air.
B. a permeability less than air.
e. a permeability greater than
ferromagnetic materials.
D. no permeability.


100'%, lACS is based on a specified copper

bar h aVing a resistance of:
A. 0.01 ohms.
B. 100 ohms.
C. 0.017241 ohms.
D. 172.41 ohms.


Edge effect can be reduced by:

A. shielding.
B. selecting a lower frequency.
C. u sing a smaller coil.
D. both A and C.



A resistivity of 13llohrn em is equivalent to

a conductivity in percent lACS of:
A. 11.032.
6. 0.0625.
C. 1652.
D. 13.26.

Ca lculate the effect of fill factor when a

conducting bar 12.7 mm (0.5 in.) in diameter
with an effective pi!I meability of 0.4 is
placed into a 25.4 mm (1 in.) diameter coil
with an un l oa d ~d voltage of 10V. The
loaded voltage is:
A. 2V.
B. 4.6V.
C. 8.5V


D. 3.2V.

A prime factor affecting conductivity is:

A. temperature.

B. hardness.

C. heat treatment.
D. a ll of the <lbove.


Materials that tend to concentrate magnetic

flux lines are:
A. conductive.

Laminations are easily detected with the

eddy current method.
A. True
B. False

Q.4.lD Temperarure changes, vibration and

envuorunental effec~ are test coil inputs
that generate:
A. unwanted Signals.
B. magnetic fields.
C. eddy currents.
D. d rift.


C. resistive.
D. inductive.


Chapter 5
Selection of Test Frequency
It is the responsibility of nondestructive testing
engineers and technicians to provide and perform
nondestructive testing that in some way ensures the
quality or usefulness of industry products. To apply
a nondestructive test, it is essential that the
parameters affecting the test be understood.
Usually, industry establishes a product or
component and then seeks a method to inspect it.
This practice establishes test object geometry,
conductivity and permeability before the
application of the eddy current examination .
Instrumentation, test coil and test freque ncy
selection become the tools used to solve the
problem of inspection. Test coils were discussed
previously and instrumentation will be d iscussed
later in this text. Test frequencies and their selection
will be examined in detail in this Chapter.

The depth of penetration formul a discussed in

Chapter 1, although correct, has rather cumbersome
units. Conducti vity is u sually expressed in percent of
the International Annen/cd Copper Sta/1dard (% lACS).
Resistivity is usually expressed in terms of
micro-olim-centimeter (llncm) (16). Depths of
penetration are normally much less than 12.7 mm
(0.5 in.). A formula using these units may be more
appropriate and easier to use.
In Chapter 1 a formula fo r calculating depth of
penetration in the metric units was presented.
Another derivative of this formula using resistivity,
frequency and permeabili ty with S expressed in
inches can be expressed as follows:

Frequency Selection
Equation 23
In Chapter 1, it was observed that eddy currents
are exponentially reduced as they penetrate the test
object. In addition, a time o r phase difference in
these currents was observed. The currents near the
test coil happen first or lead the current that is
deeper in the object. A high current density allows
good detectability and a wide phase difference
between near and far surfaces allows good
resolution .


!irel =

s tandard depth of penetrati on

50 (for millimeter) or 1.98 (for inches)
resistivity (in micro-ohm-centimeter)
frequency (in hertz)
1 (for nonferromagnetic materials)

For nonferromagnetic materials the term II rei is

ignored. The equation then becomes:

Single Frequency Sy stems

Unforrunately, if a low frequency is selected to
provide good penetration and detectability, the
phase difference between near and far surface is
reduced .
Selection of frequency often becomes a
compromise. It is common practice in inservice
inspection of thin-wall. nonferromagnetic tubing to
establish a stand ard depth of penetration just past
the midpoint of the tube wall. This permits about
25% of the available eddy current to flow at the
outside surface of the tube wall. In addition, this
establishes a phase difference of about 150 degrees
to 170 degrees between the inside and outside
surface of the tube wall. The combination of 25%
outside, or surface current and 170 degrees included
phase angle provides good detectability and
resolution for thin-wall tube inspection.

Eq uation 24
The prime variable is frequency. By adjusting
frequency technicians can be selectively responsive
to test object variables. Solving the
nonferromagnetic depth of penetration formula for
frequency requires a simple algebraic manipulation
as follows:













K' p


,U ....1

frequency in hertz
conductivity meter / ohm-rrun 2
diameter of test object, em
relative permeability

A frcqllency can always be selected to establish

factor A equal to 1. This frequency is knmvn as the

limit frequency and is noted by the term fg . By
substituting 1 for factor A and fg for f, the equation

1 = fj1r~l (Jd?

~ f or f ~ (1.98 )' P


Equation 28

As an example of how this may be used, consider

inspecting a 7.6 mm (0.3 in.) thick aluminum plate,
fastened to a steel plate at the far surface. Effects of
the steel part are undesirable and require
discrimination or dimillil tion. The aluminum plate
has a resistivity of 5 ).IQcm. By establishing a depth
of penetration at 2.54 mrn (0.1 in. ), the far surface
current will be less than 10% of the available
current, thus reducing response to the steel PiUt.
The frequency required for this can be calculated by

Limit frequency (fg) is then established in terms

of conductivity, permeability, some dimensional
property and a constant (5066).
Because limit frequency is haSRd on these
parameters, a technique of frequency detennination
using a test frequency to limit frequency ratio flfg
can be accomplished. High flfg ratios are used for
near surface tests and lower flfg ratios are used for
subsurface tests.
Often results of such tests are represented
graphically by diagrams. These diagrams are called
impedance diagrams (4). Impedance illustrated by
vector diagrams in Chapter 3 shows inductive
reactance represented un the Y axis and resistance
on the X axis.
The vector sum of the reactive and resistive
components is impedance, This impedance is a
quantity w ith magnitude and direction that is
d irectly proportional to frequency. To construct a
univerSill impedance diilgram valid for all
frequencies, the impedance m ust be normalized (4).
Figure 5.1 illustrates a normalization process.
Figure 5.1 (a) shows the effect on primary
impedance Zp w ith changes in frequency (00 = 2xl ).
Figure S. l (a) rep resents primary impedance without
a secondary circuit or test object.
Figure S.l (b) illustrates the effect of frequency on
primary impedance w ith a secondary circuit or test
object present. The prim il ry resistance R, in
Figure 5.1 (a) has been subtracted in Figure S. l (b)
because resistance is not affected by frequency. The
term wLsG in Figure 5.1 (b) represents a reference
qUilntity~ for the secondary impedance. The units arc
secondary conductance (G ) and wLs (secondary
Furth er normalization is accomplished by
dividing the reacti ve and resistive components by
the term wLo or the primary inducti ve reactance
w ithout a secondary circuit present.

f ~ (1.98 )'(5) ~ 19.6

(0. 1)'


f ~ 1960Hz

Equation 25

If detection of the presence of the steel part w as

required, the depth of penetration could be
reestablished at 7.6 O1m (0.3 in. ) in the alumimlm
plate and a ll CW frequ ency could be calculated.

f ~

(1.98 )' (5) 19.6


~ 0.09

f ~ 21gHz

Eq uation 26

Another approach to frequency selection uses

argument A of the Bessel function (1 ) where
iUgument A is equal to unity or 1.

Equation 27


Figure 5.2 shows a typical normalized impedance

d iagram (1 5).
The terms roLl roLo and R/ roLo represent the
relative impedance of the test coil as affected by the
test object.
Signals generated by changes in roL or R caused
by test object conditions such as surface and
subsurface discontinuities may be noted by .6roL or
LlR. The !lwLo and LlR notation indicates a change in
the impedance.
Figure 5.3 shows the impedance variation in a
nonferromagnetic cylinder caused by surface and
subsurface discontinuities.

Figure 5.1: Effect of frequency change: (a)

primary impedance without secondary circuil;
(b) primary impedance with secondary circuit
Zp (10 ttl,)

Zp (8 (,)1)

Figure 5.2: Normalized impedance diagram for

long coil encircling solid cylindrical
nonferromagnetic bar and for thin-wall tube, Coil
fill factor 1.0




0"'------';;_ _ _ _ __
Resistance R (relative scale)






. 1.2 1.4 -'''''~=t--+-~


kr = r J(W\.l(f) '" 2.

Solid CYlindrJI bar



3.0 /'


,.,,"il---I--/,- .




-/-+-_ 4-+ >.2




1'.4 n









Normalized resistance H{UlLo)-1 (0)


k = v(t~.J(f) = electromagnetic wave propagation

constant for
conducting material
r = radius of conducting cylinder (m)
J1 = magnetiC permeability of bar (4n x 10-7 H'm- I
if bar is nonmagnetic)
o = electrical conductivity of bar (S'm- I )
angular freQuency = 2n'where , freQuency (Hz)
v(UlLoG) = equivalent of v(~o) for simplified electrical
circuits, where G = conductance (8) and
inductance in air (H)

Resistance R (relative scale)

B. C, 0, E, F ",loci for selected values of Zp

G = secolldary conductance
Zp = primary impedance
w = angular frequency = 'lit, where' = frequency (Hz)
UlLS = secondary reactance

Lo '"


Figure 5.3 also ill ustrates a sensitivity ratio for

surface and subsurface d iscontinuities. Notice with
an fllg ratio of 50, a relatively high frequency, the
response to subsurface discontinuities is not very
Figure 5.4 shows responses to the same
discontinuities with an flig ratio of 15. This lower
frequency allows better detection of subsurface
d iscontinuities as shown in Figure 5.4.

frequency arc called I1Il1ltifreqllellcy or mll/tiparalllt>fer

systems. It is conunon for a test coil to be driven
with three or more frequencies. Although several
frequenci es may be applied Simultaneously or
sequentially to a test coil, each of the individual
frequencies follows rules established by single
frequency tI...'C hniques. Signals generated at the
various frequencies are often combined or mixed in
electron ic circuits that algebraically add or subtract
signals to obtain a desired result .
One multurequency approach is to apply a
broadband signal, with many frequency
components, to the test coil (4). The information
transmitted by this signal is p roportional to its
bandwidth and the logarithm of 1 plus the
signal-to-noise po'wer ratio, Thi s relationship is
stated by the eq'llation:

Multifrequency Systems
It becomes obvious that the technician must have
a good working knowledge of current density and
phase relationships to make intell igent frequency
choices. The frequency chOice discussed to da te
deals with coil systems driven by only one
frequency. Test systems driven by more than one

Figure 5.3: Impedance variations caused by

surface and subsurface cracks

Figure 5.4: Impedance variations caused by

surface and subsurface cracks



og~'I:: 2
0 '






Distance of crack
from surface in %


of diameter


0 .02

0 .04 0,06 wLo


Impedance variations caused by surface and

subsurface cracks in nonferromagnetic cylinders. at a
freque ncy ratio flfg = 50.

Impedance variations caused by surface and

subsurface cracks in nonferromagnetic cylinders, at a
frequency ratio flfg '" 15,


First, a frequency is selected to give optimum

phase and amplitude information about the tube
wall. This is ca lled the prime frequency. At the prime
frequency, the response to the tube support and to a
calibration through wall hole are about equal in
amplitude. They may also ha\'e about the same
phase angle.
A second freque ncy called the sub/rador frequency
is selected on the basis of the phase angle of the
tube support response. Because the tube support
surrounds the outside diameter of the tube, a lower
frequency is selected . At the subtractor frequency
the tube support signal response is about 10 times
greater than the calibration through wall hole. The
phase difference between the support signal and the
through wall hole in this lower frequency will be
about 90 degrees. Parameter separation limitations
are greatest for those parameters producing nearly
similar Signals, such as dents.
If the prime and subtractor channels have been
selected properly then Signal subtraction algorithms
should be able to suppress the tube support signal
leaving only slightly attenuated prime data
(discontinuity) information. For suppression of
inside or near surface Signals, a higher subtractor
frequency would be chosen.
A combination of prime, low and high subtractor
frequencies is often used to suppress both near and
far surface signals, leaving only data pertaining to
the part thickness and its condition. Bandwidth of
the coil is of prime importance when operation over
a wide frequency range is required in
multifrequency I multiparameter testing.
Optimization of a test frequency (or frequencies)
will therefore depend on the desired measurement
or parameter(s) of interest (11, 12, 4).

Equation 29

S/N =

rate of information transmitted in bits

per second
bandwidth of the signal
signal-ta-noise power ratio

This is known as the Shannon-Hartley theorem.

Another approach to multiparameter techniques
is to use a multiplexing process (12). The
multiplexing process places one frequency at a time
on the test coil. This results in zero crosstalk
between freque ncies and eliminates the need for
channel specific bandpass filters. The major
advantages of a m ultiplex system, in addition to the
crosstalk reduction issues, are lower cost and
greater flexibility in frequency selection.
If the multiplex switching rate is sufficiently
high, both broadband and multiplex systems have
essentially the same results. The characterization of
ed dy current signals by their phase angle and
ampliru de is a common practice and provides a
basis for signal mixing to suppress unwanted
signals from test data (12). Two frequencies are
required to remove each unwanted variable.
Practica l multipara meter freq uency selection can
be demonstrated by the following example:
Problem: Eddy current inspection of installed
thin-wall non ferromagnetic heat exchanger tubing.
Tubing is structu rally supported by ferromagnetic
tube supports at several locations. It is desired to
remove the tu be su pport response signal from tube
wall data.
Solution: Apply a ffiultiparameter technique to
supprt.'Ss the tube support signal response.


Chapter 5
Review Questions

Wh<l t frequency is required to establish a

standard depth of penetration of 7.6mm
(0.1 in.) in Zirconium?
A. 19.6 kHz
B. 196 Hz
C. 3.4 kHl
D. 340 H:t.


To reduce effects of far surface indications,

the test freque ncy:
A. must be m ixed .
B. must be raised .
C. must bt:' lowered.
D. has no effect.


The frequency required to establish the

Bessel function argument A cqUelJ to 1 is


In Figure 3.1(b) the value roLsG equaling 1.4

'w ould be indicative of:
A. a high resisti\' ity material.
B. a high conductivity material.
C. a low conductivity material.
D. a nonconductor.


Primary resistance is subtracted from

Figure 3.1 (b ) because:
A. rcsistJIlCe is always constan t
B. resistance is not frequency dependent.
C. resistance does not add to the
D. None of the above.


A. an optimum frequency.
B. a fesonant frequency.

C. "limit f<equency.
D . a penetration frequency.

The reference qu.,n tity is d ifferent for solid

cy linder and thin-wall tube in Figure 5.2
b ecause:
A. the frequency is different.
B. the conductivity is different.
e. the skin effect is no longer negligible.
D. the thin-w<lll t ube has not been


Calculate the limit frequency for a copper

bar (q = 50.6 meter /ohm mm 2) 1 em in
diameter. The correct limit freq uency is:
A. 50 kHz.
B. 50.6 Hz.


A 25% dcep crack open to the ncaT su rface

gives a n,-,sponse
times greater

than the same crack 3.3% of diameter under

the surface. (Refer to Figure 5.4. )
A. 10

100 Hz .

D. loa kHz.


C. 2
D. 5


Using the example in Question 5.4, what is


ratio if the test frequency is 60kHz?
A. 1.2

Q.5.10 When using multifrequency systems, low

subtractor frequencies are used to suppress:


C. 60
D. 600

A. conducti vity changes.

B. far surf<lce signals.
C. ncar 1:iurface signals.
D. permeability changes.


Chapter 6
Instrument Systems
Most eddy current instrumentation is categorized

The demodulation and analysis section is made

up of detectors, analyzers, discriminators, filters
and sampling circuits. Detectors can be a simple
ampl itude type or a more sophisticated
phase / amplitude or coheren t type.
Five different elements arE' usually required to
The signal display section is the key link between
produce a viable eddy current instrument (4). These
the test equipment and its intended purpose. The
functions are excitatiOIl, modulatioll, Sigllll/ preparation,
signals generated can be displayed many different
sis"a/ analysis and sig/wl display. An optional sixth
ways. The type of display or readout depends on
component would be test object halldling equipment .
the test requirements (4). In some tests, a simple
Figure 1 illustrates how these components
CO / NO-GO indicator circuit may be all that is
The generator provides excitation signals to the
required. However, some applications may require
test coil. The signa l modulation occurs in the
recording of 100% of all raw data generated during
electromagnetic field of the test coil assembly. Next,
a test. This data may be imported into other digital
the signal preparation section, usually a balancing
devices that allow sophis ticated data analysis or
network, prepares the signal for demodulation and
engineering statistics to be generated. One example
analysis. In the signa l preparation stage, balance
of thiS is the inspection of large inservice nuclear
networks are used to I1UIl out steady value
components so that discontinuity growth can be
alternating current Signals. Amplifiers and filters are
monitored for determining potential failure rates or
also part of this section 10 improve signal-Io-noise
replacement cycles. Signal display processes will be
r,1tio <'l nd raise signal levels for the subsequent
discussed more in Chapler 7.
demodu lation and analysis stage.
A series of simple eddy current ins truments is
shown in Figure 6.2 (15).
In Figure 6.2(a), the voltage across the
Figure 6.1 : Internal functions of the electromagnetic
inspection coil is monitored by an
nondestructive test
alternating current voltmeter. This type of
instrument could be used to measure large
Excitation ----..
lift off variations where accuracy was not
critical. Figure 6.2(b) shows an impedance
bridge circuit. This instrument consists of an
current exciting source, dropping
resistors and a balancing impedance.
Figure 6.2{c) is similar to Figure 6.2(b). In
6.2(c) a balance coil similar to the
Signal preparation - - - - .
ins pection coil is used to provide a balanced
bridge. Figure 6.2(d) illustrates a balancing
Object handling
affected by a reference sample. This is
commonly used in ex ternal reference
Signal analysis ----.. Discriminators
differential coil tests. In all cases, because
only the voltage change or magnitude is
monitored, these systems can al1 be grouped
as impedance magnitllde Iypes (5).
Eddy current testing can be divided into
Ihree broad groups (2). The groups arc
Signal display - - - - .
impedance testing, phase analysb h:::ting
and modulation analysis testing. Jmpt.i.lI:~-~'
testing is based on g ross changes in coil
impedance when the coil is placed near the
test object. Phase al/alysis k:.'tillS is ba...-.ed 00

by its final output or display mode. There are basic

requi rements common to all types of eddy current





Figure 6.2: Four types 01 simple eddy current instruments







Q~OU NO '"



subgroups depending on the type of data display.

Some of the earlier test system outputs were called
vector point, ellipse and linear time base (2).

phase changes occurring in the test coil and the test

object's effect on those phase changes. Modulation
a1wiysi$ testing depends on the test object passing
through the test coil's magnetic field at a constant
feed rate or speed. These systems act like a tuned
circuit. The operating frequency of the tester is
changed (modulated) as a discontinuity passes
through the test coil's field. The amount of
modulation is a function of the tra nsit time of the
discontinuity through the coil's fiel d. The faster the
transit time the greater the modulation. If a system
is set up for one speed and then the parts are
scanned at a much slower speed the discontinuities
may not be detected.

Vector Point

The vector point display would simply be a point

of light on an analog cathode ray tube (Figure 6.3).
The point is the vector sum of the Y aris and X axis
voltages present in the test coil (2). By proper
selection of frequency and phase adjustment a
response in the vertical pla ne might represent
dimensional changes while a voltage shift in the
horizontal plane could represent changes in

Impedance Testing

With impedance magnitude instrumentation it is

often difficult to separate desired responses, such as
changes in conductivity or permeability, from
dimensional changes. A variation of the impedance
magnitude technique is the reactallce magnitude
illstrll/nellt (5). In reactance magnitude tests, the test
coil is part of the fundament al frequency oscillator
circuit. This operates like a tuned circuit where the
oscillator frequency is determined by the test coil's
inductive reactance. As the test coil is affected by
the test object, its inductive reactance changes,
which in turn changes the oscillator frequency. The
relative frequency variation Mit is, therefore, an

As with the vector point technique, the test object

and reference standard are used to provide a
balanced output. A nonnal balanced output is a
straight horizonlallinc. Figure 6.4 shows typical
ellipse responses (2).
Linear TIme Base

An early test system that was better suited to

compensate fo r harmonic distortions present in the
fundamental waveform used the linear time base
technique (5).

indica tion of test object

display logic
Reactance magnitude
j.J = permeability
systems have many of the same
limitations as impedance
0:: dimensional properties
0 ::: conductivity
magnitude systems.

Phase Analysis Testing

Phase analysis processes can
be divided into many


Figure 6.4: Cathode ray tube displays for dimension and conductivity

M "" slit value

A = amplitude of the
measurement in the slit
e = angle behveen base Signal and
measurement effect
In Figure 6.5, the angle
difference A to B is abou t
90 degrees.


Impedance Plane Testing

Small change


Small change

Both dimension
and conductivity

Small change

The linear time base unit applies a sawtooth

shaped voltage to the horizontal deflection plates of
a CRT. This provides a linear trace of the CRT beam
from left to right across the CRT screen . The timing
of the linear trace function is set to same value as
the alternating current ~nergy applied to the coil.
This allows one complete cycle of the sine wave
voltage applied to the coil to appear on the CRT.
Figu re 6.5 illustrates a linear time base display.
A slit or narrow vertical scale is provided to
measure the ampli tude of signals present in the slit
(5). The base voltage is normally adjusted to cross
the slit at 0 volts, the 180 degree point on the sine
The slit value M is used to analyze results. The
slit value M is described by the equation:

M=Asi nB

The three tester types that have

been defined so far (vector point,
ellipse and linear time base) were
early attempts to correlate
electromagnetic changes detected
by a test system with material
variables. The circu its that they
used were fairly primitive by
today's standards. These
techniques were limited by the
level of technology available at
the time they were built. They
were not very sensitive to small
changes in materials and could
not readily display small
variations in the signal changes
that they did d etect.
As the field of electronics
advanced, more sophisticated
Large change
components became available. In
today's marketplace many eddy
current test systems have the
capability to display data in multiple modes. The
classic X-V type display mode is a simple way of
showing what is meant by an impedance plane test
In Chapter 4 impedmlce plane diagrams were
defined. These graphs and curves allow technicians
to look at complex sets of information for a number
of test variables simultaneously. Test systems that
provide the ability to view both the d irection
(phase) and amplitude (voltage) of the voltage shift
across an inspection coil provide much greater
detail than the early model test systems that were
looked at in this chapter. These modern systems
give the ability to sort or measure material
parameters with a much higher degree of accuracy.
Some impedance measurement systems may only
display part of the information derived (meterbased technology) but most use a tvvo-dimensional
output device.

Equation 30



A clac;sic example of the ad vantage of this X-Y

screen presentation in surface scanning applications
is to put !ift off responses 011 the horizon with
discontinuities responding lip on the screen.
Mode 3 systems are phase sensiti ve systems
although th(!y have only amplitude detectors. They
achieve phase sensitivity by operating in a
manually selected off balance condition. Based on
this st'lection, the off mIll signal change can be set
so thilt it may appear larger than the inherent
impedance change due to test object variabJes.

Figure 6.5: Screen image of a linear time base

instrument with sinusoidal signals





" "\ \


Test Coil Excitation

The second consideration that was previously
mentioned for defining the mode of operation o f a
test unit could be the way the probe is being
energized. Figure 6.7 shows a typical surface riding
pancake coil response to an <lrray of EDM notches
on a calibration standard. Figure 6.8 shows a block
diagram of a stepped, single frequency, phase
amplitude instrument (4).
The circuit in Figure 6.8 is capable of operating at
any of the four frequencies. If the fom frequencies
arc spread over a wide range, several different test
coils may be required to use the instrument over the
entire range. Most modern single frequency
instruments use this principle; however, onc
variable frequency generator with a wide operating
range usually replaces the four individua lly fixed
generators. A typical frequency range for such an
instrument is in the low hert7. range (SO Hz to 100
Hz) to sev(!r<ll megahertz (8 MHz to 10 MHz). This
large dynamic range gives these unite; a wide
variety of possible applications.




Mode of Operation
Test instruments m ay also be cl<l5sified by their
mode of operation (4). The mode o f operation is
determined by two functional aTCas within the
The first fun ctional consideration might be the
degree o f compensation, or nulling, and the type of
detector used . The second consideration is the
m ethod of test coil excitation. The types of
exci tation indude single /reqll mcy or mulfifreqllellcy
silJUsoidai, single or repetitive pl/lse alld swept

Figure 6.6 : Null

balance instrument
with amplitude
phase detectors

Signal Compensation
Mode 1. Null balance with amplitude detector,
Mode 2. Null balance with amplitude phase
detectors, (Figure 6.6) and
Mode 3. ~lecte d off null ba lance w ith amplitude
Mode 1. responds to any signal irrespective of
phase angle. These would typically be meter-based
instrumentation capablc of shOWing only the
volt<lge change or amplitude of the signal of
Mode 2, using amplirude and phase detectors,
can be used to discriminate agaillst signals haVing a
particular phase angle. With this type of system, the
total demodul ated signal can be displayed in an X-V
screen presentation format to show both amplitude
and ph<lse relationship..:;.


Figure 6.7: Typical

surface riding pancake
coil response to an array
of EDM notches on a
calibration standard

are impressed across the coil at tile SlIme

time. You will recall from earlier

Figure 6.8: Single frequency selectable instrument



Test object

as.e adjust

=-==--' 1

II ---- L~

I' - _ _ _




I' - _ _ _ _ JI

chapters that the electromagnetic

envelope around an alternating current
driven coil is very dynamic. It is very
difficult to model what the combined
electromagnetic flux pattern would
look like with more than one frequency
affecting the coil at a given moment in
Multiple circuits are used
throughout the instrument (4). The test
coil output carrier freque ncies are
separated by filters. Multiple dual
phase amplitude detectors are used
and their outputs summed to provide
separation of several test object
parameters. A system similar to this is
described in Inseroice Inspection of Steam

Generator Tubing Usil1g Multiple

Frequency Eddy Currellt Techniques (12).

Another approach to the

multifrequency technique uses a sequential coil
For deep subsurface crack detection [more than
0.5 em (0.2 in.)] the lower frequency range would be
drive called multiplexillg (12). The frequencies are
required. This test might also be performed w ith
changed in a stepbystep sequence with such
hybrid (driver/pick up) coils to improve detection
rapidity that the test parameters remain unchanged.
of the low amplitude responses from smaller
The multiplex technique has the advantages of
discontinuities deeper in a product.
lower cost, continuously variable frequencies and
For detection of very small stress or fatigue
little or no crosstalk between channels.
cracks in a near surface inspection process the
Figure 6. 10 illustrates a multifreq uency
higher frequency range could improve sensitivity to
instrument capable of generating up to 16 channels
of data sequentially. Each channel or time slot may
smaller cracks. The compromise at very high
frequencies is the issue
of skin effect or surface
Figure 6.9: Multifrequency instrument operating at three frequencies
lIoise. Special probes or
scanning processes may
be required for this type
of test also.
Figure 6.9 shows a
Generator L
block diagram for a
instrument operating at
Generator L
three frequencies
simultaneollsly. In
modern systems this is
referred to as

si/llu/tam'Qus injection .
This diagram shows
three dedicated
frequcncy modules but
mort" rerent adaptations
uS(.' multiple variable
frequency circu its.
In Figure 6.9,
excitation currents at
each selected frequency

Test object

or balarlCe

Filters and


phase detectors





be adjusted over a wide range of frequencies. In

light.., audio alarms, meters, digital displays, CRTs,

recorders and computer interfaces.

add ition, this digital system provides for the

creation of mixed channel combinations for
suppression of unwanted te!it variables. Results of
such suppression arc described in Mliltifrequency
Eddy Cllrrellt Method alld the Separation of Test
Specimen Variables (12).
This type of digital instrumentation allows all of
the test setup parameters to be stored to either
internal or external storage media. This allows
preprogrammed test setups to be reca lled and used
by semi -skilled personnel. Systems can be created
with programs having supenrisory code interlocks
that prevent reprogramming by other than
authori7..ed personnel. These instruments can also
interface with robotic or computer-based systems
for both process control and raw data recording
A test system using pulsed excitation is shown in
Figure 6.11 (4). A pu lse is applit.-d to the test coil,
compensating networks and analyzers
simu ltaneously. Systems having analyzers with one
or two sampling points perform similar to a single
frequency tester using sinusoidal excitation. Pulsed
eddy current systems (7) haVing multiple sampling
points perform more like the multi frequency tester
shown in Figure 6.10.

Indicator Lights
A si mple use of the indicator light is to monitor
the eddy current signal amplitude with an
amplitude gate circuit. 'vVhen the signal reaches a
preset amplitude limit, the amplitude gate switches
a relay that applies power to an indicator light or
automatic sorting device. With the amplitude gate
circuit, high-low limits could be preset to give
GO / NO-GO indications.

Audio Alanns
Audio alarms can be used in much the same
manner as alarm lights. Usually an audible alarm
would be used to indicate an abnorma l condition .
These types of alarms are commonly incorporated
into online eddy current k-st I.quipment that might
be found in a manufacturing plant. These alarms
give only qualitative information about the tested
item. The degree or amount of the condition that
exceeded the preset threshold calUlat nonnally be
determined with the!iC devices.
Indicator lights and audible alarm.. arc relatively
inexpensive. Both can easily be incorporated into
inspection systems found in ma nufacturing
inspection applications where processes may be
monitored by uncertified or semi-skilled tabor.
Audible alarms are also very useful in handheld
portable testers when the in... pcctor may be doing
manual scanning. Often these inspectors have to
pay very close attention to the probe position and
speed and they may not be able to continuously
monitor a visual display.

Read Out Mechanisms

Eddy current test data may be displayed or
indicated in a variety of ways. The type of display
or readout depends on the test requirements (4).
Some common readout mechanisms are indkator

Figure 6.10: Commercial multifrequency


Meters operate on the d' Arsonval galvanometer
principle. The prindple is based on the action
between two magnetic fields. A common meter uses
a permanent magnet to produce one magnetic field
while the other magnetic field is produced by a
movable coil wound on a core. The coil and core are
suspended on jeweled bearings and attached to a
pointer or ueedle. The instrument output current is
passed through the coil and produces a magnetic
field about the coil that reacts to the permanent
magnetic field su rrounding the assembly. The
measuring coil is ddlected, moving the meter
pointer. The amount of pointer movement can
sometimes be related to spechc test object Variables.
Even with the aVailability of digital electronics
that have many advanced features some inspectors


Figure 6.11 : Pulsed waveform excitation




Test object





d iscontinuity then the sample

is acceptable. If that voltage
level is exceeded then the
part is deemed unacceptable.
In some online inspections,
this type of voltage threshold
or gate is used to rapidly sort
or grade materials.
The use of these types of
output displays should be
limited to applications where
a qualitative value or
discontinuity threshold can
be established and would be
acceptable to meet test

Digital Displays
are still more comfortable with analog technology.
As long as it can be demonstrated that these units
Numerical digital displays can also be used to
are still fu nctional and can meet the inspection
provide qual itative information. These might have
sensitivity requirements then they will continue to
be used. Good maintenance and electronic
, _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
calibration checks are essential with vintage
Figure 6.12: A quantitative meter response indicating a
test units.
specific conductivity (in percent of the lACS)
The test information generated by any
analog system can be processed through an
analog-to-digital converter if additional
signal processing is required.
Meter-based technology signal responses
fall into one of two categories: either
quantitative or qualitative. One example of a
quantitative meter response would be a
system lIsed fo r measuring conductivity
% IAC.S.
(Figure 6.12). When the needle deflects and
reaches a specific point on the scale the
number indicated on the scale should
correlate to a specific percent lACS value if
the system has been properly set up.
Some meter-based devices (Figure 6.13)
Figure 6.13: A qualitative analog meter response showing
that might be used for simple discontinuity
only percent of fu ll scale
detection do not give the opera tor a
numerical value other than a percent of full
scale. A given crack could generate either a
small amplitude voltage at a low ga in
setting or a larger amplitude response at a
higher ga in setting. This would be a
qual itative type response. These systems are
not used for d iscontinuity sizing.
An qualitative meter response could be
used in a test situation where a minimum
discontinuity amplitude response can be
accurately defined. 111is might be an EDM
notch of a spedfied depth in a ca libration
block. As long as the meter stays below the
preset voltage level from the selected

sl;!veral applications but thl;! most common wou ld be

for measuring conducti vity values.

been used. To display nonrecurrent or single events,

a Iliglt persistt1lce CRT would have been used.
Many modern digital cathode ray tube type
systems are available. Because analog CRTs are no
longer manufactured, those systems are being
replaced with other options. Digital systems
provide the additional flexibilit~, for the selection of
various color and contrast conditions (Figure 6.14).
This allows the operator a choice of color options
that can be established on the same system to
compensate for use in different lighting conditions.
Because the data are output to the screen in a digital
format varying persistence values can be selected by
defining the timing factor of a rolling data buffer or
memory. This selection process allows the operator
to choose how long the digital images created stay
on the screen for viewing.

Cathod e Ray Tubes

Cathode ray tubL'1i, or CRT type displays, play an
important role in the display of eddy current
infOlTntltion. In more recent times many eddy
current ~)'stems have become available with digital
representations of CRT type screens.
In the original ana log system there were three
main element'>: the electron gun. the deflection
plates and a fluorescent screen. The electron gun
would generate, focus and direct the electron beam
toward the face or screen of the CRT. The deflection
plates w('re situated between the electron gun and
the screen, arranged in two pairs, usually called
II01"iZOIt/n/ and vertiml or X and Y. The plane of one
pair would be perpendicular to the other pair.
The screen is the imaging portion of the CRT. The
screen consists of a coating or coatings tha t produce
photochemical reactions when struck by the
electron beam. The photochemical action appears in
two sta,(;cs . Fluorescellce occurs as the electron beam
strikes the screen. Phosphorescellce is the chemical
process that allows the screen to continue to give off
light after the electron beam has been removed or
has passed over a section of the screen. All analog
CRT screen materials possess both fluorescence and
The duration of the photochemical effect is called
persistellce. Persistence can be grouped as either low,
medium or high persistence. To display repetitive
signals, a low or medil/m persisfellCt! CRT may have

Da ta recorders might be required to meet the
inspection criteria. Recording is sometimes
accomplished on analog paper strip charts or on
magnetic tape formats. With most modern
equipment providing recording capability some
form of digital media would be used. The data
could be stored internally in some test systems, but
more often than not the data are exported to an
external storage device. Most of these digita l
recording media can retain the files created for
offl ine analysis and long term historical use. Early
d igital systems were write ollce - read mallY devices.
The more recent recording med ia can be erased and
The advantage of digital systems is that all of the
raw data created by a muItifrequency test system
can be viewed in multiple display formats at the
same time. Tubing exam d" ta are often reviewed
using both the X-Y and strip chart modes to
optimize d iscontinuity ddechon and sizing. The
strip chart format is often used where the
discontinuity's location down the length of a rod or
tube is critical. The strip chart length is indexed to
time or distance and signal response deviation from
the baseline ind icates various materia l condi tions.
The ampl itude of the X-Y lissajous response in
Figure 6.15 (6.66 V) is an indicator o f the volume of
the d iscontinuity. The p hase angle with respect to
the X axis (114 degrees) represents discontinuity
depth (in this case, 41%) and d iscontinuity origin
(tube outside diameter), indicating whether the
discontinuity originated on the inside or outside
surface of the tube (13).
Many computer-based systems have multiple
display modes available for the same raw data set.

Figure 6.14: Num erical readouts/digital

conductivity tester

I 31.71 I

... . . . CaoJ::lIUIIY IN xIACS .




One way of displaying the data are in a top or plan

view of the specimen. These are commonly called
C-scans. This is sometimes a composite view of
repetitive mechanized scans of a coil over a large
area in multiple passes. Each time the coil travels
over the surface of the part the coil is offset by
about 0.5 coil diameters to ensure 100% coverage of
critical areas. This same type of information can also
be generated by scanning an array of coils over a
region of the test specimen in one pass.
These digital images can be colorized to indicate
specific conditions. They can also be processed to
create a three-d imensional view that can be rotated
in multiple dimensions or planes.

electronic components and connectors that are

linked to a remote computer via a local area
network (LAN) cable. The computer itself handles
data display and processing functio ns as well as
adjusting tester operating parameters, such as
frequen cy, gain, probe drive voltage and mode of
operation, etc. Figure 6.16 shows a multimode
output responses of a rotating pancake coil
inspection in a bolt hole application. The same crack
response can be seen in all four display formats.

Test Object Handling Equipment

Test object handling equipment is often a
necessary component of an online test system (4).
Bars and tubes can be fed through encircling coils
by means of roller feed assemblies. Consistent
centering of the material is essential. The stock
being fed through the coil(s) is usually transported
at a constant speed. The transport speed needs to be
adjusted to allow adequate time for testing an d for
the reject, cutting or marking systems to perform
their tasks. Should product centering or speed

Most eddy current testers use an integral visual
output device of some sort. Advanced eddy current
testers may include such options as an eddy current
card that extends the functionality of a standard PC
with eddy current testing capability. Field hardened
eddy current testing systems may just be a box of

Figure 6.15: Computerized system response - heat exchanger tubing exam





change during the examination system performance

cou Id be limited.
Automatic sorting devices are very common in
online inspection systems used in a manufacturing
t!nvironment. When a volumetric test is requi red for
heat treatment or hardness verification the probe
assembly may interrogate the entire test specimen
(or some criti cal region of the specimen) in one vit?1v.
For Small speci mens like ball bearings this could
take just fractions of a second per sample. In larger
~pecimens the volumetric test may take a few
!>eConds per sample.
When crack detection is required the part is
normally rotated with one or more coils positioned
near the surface of the specimen. This type of
inspection ensures 100% inspection of critica l areas
in one test. The eddy current technique can often
demon.<;trate much higher discontinuity sensitivity
and more rapid economica l testing for surface
discontinuities in parl'> than any of the other
nondestructive testing processes.
1 unacceptable material cond itions were
encountered at any inspection station the part

would be dropped into a reject bin. A digital

counter and / or remote sensors can be used to track
the number of reject<; and to alert the plant staff of
potential problems in the manufacturing process.

Probe Delivery Systems

In.<;tead of moving the p<lrt through an inspection
station there are Sit1.1ations where a motorized probe
delivery system is used. These <lre normally
employed outside of the manufacturing
environment to perform ill Sitll inspections on
existing materials. The term spinning probes
Originally comes from the pipe manufacturing
Tht! coil is typically a fairly small, Specialized coil
to improve detection potential fo r small cracks. A
probe was rotated around the circumference of a
tube or bar. The tested materia l was moved past the
inspection point at a controlled ra te of speed. The
probe rotational speeds would have been set to be
compatible with instrumen t response and
translation speeds to obtain the desired inspection
coverage and test sensitivity.

Figure 6.16: Multimode output responses: rotating pancake coil inspection in a batt hole application. The
same crack response can be seen in all four display formats.


As technology has been

Figure 6.17: Multiple online eddy current test stations for detection of
improved it has been possible
unacceptable material conditions in a manufacturing plant
to create other types of
spinning probe possibilities.
1. Demag coil
There are now many situations
Hardness test stallon
~~~ ~;;;:'!:~~
\,here Spilming probes can be
used. High speed probe guOll
are used to perform bolt hole
inspections after the removal
of metal fasteners in aerospace
structures. Small motors can
also be used to perform a
motorized rotating p;;lncake
coil (MRPC) inspection from
the inside surface of thinwalled tubes. Multiple coils of
different designs can be used
at the same time to enhance
both discontinuity detection
and characterization.
In the case of large heat
exchangers, a probe
positioning device or robot
might be used to posi tion a
result.. arc monitored in real time for data quality
bobbin, array or MRPC type test probe on the
centerline of each tube to be inspected. Tubes to be
but the data are al50 recorded for tater analysis.
lfISpected are identified ;;lnd their coordinates are
Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) can <llso be
lauded into a databa~. Positive feedback is
looked at as Pi"lft of the array of technology lo
c;uppJj'd to compuleri:ted positioning system by
enhance eddy current systems in hostile
environments. These electromechanical devices can
encoders or digital pattern recognition routines.
-\ lthough these systems arc quite au tomated, visua l
be used to perform a wide array of nondestructive
\erification of the inspection is confirmed by an
testing tasks. This could include applica tions for
undenvater eddy current aTTay probe inspection of
inspector via u remote video system . As the probe is
inserted ;;lnd withdr;;lwn from each tube the test
welds in either piping or support structures for
offshore pl<ltforms.


Chapter 6
Review Questions

Signal preparation is usually accomplished

A. detectors.
B. samplers.
C. balance networks.
D. discriminators.


Most ed dy CllITent instruments have

-,-_ _ _ __ coil excitation.
A. square wave
13. triangulilI wave


Display requirements are based on:

A. test applications.
B. records requirement.
C. need for automatic control .
D. all of the above.


Amplitude gates provide a technique of

A. reject or <lcceptance limits.
B. instnunent response.
C. display ampUtude.
D. All of the above.


Alarms and light~ offer only:

A. qualitative information.
B. quantitative information.
C. reject information.
D. accept information.


The length of a strip chart presentation C<ln

A. discontinuity severity.
B. distance or time.
C. o,thogonality.
D. all of the above.

C. sine wave

O. sawtooth wave


Eddy current systems can be grouped by:

A. output characteristics.
6 . excitation mode.
C. phase ana lysis extent.
O. both A and B.

Q .6.4

A multifrcquency instrument that excites

the test coil with several frequencies
sequentially uses the _ _ __ _ _ _
A. multiplexing
8. time base
C. b roadband
D. cartesian

Q.6.10 A top view display of the test results from a

specimen can be referred to as:
A. an X-V display.
B. a C scan.
C. a crosshatch presentati on.
D. a sweep dL~pla y.

Reject limits should always be adjtL'>ted to:

A. one-half the screen height.
B. 5 volts.
C. ensure unacceptable components are
properly identified.
D. reduce operator training costs.


Chapter 7
Eddy Current Applications
A problem common to the chemica l and electric
power industries is the corrosion of heat exchanger
tubing. This tubing is installed in closed vessels in a
h igh density array. It is not lUlcommon for a nuclear
steOlm generator or main condenser to contain many
thousands of tubes. This high density and limited
access to the inspection Olrcas oft en precludes the
use of other nondestl1lctive testing methods. A
bobbin coil inspection provides a volu metric
inspection of the tube wall in a cost effective
Heat exchanger inspection systems and results
are described by Libby (8), Dodd, Sagar and Davis

Electromagnetic induction and the eddy current

principle can be affected in many different ways.
These effects may be grouped by discontinuity
detection, measurement of material properties,
dimensional measurements and other special
applications (4).
With the discontinuity, or the detection group, we
are concerned \vith locating cracks, corrosion,
erosion and mechanical damage. The m.aterial
properties group includes measurements of
conductivity, penncability, hardness, alloy sorting
OT chemical composition and degree of heat
Dimensional meas urements commonly made are
thickness, profilomctry, spacing or location and
coating or cladding thickness.
Special applications indude measurements of
temperature, flow metering of liquid metals, somc
\'ibrations and ilnisotropic conditions.
Regardless of the specific application, once the
test system has been properly calibrated there
should not be any fundamental changes made to it
du ring the testing process. If it has been determined
tha t the instrument has bcen set up incorrectly or is
not working as specified in the operationa 1
procedures being used, all material should be
retested since the last time the correct setup and
proper system operation was verified.

(1 2).

Phase angle and amplitude relationships are

usually established by using reference standards
with artificial d iscontinuities of known and
documented values. These d iscontinuities should
refl ect expected damage modes as close as possible.
III most thin-walled tubing cases the severity of
the discontinuity can be determined by analyzing
the eddy current sign<ll phase and/or amplitude.
The phase angle of small volume discontinuities
(cracks, p its) i" used to establish a phase-to-depth
calibration curve (Figure 7.2) and to verify the
originating surface (inside diameter or outside
diameter) of that discontinuity.
The signal amplitude is an indicator of
discontinuity volume. for volumetric tube wall loss
conditions such as wear and fretting, a
volts-to-depth calibration curve can be created
(Figure 7.3). When used properly, these curves \vill
provide a more accurate sizing process for
mechanically driven d iscontinuity mechanisms.

Discontinuity Det ection

The theoreticill response to d iscontinuities has
been discussed in previous chapters of this guide. In
thiS chapter, some actual examples are given to
enhance the understanding of the applied theory.

Figure 7.1: American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASM E) thin-walled tubing standard










The geometry of real discontinuities may differ

from reference standard discontinuities. This
difference produ ces interpretation errors as
discussed by Sagar (12). Placement of real
discontinuities near tube support members causing
a complex coil impedance change is also a source of
error. This, of course, is dependent on the si:.::e of the
discontinuity and its resultant eddy current signal
in relation to the tube support signal. This follows
the basic princip le of signal-tcrnoise ratio.
The signal-to-noise ratio can be improved at
tube-to-tube support intersections by the use of
multifrcq uenc), techniques (12, 11).
In lI1ultifreqllclIc!I app/imtiolls, an optimum (or
prime) frequency is chosen for response to
d iscontinuities within the tube walL A lower than
optimum or suppressioll frequency is chosen for

response to the tube support. The two signals are

processed through comparator circuits called mixers
where the tube support response is subtracted from
the tube wall response Signal, leaving only the
response to the tube wall discontinuity. (See Figu res
7.4 and 7.5.) Both channels mo."t be able to detcct
both the discontinuity and the noise source that is
being suppressed.
Another market sector that uses eddy current
testing extensively is the aerospace industry. Many
eddy current examinations are conducted on engine
and airframe structures.
A common problem with turbines is fatigue
cracking of the compressor blades or disks in the
root areas (13). Given the potential sa fety risks if
these components fa il, the inspection criteria
thre~holds are set to detect extremely small artifacts.
Special probe designs and
inspection techniques are
Figure 7.2: P hase-to-depth calibration curve
required to deal with the difficult
sample geometries and smail
1 1
discontinuity detection limits.
Prime frequency (fa)
Many other aircraft
80% ,---,Good phase spread
are designed to deal
')-.... 1
with cracking o r corrosion
proccsses that may not lead to
immediate catastrophic fai lu res
but that do need to be handled in
~ 40%
a timely manner. Portable
inspection devices are often used
to perform these tests. Careful
test system calibration using
appropriate procedures and
reference specimens is I\."quired
to maintain aircra ft fleet
The reference specimen and its
00 flaw plane
associated discontinuities are
very critical to the success of the
test. Often models are
Figure 7.3: Volts-to-depth calibration curve
constructed with artificial
discontinuities that are exact
duplicates of the item being
i i I
inspected. Field degraded
specimens arc also used to verify
test discontinuity sensitivity.
D.J. Hagemaier discussed low
freq uency eddy current
inspection of aircraft structures
~ 40%
for subsurface d iscontinuity
I- Idetection in an article published
in Materials Evaluation in 1982.
(14) A low frequency (100 Hz to
1000 Hz) technique can be used
to locate cracks in thick or
multiple Ii'lyer, bolted or ri veted






, ,







L-~' I
, ,


Figure 7.4: A multifrequency application without discontinuity

r'T" '~"T' T' '''0"''-'!-- 1

... ..,
. .

.. ... ...

. . .,
: :
. .:--: .

-;---:--~:- -<:---:

:- --;-.-~-

-~- . ---~~---:~--~

~---1- --r--r---l ..--t---r

.. ,---;

.. ., .. . ,
~-- !---:
., ,. -- -~--~-. .,
-; .. .':' -- ;... -!
i~ ~ ---


- - ~1"

_ __ - ;- - -

~ -- ' -


--;- . - .;'- - -.

.~ __ .~
:.. _~.
.. .
-.- , __

:---~ - --~---



. . .
,., .....
. .,----..,
,- -_.--,

-~- - - -

j:: :j: ::f:{- ~--~: F:F:r~-~~

Dimensional Measurements

:'~ -~, -_. .r -~-:-. --;-. --!.. -:-. -':'. -.!,


~. - - ~ - - -~

- +

~ - - - ~ - - .~ - -~ . . - ~



. ,j:::




The nominal response to a tube support plate at the prime

B: The nominal response to a tube support plate at the subtractor
A-B: The mixer channel residual response after support plate

Figure 7.5: A multifrequency application with discontinuity

;~t~-I'-""'":--------f--"l- "r

,! :











A,,,,,,,,, -- _--


;.. _;.___ L
.' ;,~-,-,-:r-..,:~~

- .. . ...

"" __ -:.>00
:__: :
-- .. i




'!Trr--" ,,--,--,' "_

.. _. c:-_.

.:., -- -r""
, '- ,~-";=':" "':: -- -! -"i' - - -:, --


. ... E. ... __ .~ __ ~ ..

~--- :J



i!: : : :


;,;.. -~; .. -~i

.. -;--

--:- .. ~. .. :--.;-


. .

... ~ ...~


i 1 : ; :


. , . ,
1--+'+-~ --' ~'


~~ ~ .

C1ircraft struchlres. Again, models are

constructed with artificial cracks and
their responses are compared to
responses in the actual test object. Most
of these examinations are performed
using single or multifrequency
sinusoidal alternating current processes.
Pu lsed eddy current systems, if
available, might also be used for crack
detection in thick structures.

",~... .,,-,~.


The response to a tube support plate with a discontinuity attha

prime frequency.
B: The response to a tube support plate with a discontinuity al the
subtractor frequency.
A-B: The mixer channel response to the discontinuity atter support plate


Dimensional measurements, such as

thickness, shape and position, or
proximity of one item to another, are
importClnt uses of the eddy current
Materials are often clad with other
materials to present a resistance to
chemicals or to provide 'w ear resistanct'.
Cladding or plating thickness then
becomes an important variable to the
serviceability of the unit (6).
For nonconductive coatings on
conductive bases, the probe-ta-specimen
spacing (6), or lift off technique can be
The case of conductive p la ting or
cladding on conducti ve bases requires
more refinement. The thickl1ess loci
respond in a complex manner on the
impedance plane (4). The loci for
multilayered objects with each layer
consisting of a material 'w ith a different
conductivity follow a spiral pattern. In
certain cases, two frequency or
multifrequency systems (6) are used to
stabilize results or minimize lift off
variations on the thickness
Figure 7.6 shows a single frequency
hardness tester output presentation.
The depth of case hardening can be
determined by measuring the nitride
case thickness in s tai.nless steel (11). The
nitride case thickness produces
magnetic permeability variations. The
thicker the nitride layer, the greater the
permeability. The coil's inductive
reactance increases with a permeability
increase. This variable is carefully
monitored and correlated to achlai
metallographic results.
Eddy current profilometry is
another common way to measure

The secondary standards are usually certified

accurate to within O.35% or l ~o of value,
whichever is less. Temperature is an important
variable when making conductivity measurement...
Most instruments and standards are certified at
20 e. Primary conductivity standards are
maintained at a constant temperature by oil bath

Figure 7.6: A single frequency hardness tester

output presentation

cur OR


.~ .

. ,,' -,.
10.. '

. :/ . .. ~J ../ ...

sy~tems .

: '. t... t"oIII"~

Primary standards are measured with precision

maxwell bridge type instruments. This circuit
design increases measurement accuracy and
minimizes frequency dependencc of the
measurement (12). The secondary standards used
for fie ld t(;'!;ter set up and calibration are often
required to have their listed values recertified on an
annual basis.

Hardness Measurements
dimen:;ions. One example i:; the measurement of the
inside diameter~ of tubes using a lift off technique
(11). For this measurement, several small pancake
coils are mounted radially in a coil form. The coil
form is inserted into the tube ilnd each coil':;
proximity to the tube wall is monitored. The
resultant output of each coil can provide detailed
information about the concentricity of the tube. This
is especially lL'iefu l when the amount of hlbe wall
deformation due to either manufacturing or
operational conditions may require corrective
An obvious problem encountered with this
technique is centering of the coil holder assembly.
The center of the coil holder must be near the center
of the tube. When inspecting for locali7.ed
dimension<ll changes, a long coil holder is effective
in main t<lining proper centering. Another function
of the long coil form is to keep the coils from
becoming tilted in the hlbi:!. This also requires
higher probe fill fa ctors than might normally be
used during other types of tube inspection.<;.

Hardness measurements can be performed on

both ferritic and nonferritic materials. Some
hardn~ mea..-;urcments are performed with a two
coil comparative process but this is not a strict
requirement. When using a two-coil system the
reference and test coils are both b<llanced \....ith
sample p<lrts of known hardness. As parts of
unknown hardness affect the test coil, the
instrument output (impedance) varies. The amount
of output variation depends on the degree of
imbalance created by the unknown test object
The detected signal variations can be correlated
to test object hardness. If an X Y type display were
to be used to display this hardness information, the
specimens exhibiting an acceptable hardness could
be adjusted to one region of the screen while those
specimens defined as U1tncceptt1ble, or unhardened,
could appear in a different region of the sen.'en.
Once this calibration process is completed a
highspeed automated system can be allowed to
make the measurements using an alarm gate

Conductivity Measurements
Alloy Sorting
Conducti vi ty is an important measured variable.
Alloy sorting can also be accomplished with a
two coil comparator bridge process but again it is
not a strict requirement. Other types of coil
arrangements may also provide useful inform<ltion.
The key element to kt.'Cp in nLind with alloy sorting
is that this is not the Sclme as m<lteriaJ identifica tion .
Two very different materials may provide the same
load to the coil. Alloy sorti ng using
electromagnetics must ~ verified with the
additional verification of the mechanical properties
of these ma terials.

In the aircra ft indu stry, aluminum is used

extenSively. Aluminum conductivity varies not only

with alloy but also with hardne~s and tensile
Eddy current instruments scaled in percent LACS
arc normally used to inspect for conductivity
variations. Secondary conductivity standards (12)
<He commonly used to check instrument calibration.
Common secondary conductivity standards range
from 8% lACS to about 100% lACS.

In addition, it is advisable to h ave more than one

reference specimen for backup in case of loss or
damage. In the case of steel parts, they should be
completely demagnetized to remove the effects of
residual magnetism on instrument readings. As in
most com parative tes ts, temperature of specimen
and test object should be the same or compensated.
Many o ther measurements can be made using
eddy curre nt techniques. The electromagnetic
technique produces so much information about a
material that its application is only limited by the
ability to decipher this information (13). With the
right equipment, probes, techniques and training,
the experienced operator should be capable of
making the required distinctions between relevant
and nonrelevant indications.

In the inspection of nonferromagnetic alloys it is

easiest to separate one alloy or heat treat type from
another when there is a unique range of
conductivities associated with each material. This is
not always the case within families of alloys.
Different alloys and heat treats of the aluminu m
family may have the same conductivity value. This
could lead to misidentification of the materials
being inspected .
All comparative tests will be strongly influenced
by the selection of cor rect and accurate reference
specimens. Because most eddy current instruments
respond to a w ide range of variables, the reference
specimen parameters must be controlled carefully.
Test object and reference specime ns must be the
same or very similar in the following characteristics:
t. geometry,
2. heat treatment,
3. surface fin ish,
4. residual s tresses,
5. metallurgical structure.


Chapter 7
Review Questions

Conductivity, hardness and composition are

part of the


Subsurface discontinuities located in thick

or multilayered aircraft structures could be
detected by:
A. low frequency sinusoidal continuous
wave instruments.
13. high frequency sinusoidal continuous
wave instruments.
C. pulsed systems.
D. Aore


Response to multilayer varying

conductivity structures fo llow _ _ _ loci.
A. orthogonal
B. spiral
C. linear
D. stepped


Nitride case thickness variations can be

detected in stainJess steel cylinders by
A. conducti vity.
B. dimensions.
C. permeability.
O. none of the above.


Conductivity is not affected. by

A. True
B. False


A. discontinuity detection

6. material properties
C. dimensional

D. special


Using an inside diilmeter coil on tubing and

applying the ph<l5: / amplitude technique of
inspection, a signal appearing at 90 degrees
on a CRT ''''QuId be caused by:
A. inside diameter discontinuity.
B. outside diameter discontinuity.
C. a dent.

O. a bulge.

Q .7.3


Discontinuities in heat exchangers at rube

support locations are easier to detect
because the support plate concentrates the
electromagnetic field at that point.
A. True
B. False

Using multifrequency techniques on

installed heat exchanger tubing, a rube
support plate signal can be suppres.<;ed by

subtracting a
signal from the optimum frequency Signal.
A. low
B. high
C. AorB
D. None of the abOve.

Q.7.1 0 Residual stresses in the test part produce

such a small effect that they are usually
ignored when selecting reference
A. True
B. False

In the aircraft industry, a common problem

in gas turbine engines is:
A. corrosion.
S. fatigue cracking.
C. vibration damage.
D. erosion.


Chapter 8
Other Electromagnetic Techniques
Eddy current testing is just one of a group of
techniques that as a whole <lfe defined as the
electromagnetic testing method. The subdisciplines
or techniques listed within the method continue to
expand. Follow ing are the techniques that fall Wlder
this method at the time of publication:

subsurface discontinuity detection in ferromagnetic

alloys. Surface crack detection in ferromagnetic
materials, especially for weld inspection, is a very
viable eddy current process when the right
technology is applied . Eddy current is often more
sensitive and more cost effective than either
magnetic particle inspection or penetrant inspection
in this role.
Alternating current field m(.:'asurement, flux
leakage te<;ting and remote field testing are all
special elcctromagnetics testing techniques that, if
used properly, can provide useful nondcsmlCtive
testing information about ferromagne tic
components. The deciding factor of one over the
other is the type of material, part size or geometry
and the type and size of d iscontinuities that need to
be detected. There is no reason to believe that any of
these three techniques would show any significant
advantage over eddy current in the
nonferromagnetic world except for ma terial
thicknesses over 5.08 mm (O.2in.), where remote
field testing may be used to provide enhanced
sensitivity to outside diameter discontinuities.
Manufacturers and users will debate the various
capabilities of one of these techniques over another.
The following discussion will be made as generic as

Method : Electromagnetic Testing

alternating current field measurement
eddy current testing
flux leakage testing
remote field testing
The borders are sometimes a little gray between
one p rocess and another. These techniques have
been grouped in this fashion more on the basis of
their specifi c market area or specialized applications
in the field testing environment rather than on a
purely scientific basis. Electromagnctics is a very
broad term. It covers a wide range of energy levels,
sources and measurement tools. Some other
technologies that have been suggested to be
included in electromagnetic testing are:
microwave systems,
superconducting quantum interference devices,
magneto-optical inspection devices,
flux leakage testing~.

Alternating Current Field Measurement

"Now accepted a$ il $l<Jnd-alone method for tank floor, wire

rope, and down-hole pipe in~pcction work.

Primary application: Inspection of weldments

Power source: Alternating current

u'e ASNT Elech"omagnetics Committee, at the

time of this revision, h as selected the first four
techniques because they are currently available and
fairly well established to perform specific
nondestructive testing inspections ill the field. In this
chapter the generic differences beh-veen these
techniques will be explained.
Eddy current testing is most commonly used for
detection of surface or near surface discontinuities
in nonferromagnetic materials. In materials with
little or no permeability eddy current testing is
effective to about 5.08 mm (0.2 in.) below the test
surface. For material thicknesses of greater than
5.08 mm (0.2 in.) special probes and ! or electronics
packages are needed to improve the performance of
eddy current testing. Although there are
applications for eddy current tests on ferritic
materials, eddy current has no ability to provide

Advantages Compared to Magnetic Particle and

Dye Penetrant Inspection


Work..<; through nonconductive coatings [up to

10 mm (0.4 in.) thick] so there is no need to
remove and then reapply paint or to clean off
Provides information on depth as well as
length, saving time on removing discontinuities
of insignificant depth.
Relatively insensitive to material property
changes, 50 it is ideal for in specting at welds.
Relatively insensitive to p robe lift off, allowing
deployment through coatings and on rough

Allows depth sizing of d iscontinuities up to

about 25 mm (1 in.), depending on probe type.

Alternating current field measurement has its

origins in alternating current potential drop but
instead of using a contact type probe the curn.n! is
induced in the test specimen. The contact probes
prcviously used in alternating current potential
drop have been changed to (noncontact) magnetic
field sensitive coils. The models developed in
alternating current potcn ti<ll d rop for mapping
surface magnetic field s and electric currents ha vc
been utilized in alternating current field
The technique in its simplest form uses a
handheld probe containing a uniform field
induction system and two magnetic field sensors.
The induced alternating current is generated in
a limi ted region of the test specimen where the
alternating electric current is considered to be linear.
In this region a magnetic field is produced which is
also linear. Any disturbances in this region
produced by surface dLc;continuities will affect the
components of this linear magnetic field. Two or
more air wound coiL~ mounted with orthogonal
axes within a probe will detect these disturbances.
This is the foun dation of alternating current field
measurement w hich is d ifferent from eddy current
The alternating current field measurement
technique is being "u sed by inspection companies
and owners of fabrica ted components for weld
inspection in petrochem.ical process plants,
pharmaceutical plants, offshore wcll structures,
highway bridges and roller coasters. Originally
introduced to the offshore industry for subsea weld
inspectioll, the USE' of alternating current field
measurement has now broadened to include
inspection of pressure vessels, process piping and
drillpipc threads <lnd risers. Recent d evelopments
havc included automated and semiautomated
systems to reduce the reliance on operators and the
use of array technOlogy to increase inspection
Alternating current field measurement can be
used fo r the inspection of nonferromagnetic
materials but is less effective in this role. The
effective d epth of penetration in nonferritic
materials with alternati ng current field
measurement is dr<lDlatically reduced. This is in
sharp contrast to standard eddy current philosophy.
It should also be noted that volumetric
discontinuities, such as corrosion pitting or porosity,
give much weaker signals than planar
discontinuities, so it is not recommended that
alternating current field mea~urement be used in
this role.

Figure 8.1 shows the ba~ic principles of the

technique. With no discontinuity present and a
uniform current flmving in the Y direction, the
magnetic field is lmiform in the X direction
perpendicular to the current flow, while the other
components are O. The presence of a discontinuity
d iverlc; curren t away from the deepest parts and
concentrates it near the ends of a crack. The effect of
this is to produce strong peaks and troughs in Bz
above the ends of the crack, while Bx shows a broad
dip along the whole discontinuity with ampli tu de
rela ted to the depth.
Alternating current field measurement has been
developed from the alternating cu rrent potential
drop technique. Alternating current potential drop
uses cu rrent injection and contact potential drop
probes. This technique required extensive sUJface
p repa ration of the weld under examination. It could
be used to produce crack depth measurements.
Figure B.1: Alternating current field measurement
qualitative explanation of the magnetic forces
above a notch


." 0;


"'--T - Clockwise flow


gives Bz peak

flow gives
Bz trough
Current lines
close together

Bx :ak\

, m


Current lines
far apart gives
~ BxtrOUgh


+-- - --

magnetic flux component normal to eleck ~ field
and parallel to test surface
Bz '" magnetic flu x component normal to test surface
T :time or scan distance (retative scale)

Bx :


Flu x Leakage Testing

Figure 8.2: Equipment for magnelic flux leakage

testing of pipes and lubes: (a) pig tool ; and (b)
dala acquisition from pig sensors.

Primary App lication; Ferromagnetic Materia ls:

p ipe, p late, wire, oil fiel d lubulars and pipelines
Power Source: Permanent magnets or direct cu rrent
Flux leakage testing has been extensively used
in the pipe inspection industry. This entails the
introduction of a moving d irect current magnetic
field into a ferromagnetic test piece. Any localized
(normally surface breaking) discontinuities that lie
w ithin the inspection zone will cause the field to
l1el/d or leak and extend above the surface at that
point. These flux lines cut across a moving coil, or
other magnetic sensor, and are lIsed to detect this
direct current leakage fi eld.
In pipe inspection, flu x leakage testing is u sed
to look for corrosion pits and cracks. The locally
thinned area puts a hi gher magnetic flux
distriblltion in the space nearer to the flux detection
d evice. This relative increase in fiel d strength can be
measu red. Any d iscontinui ty with its major axis
pa rallel to the direction of the flux flowing in the
material has little ch ance of being detected using
Ihis method.
The pull speed of the flux leakage testing probe
must be maintained at a fa irly constant rate o r the
accuracy of the test is d ecreased even further.
Pipeline inspections are performed with what
art' called smart pigs (Figure 8.2). These devices can
simultaneously carry out multiple nondestructive
testing tests. The most common is flu x leakage
The most commonly used inservice inspection
tools utilize flu x leakage testing to detect internal or
external corrosion. The fl ux leakage testing
inspection pig uses a circumferential array o f
detectors positioned between the poles of strong
permanent ma gnets to magnetize the pipe wall to
nea r saturation flux density. Abnormalities in the
pipe wall, i>uch as corrosion pits, result in fl ux
leak.,ge testing near the pipe's surface. The leakage
flux may be detected by hall effect probes or
passive induction coils.
The demands now being placed on magnetjc
inspection tools are sh ifting from the mere
detection, IOc.ltion and classification of pipeline
discontinuities, to the accurate measurements of
discontinuity size and geometry. Modern, high
resolution fl u x leakage testing inspection tools are
capable of giving very detailed signals. However,
converting these signals to accu rate estimates of
size requires considerable expertise, as well as a
detailed unde rstanding of the effects of inspection
conditions and the magnetic behavior of the type of
steel used.


Pickup coils

Remote Field Testing

Remote fie ld testing shou ld not be looked at as
a typical eddy current test. There are papers and
other reference materials that include remote field
eddy current, however, to prevent confusion on the
range of appl ications and material test situations,
the attempt is being made to phase out that
terminology. Both American Society for Testing and
Materials (ASTM) and American Society of
Mechanical Engineers (ASME) have remote field
testing listed as a specific technique w ith in
electromagnetic testing.
For the purpose of generic discussion this book
will discuss remote field testing as it applies to
inspection of ferromagnetic tubing in various heat
Remote field testing is an electromagnetic test
that utilizes an alternating current excitation source.
This alternating current electromagnetic energy
travels along the tube wall for some distance in both
directions from an exciter coil. The distribution of
the primary field is dependent on the magnetic
properties of the tube, the tube wall thickness and
the p resence of surrounding support structures. The
transmitted field may be affected by d iscontinu ities
w ithin the tube wa ll or support structures on the


tube outside diameter. The changes in the strength

(amplitude) and phase shift or phase angle of the
received signal are measured a few tube diameters
away from the exciter coil.
Special hybrid (driver / pick up) coils are
necessary to perform remote field testing
inspections. Because of the need for a significant
spacing between the exciter coil(s) and the receiver
or pick up coils the probes tend to be longer that the
typical eddy current probe. Remote field testing
probe types are shown in Figure 8.3.
The high magnetic penneability of
ferromagnetic materials dramatically impacts
standard eddy current testing inspection techniques.
Some electromagnetic testing techniques attempt to
compensate for and/ or suppress the permeability
effects by the usc of strong magnets or direct
current driven satu ration coils. The remote field
testing process requires no magnetic saturation.
Instead it makes use of the natural tendency of
ferromagne tic materials to channel magnetic energy.
Like the keeper of a horseshoe magnet. the magnetic
lines of flux from the exciter coil take the path of
least reluctflllce. They will flow down the tube wall.
which acts as a wave guide, for a considerable
At distances in excess of two tube diameters
from the internal exciter coil, the flux field has
become homogenous and the passive receiver coils,
positioned two to three tube diameters away from
the exciter, receive practically all of their energy
from the flux in the tube wall. The direct field from
Figure 8.3: Remote field testing probe types

Standard probe - rigid

Double exciter


, f5li 'I


the exciter has been almost completely attenuated,

or absorbed by the tube walt and the external field is
actually stronger than the fi eld inside the tube.
Through transmission is a teon that is often used
to describe the remote field testing process. This
term normally implies that there is a source of
energy that transmits throllgll a medium. For
example fruough transmission, in both eddy current
and ultrasonic testing. implies that the power
source is on one side of the test product and the
receiver element is on the opposite side of the
material (through wall). In remote fiel d testing some
of the alternating current primary magnetic energy
does extend to the outside diameter of the tube. It
travels down the tube wall and eventually
propagates back through the tube to the tube inside
diameter. The concept of calling a remote field
testing test a through W(1l/ tech lliqlle may be hard to
visualize, but the energy path is actuaUy twice
through the wall; once Ollt at the exciter and then ill
at the detector. It is for this reason that short
discontinuities show hvo distinct signals when the
exciter and detector pass the discontinuity at
different moments in time. The short discontinuity
has interruptcd the through transmission path
In remote field testing inspt."Ction of tubing it is
probably marc accurate to look at the tube wall as a
conduit or wave guide. Magnetic fields are modeled
as closed loops. The following graphic shows the
magnetic flux lines traveling out from the exciter
coil (at 0 in Figure 8.5), mixing wi th incoming
exciter energy in a
transition zone (one to
hvo diameters) and
finally becoming
homogenous in the
remote field zone
(two to three
diameters) where the
detector should be
l ocated. The main

Flexible (smallbore)

Flexible (large-bore)

(Available for all
probe types)



i@ - W

From top to bottom: Larger diameter tubing with either Single or dual exciters, smaller
diameter tubing and boiler tubing.


concern is to
determine where
along the length of
the tube thc primary
magnetic flux lines
will reverse their
direction and start
their retum path back
to the driver coil. It is
at that point on the
tube inside diameter
that the remote field
testing pick up coils
should be placed.

The driver or exciter coil

Figure 8.4: Remote field testing energy di stribution
supplies a low frequency
alternating current magnetic field
which couples to the tube wall.
Electromagnetic induction occurs
h \'ice. In the near field or direct
coup/I'd LOne, eddy currents are
270 ~
created in the tube wall. These
actually decrease the efficiency of
the process. Eddy currents are
--also created through induction as
--- --1
the field flux lines cut across the
pickup coils on reentering the
tube inside diameter.
B}' making careful
measurements it is possible to
map the strength and d istribution
Tube Diameters from Exciter Coil
of the driver coil's flux density as
it travels down the tube wall. A
Inner wall phase
graph can be generated, such as
Outer diameter amplitude
Figure 8.4, using experimental
Inner diameter amplilude
data that shows there are three
distinct areas of interest.
In an attempt to define the variations in the
an area that is currently not considered to con tain
alternating current energy distributions that are
reliable data because the location of the transition
present in the tube wall the following terminology
zone changes with changes in wall thickness,
has been developed:
permeability and conductivity. In this zone there is
Near Field (direct coupled) Zone - (0-1.5 tube
a great deal of interaction between the flux of one
diameters from the d ri ver coil)
field that is diffusing outward from the exciter and
Transition Zone - (1 .5-2 tube diameters from the
the flux of the returning energy that is diffUSing
driver coil)
inward from the outside surface of the tube.
Remote Field Zone - (2-3 tube diameters from the
The total or resultant fi eld strength in this area
driver coil)
tends to be weaker because of the negative
interaction of fields with differing directional
Near Field Zone - Within the near fil::'ld zone
characteristics. When the two opposing fields meet,
the eddy currents generated in the tube w"ll by the
the result is a cancellation of some of their
alternating current driven exciter coil cre"te a
respective energy.
shieldillg effect of the exciter's flux . As eddy curTCnts
Remote Field Zone - The third definable region
propagate through the material's inner wall, an
sta rts to occur at about hvo tube diameters from the
opposing secondary magnetic fl ux is developed in
exciter coil. The detector coil's signal amplitude
the miJterial tha t attenuates the primary field
bottoms out at the base of the logarithmic curve and
strength and limits its extension.
starts a linear decay. Notice that the curves
LOgically, the near zone wou ld bc the area
(Figure8.4) describing signal amplitudes of the
where there is the greatest sensitivity to
inner and outer walls parallel each other and are
discontinuities because of the high concentration of
linear after peaking at maximum values.
magnetic flux. However, the field tends to be
Considering the rate of attenuation of the inner
wall field strength, the result is that in the area
concentrated near the iImer surface of the tube, next
to the exciter and this strong field tends to mask
where the remote field zone starts, the outer wall
field strength can be 10 to 100 times the strength of
any signals from the tube outside diameter, which
are much weaker. In remote field testing the pickup
the inner wall field .
coils are placed at some distance awa y from the
exciter coil in an effort to get ou tside the high
Phase - The phase change of the signals detected
internal field area of the nea r fi eld zonc.
at the pick up coil can be used to estimate the loss
of walL A thinner wall allo\vs the fl ux traversing the
\-vall to arrive at the detector sooner (similar to the
Transition Zone - The region just outside the
near field zone is known as the transition zone. It is
time of pigllt of ultrasonic testing signals).








Discontinuities of differing depths can be evaluated

accurately based on measured phase shift
information. In eddy current testing there is a well
defined difference in phase angle responses for
inside diameter and out<;ide diameter events;
however, in remote field testing data inside
diameter and outside diameter discontinuities of the
same depth will have about the $ame phase angle.

transfer down the length of the tube. Because of the

spacing between exciter and pick up coils this could
lead to decreased sensitivity at these locations.
Remote fi eld testing is capable of detecting both
small and large volume discontinuities in most
ferroma gnetic tubing found in a wide range of tubes
and pipes such as heat exchangers, boilers, piping
and pipelines. Some limitations do exist, for
example in fin fa n tubing found in <lir fin coolers.
The ba se tubing is carbon steel, however, to
im prove heat transfer rates, large diameter fin<; of
high conductivity metal (normally aluminum) are
installed on the tube outside diameter. The induced
energies in the fins themselves prevent the primary
magnetic field distribution along the outside
diameter surface of the tube which dramatically
limits the remote field testing inspection process.
ASTM E-2096 i<; a good reference document for
anyone considering remote field testing
applications. It references remote fiel d testing
technolOgy as well as personnel training criteria. It
providt.>s a guide to the types of min imum detection
capability that should be demonstrated by
inspection personnel \vhen they apply the proper
tools and techniques while performing remote field
testing examinations.

Amplitude (voltage) - The remote fie ld testing

system senses a decrease in wall thickness as a
stronger alternating current magnetic field cutting
across the pick up coil. This induces a stronger
voltage in the coil. Discontinuities of larger volume
increase the am plitude of the signal while sma ller
volume discontinuities produce small amplitude
signals, but the signal phase still represents the 'wall
loss at the discontinuity. Signal location (at or near a
support versus ill free span tube) goes a long way to
assisting in signal interpretation. The use of
specialized voltage dependent phase analysis
curves can also improve discontinuity resolution.
Because some of the primary magnetic field
ex tends out beyond the tube outside diameter, tube
support plates or baffles interfere with the magnetic
field distribu tion. Any metallic material on the tube
outside diameter will tend to block the energy


Chapter 8
Review Questions

Which of the following electromagnetic

testing techniques does not usc an


The most common electromagnetic testing

technique used to loca te corrosion thinning
in large d iameter cross country piping
systems would be:
A. alternating current field measurement.
B. eddy current testing.
C. flux leakage testing.
D. remote field testing.


Considering the full range of typical probe

designs currently in use, in which of the
following electromagnetic testing
techniques could the term passive receivers
be used?
A. alternating current fi eld measurement
B. eddy current testing
C. flu x leakage testing
D. remote field testing
E. All of the above.


The region of intense electromagnetic

interaction at the interface between an
alternating current coil's outside diameter
surface and a tube wall's inside diameter
surface is called the:
A. d irect couple zone.
B. fresnel zone.
C. near field zone.
D . Both A and C.
E. None of the above.


The operating frequencies that are selected to

perfoml remote Held te!>ting inspections are:
A. usually higher than thoS used in
conventiona l eddy current tests.
B. usually lower than those uSd in
conventional eddy current tests.
C. identical to those used in conventional
eddy current tests.
D. about one half of those used in
conventional ed dy current tests.

alternating current coil excitution process?

A. alternating (\lTrent field measurement

B. eddy current testing

flux leakage testing
D. remote field testing



Which of the following electromagnetic

testing techniques ShOll Id provide the best
discontinuity depth and length sizing
capabi lity for cracks in ferromagnetic
A. alternating current fi eld measurement

B. eddy current testing

C. flux leakage testing

O. remote field testing


Which of the following techniques should

perform best in nonferromagnetic
A. alternating current field measurement

B. eddy current testing

C. flux leakage testing
D. remote field testing


A generally accepted definition oi remote

field testing is:
A. electromagnetic testing done at remote
B. the electromagnetic field which has
been transmitted through the test object
and is observable beyond the direct
coupling o f the exciter.
C. through transmission eddy currents,
detected. on the far side of a material or
object under test by a remote receiver
D. the opposite of direct field.
When a nonferromagnetic tube is inspected
w ith a self-comparison differential
encircling coil arrangement a nondetection
could occur when a discontinuity is:

Q.8.10 The amplitude or voltage of the detected

response from a discontinu ity is most often
rel ated to:
A. the width of the d iscontinuity.
B. the location of the discontinuity.
C. the depth of the discontinuity.
D. the volume of the discontinuity.

A. filled , .... ith water.

B. deep but very narrow.
C. long " 'ith slowly v"'ying depth.
D. short and wide.

Chapter 9
Eddy Current Procedures, Standards
and Specifications
Procedures, specifications and standards are
produced to provide a means of controlling product
or service quality. Written instructions that guide a
company or individual to a de5ired end result and
are acceptable to industry, are the basis of
procedures, specifications and standards.
Many publica tions are available to guide or
instruct us. Some of the most frequently u sed
references are the American Society for Testing and
\Iatcnals (ASTh1), American Society o f Mechanical
Engineers (ASME), American National Standards
Institute (ANSI) and Military Standards
('.1lL -STD-)()()()().
These publications arc labariou!>])' p roduced by
committees made up o f scien tific and technical
people. Usually after a committee produces a draft
document, it is submitted to industry and the
scientific community for comment and subsequent
In certain cases, standards combine to assist
each other. As an example, ASME Section V Article
8 - Appendix IV uses ASTM 1316 to provide
Sta ndard Terminology for Nondestructive Testillg . The
military standard, M1L-STD-1537C Electrical

terms specific to the equipmen t or examination

covered by the standard. SiglIifica w:e alld Use is a
more detailed discussion of test TeSt1lt~ and
probable causes of indications expected during the
examination. The Basis of Application section
identifies items which are subject to contractual
agreement between the parties u sing or referencing
the standard such as persOlUlel qualification,
qualification of nondestructive testing agencies,
procedures and techniques, sUIface preparation,
timing of eXamination, extent of examination,
reporting criteria / acceptance criteria, reexamination
of repaired / reworked items. Apparatus describes
the general requirements for the inspection system
includ ing instrumentation, coils, position ing and
driving mechanisms. The fabrication requirements
for artificial discontinuity standards used for
standardization are discussed under reference
standards. A discussion of the reference specimen
and the geometrical requirements of the artificial
discontinuities in it is usually included.
Standardization provides instructions for adjustment
of the apparatus used for the examination. The
response to known discontinuities in the reference
standard is usually described in thi s section .
Detailed in structions to process the inspection
appears under procedure. These instructions may
include acceptance limits and the handling of
components that arc not acceptable.
ASTM publishes severa l standards pertaining to
the eddy current method. These standurds arc
numbered; for example, E 571-98 . "E 571" refers to
the standard and "98" refers to the vear of revision.
Some ASTM standards that pert;in to the eddy
current method are:
215 Standard Pmctice for Standardizing Equipment

Conductivity Test for Veri/icatiol! of Heat Trelltmf.'llt of

Alumillum Alloys, Eddy Current Method, references
_-\STM B193 Resistivity of Electrical COllductor
Jlla terials and ASTM E18 Rockwell Hard/less a/1d
Rockwell SIIpe1ficiai Hardness of Metallic Materials.

American Society for Testing and

American Society for Testing and Materials
(ASTM) standards (practices or guides) usually
include in the w ritten instructions headings such as
scope, referenced documents, terminology,
Significance and use, basis of application, apparatus,
reference standards, standardization, procedure and
keywords. Scope makes a general statement about
the document's applicability and intent. Referenced
Documents refers to other publications used as
references within the standard . The termillology
section usually may contain definitions of unique

for Electromagnetic Examination of Seamless

Aluminum-Alloy Tube
E 24,'J Standard Practice for Electromagnetic (EddyCurrent) E.mmillatiOIl of Copper and Copper-Alloy
E 426 Electromagnetic (Eddy-Cllrrel1t)Jesting of
Seamless mid Welded Tubulal" Products, Austenitic
Stainless Steel and Similar Alloys


American Society of Mechanical


E 571 Stal/dard Practice for Electromaglletic (EddyCllrrCllt) hamillation of Nickel and Nickel Alloy
Tubular Products
E 690 Standard Practice for III Situ Electromagnetic
(Edd y-Cllrrmt) Examination of Nonmagnetic Heat
ExcJ lUlJger Tubes
E 1316 Standard Terminology for Nondestrllctil'e Testing

In 1911 the American Society of Mechanical

Engineers (ASME) set up a committee to establish
rules o f safety for design, fabrication and inspection
of boilers and pressure vessels. These rules ha v('
become known throughout industry as the ASME
code. The ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel
Committee is a large group from industry and the
scientific community.
The Committee has many subcommittees,
subgroups and working groups. Each
subcommittee, subgroup and working group
combines as a unit for a specific area of interest. For
example, the Subcommittee on Pressure Vessels (SC
Vlll) has {'wo working groups and five s ubgroups
reporting to it. The purpose of these groups is to
interface with industry to keep pace with changing
requirements and needs of indus try and public
The ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code is
divided into 11 sections. ASME Section V,
NOlldestrnctive Examination, is divided into two
subsections, A and B. Subsection A deals with
Nondestructive MetllOds of Examination. Article 8 is

Military Standard
The United States Military uses the Military
Standard document to control testing and materials.
Standard procedures are provided by a series of
MIL-STO-XXXXX document<;. Special requirements
are speci fied by the Military Specification system.
For example, MIL-STD-1537C refers to Electrical

Conductivity Test for Verification of Heat Treatm ent of

AlumilIllm Alloys, Eddy Currellt Method. The
ClllibrntiOIl System RequiremCllts for MIL-STO-1537C
arc contained in Military Specification MIL-C-45662.
The MIL-SID usually conta ins several part<; and is
very descriptive. These parts normally include
Scope, Applicable Documents, Definitions, General
Reqlliremcllts, Detail Requirements and Notes. The
Scope contains a general statement o f applicability
and intent of the Standard. Applicable Docllments
pertains to other reference or controlling document<;
such as other MIL-SID, Military Specification or
ASTM publications. Definitioll contains precise
defi nitions of key words and p hrases used in the
Standard. Under General Requirements, equipment:,.
reference specimen an d personnel requiremen ts are
described in sufficient detail to implement the
Standard. Included in this part is instrument
sensitivity and response, test object variables,
reference specimen requirements and personnel
qualification nO'quirements. Detail Requirements
describes the specific procedure to implement the
Standard. Notes contains pertinent statements about
the process and guidelines fo r reporting results.

Eddy Current Examinatioll of Tubular Products.

Subsection B is Documents Adopted by Section V.
Eddy current standards are described in Article
26. In this case, the ASTM E215 document has been
adopted by ASME and reassigned the designation
ASTvfE Section V, Article 8, Appendix I gives
detailed p rocedrne requirements for Eddy Cumnt

Examination Method for Installed NOllferromngnetic

Heat Exchnnger Tubing. A procedure designed to
meet this requirement can be illustrated by the
fo llowing example, Docu men t QA 3.


Procedure No. QA 3




This procedure describes the equipment and methods as well as the personnel qualifications to be utilized
for the performance of the eddy current examination of steam generator tubes. It meets the requirements
of the NRC Regulatory Guide 1.83, ASME Section XI , Appendix IV and ASM E Section V, Article 8 of the
ASME Boiler and Pressure Vesse l Code.

The scope of the examination to be performed is contained in the eddy current inspection program
document applicable to the specific plant to be inspected.

Plant Condition

The plant must be shut down with the primary system drained. The steam generators shall be open on the
primary side for access to the channel head and the shell cool down sequence shall be complete . Air
movers shall be attached to circu late air through the generator to dry the tube sheet.


The examinations shall be performed utilizing an XXXXIXX multifrequency eddy current instrument with
bobbin coil probes designed for testing from the inside of the tubes. The inspection performance shall be
monitored by the use of a phase sensitive vector display and recorded for later evaluation.

Equipment utilized shall be :


XXXX/XX eddy current instru ment.

Bobbin coil probes capab le of operation in the differential and absolute modes.
Digital recording device(s).
Communications system .
Reference standard
The reference standard shall be manufactured from a length of tubing of the same size and
type of material that is to be examined in the vessel. The standard shall contain 6 intentional
discontinuity areas as follows :
aa. 100% through the wall drill hole (0.052 in. for 0.750 in. outside diameter tubing and
smaller, and 0.067 in. for larger tubing).
bb. Flat bottomed drill hole 5/64 in. diameter X 80% through from the outer tube wall surface .
cc. Flat bottomed drill hole 7/64 in. diameter X 60% through from the outer tube wall surface .
dd. Flat bottomed drill hole 3/16 in . X 40% diameter through from the outer tube wall surface.
ee. Four flat bottom holes, 3/16 in. diameter, spaced 90 degrees apart around the tube
Circumference, 20% through the tube wall.
fl. Circumferential groove 20% deep by 1/16 in. long by 360 degrees on the inside tube wall
gg. Circumferential groove 10% deep by 1/8 in. long by 360 degrees on the outer tube wal l
hh. Each standard shall be identified by a serial number etched on one end and be traceable
to the master standard stored at the facility.


Procedure No. QA 3



Probe positioning and feeding shall be accomplished remotely for inservice inspection. Baseline
inspection may be done manually.


Personnel communications devices shall be provided.

3. Personnel Qualifications
Personnel collecting data in accordance with this procedure shall be qualified to Level I or higher in
accordance with Document QA 101. Personnel interpreting data collected in accordance with procedure
shall be qualified to Level llA or higher in accordance with Document QA 101. Prior to receiving a
certification, the applicants shall have completed the program recommended by SNT-TC-1A (1984
edition) , Supplement E.

All personnel to be engaged in eddy current inspection programs at operating plants shall have
received instructions in and understand the radiation protection rules and guidelines in effect on the
plant site.

2. All personnel to be engaged in the test program shall wear protective clothing to the extent of the type
defined by the exclusion area work permit.

All personnel entering a radiation work area will have proven their ability to work in a face mask by
successfully passing the pulmonary function test during their annual physical.


No entries shall be made into the steam generator channel head without the presence of a qualified
health physics technician.


Ensure that nozzle covers (when applicable) are securely in place inside the vessel before
commencement of the eddy current inspection program.



Establ ish location of data acquisition control center.


Arrange power distribution at data acquisition control center.


Install communications system control box at the data acquisition control center.


Establish communication with one or more headsets at the steam generator.

e. Install XXXX/XX eddy current test instrument. pusher puller and fixture control boxes as the steam


Install remote digital data acquisition computers and recording devices at the data acquisition
contro l ce nter.

Eq uipment Calibration

Prior 10 the commencement of the eddy current examination of the steam generator tubes and
after the replacement of any component, the equipment shall be calibrated in accordance with the
following steps:


Procedure No. QA 3


Insert the reference bobbin coil probe into a reference standard .






Insert the test bobbin coil probe into a section of the reference standard, which is free of
Select the desired frequencies as per the Site Specific Data Acquisition Procedure.
Select the probe drive voltage and channel gain as per the Site Specific Data Acquisition
Procedu re.
Perform a hardware null.
Remotely pu ll the test probe through the reference standard at the speed selected for actual
testing in the heat exchanger. Data from the heat exchanger will also be acquired on the pull
unless noted.
Set the display sensitivity setting for each channel per the site specific calibration procedures.
Set the rotation (phase) val ue so that the probe motion signals in the discontinuity sensitive
differential channels are horizontal (as per the specific calibration procedure) with the first lobe
of the 100% through the wall dril l hole going down first as the probe is withd rawn from the
Set the rotation (phase) value so that the probe motion signals in the discontinu ity sensitive
absolute channels are horizontal (as per the specific calibration procedure) with the response
of the 100% through the wall drill hole going up as the probe is withdrawn from the reference
standard .
Complete the digital calibration summary form, update it with all pertinent information and
store this information to the selected digital storage device .

Tube Inspection General

(Refer to Site Specific Catibration Procedure QA 2)

Eddy current inspection activi1ies shall be performed with equipment sensitivities and speeds set
per the Site Specific Data Acquisition Procedure.


Visual verification of the identity of the specific tube being inspected shall be performed before
and after each fixture change and at the beginning and end of each row or column. Verification of
the positive identification of tube location shall be noted by a digitally recorded message.


Should the performance of the tube identity verification reveal an error has occurred in the
recording of probe location , all tubes examined because the previous verification of location shall
be reexamined .

d. The eq uipment calibration shall be verified and recorded at the beginn ing and end of each
calibration cycle. At a minimum, the calibration will be verified at 4 h intervals and after any
equipment change.


Should the equipment be found to be out of calibration, the equipment will be recalibrated as per
Section E2 of this procedure. The data interpreter will determine if it is necessary to reinspect any
of the tubes.

Tube Inspection Manual

a. The data recording shall be made during probe withdrawal. Withdrawal speed is 14 in. per second
maximum . No minimum speed specification is required, but a good uniform pull of 12 in. per
second is preferred.
b. Because no inspection is performed duri ng probe insertion, the speed may be as rapid as

Due to rad iation exposure probe pusher/pullers shou ld be used to facilitate the inspection .



Procedure No. QA 3
Tube Inspection Automatic Remote
NOTE: Ensure that all probe positioner, probe feeder and probe and communication connecting
cables are clear of access walkways and secured to available supports.



Install remotely operated probe feeder local to sleam generator.


Check the operation of the remotely operated eddy current positioner and connect the flexible
probe conduits to the probe guide tube and the probe pusher.


Install remotely operated probe positioner on the manway or the tube sheet of the steam
generator to provide coverage of the area to be examined.


Connect power and air supply lines to remote hardware as required.


Verify the correct operation and control of the remotely operated platform hardware.


Operate the pos itioner to locate the probe beneath the tube to be examined.


If probe insertion is to be done manually, utilize the probe pusher controls to feed the probe into
and up the tube to the desired height. Monitor the extent of insertion by reference to impedance
signals from known tube reference locations (tube end, top of tube sheet, supports) on the display


If operating in the Auto Acquire mode , verify that the proper landmark tables have been installed,
axial encoders are functioning properly and that the correct voltage thresholds have been
established for auto locate of supports and tube ends.


ff performing manually or automatically ensure that the tube alphanumeric identifier has been
properly updated. Monitor the withdrawal at the probe from the tube until the impedance Signal on
the screen indicates that the probe is clear of the tube sheet. Concurrent with the probe
withdrawal, visually monitor the signals on the display screen while recordi ng all data in real time.


Reposition the probe beneath the next tube selected for examination.


Repeat the procedures described in the preceding steps untif all the tubes selected for inspection
have been examined .




The data interpreter shall be certified to Level itA or IliA as per Procedure OA 101.


Data shall be collected with an eddy current test system with a current certification of calibration
as per CSP procedure.


The data collection system shall be calibrated with an approved reference standard that is
serialized and traceable to a master reference standard.


The identify of the plant site, the steam generator, the operators name and certification, the date ,
the test frequencies, the reference standard serial numbers, equ ipment serial numbers and
certification dates, software revisions and probes design and serial number shall be recorded at
the start of each calibration cycle.

e. The data collection station shall be set up and calibrated as per Procedure OA 3.


Procedure No. QA 3



a. The data interpreter shall:
Determine that all tubes selected for inspection have been tested.
Report tubes whose data are incomplete or uninterpretable.
Requ ire a retest of any tubes exhibiting excessive noise or unusual responses .
InselVice inspections
aa. Report all discontinuities> 19%.
bb. Report all other indications that appear to be relevant.
cc. Identify the axial position of all indications with respect to a known structural member.
v. PreselVice inspections
aa. Report all indications obselVed . Include the axial position of the indication with respect to
a known structural member.
i. All data shall be reported on a digital Final Report form.
ii. The conversion from signal phase angles (or amplitudes) to discontinuity depths shall be
accomplished per calibration curves established on the appropriate channe ls using the
calibration standards and techniques defined in the site specific data analysis specifications.
iii. All data shall be reviewed in its entirety.
IV. Any abnormal signals obselVed shall be reported.




The following documents or files are required for the performance of eddy current inspection programs
utilizing the methods described in this procedure.
1. Required Documentation

Eddy current inspection specific calibration procedure documents applicable to the plant to be

b. Inspection plans showing tube sheet maps marked to designate the extent of examination to be
perlormed and extent of completion.

Final Reports including all

i ndic~tions

resolved by the Data Resolution Analyst.


Chapter 9
Review Questions

A precise statement of a set of requirements

to be sltbfied by a material, product,


The prime artificia l discontinuity used to

calibrate the system described in QA 3 is:
A. 20% inside diameter.
8. 50% outside diameter.
C. 100%.
D. 50% inside diameter.


In QA 3, equipment calibration must be

verified at least:
every hour.
B. each day.
e. every 4 h.
D. every 8 h.


QA 3 specifies a maximum probe traverse

rate of:
A. 305 mml s (12 in ./ s ).
B. 355.6 mml s (14 in./s).
C 152.4 mm l s (6 in./s).
D . not speCified.

system or service is a:

A. standard.
B. specification.
C. procedure.
D. practice.

A statement that comprises one or more

terms with explanation is a:
A. practice.
B. classification .
C. definition.
D. proposaL


A general statement of applicability and

intent is usually presented in the
of a standard?
A summary
8. scope
C. significance

D. procedure
Q .9.10 The system in QA 3 is calibrated with an


Military Standards are designated by

A. True
B. False


In the structure of American Society of

Mechanical Engineers (ASME) the
subcommittee reports to the subgroup.
A. True
B. False


approved standard that is traceable to:

B. American Society of Mechanical
Engineers (ASME).
c. a master standard.
D. American Society for Testing and
Materials (ASTM).

Q.9.11 In accordance with QA 3, a tube whose data

are incomplete m ust be:

A. reinspected.
B. reported .
C. reevaluated.
D. removed from service.

In example QA 3, personnel interpreting

results must be:
A. Level J or higher.
B. Level II or higher.
C. Level IIA or higher.
D. Level III.



Answers to Review Questions

Numbers in parenthe:o;es indicate where an swers may be checked and verified . For the majority o f questions
1.1 through 9.5, numbers in parentheses are keyed to the references on page v of this Study Guide. For
questions 9.6 through 9.11, numbers in parentheses refer to the reprint procedure No. QA 3, starting on page
61 of this St udy Guide. Numbers m arked w ith asterisks indicate w here the answer can be found in this Study


(4, p. 19)
(4, p. 19)
(4, p. 20)
(4, p. 20)
(4, p. 23)
(13, p. 4 )
(4, p. 25)
(4, p. 26)
(4, p. 26)
(4, p. 45)

2.1 0











3 .9


p. 38.25)
p. 194)
p. 71)

p. 40.1 )
(4, p. 19.5 )
(6, p. 353 )
(4, p. 69)
(4, p. 210)
(4, p. 198)
(4, p. 211)

(4, p. 328)
(2, p. 36)
(4, p. 332)

(Chapter 3, p. 16)*
(2, p. 38)
(19, p. 78)
(4, p. 212)
(4, p. 195)
(4, p. 173)
(4, p. 211)

4 .1
4.1 0

6. 10







(2, p. 8)
(1 2, p. 95)
(9, p. 56)
(2, p. 13)
(19, p. 78)
(4, p. 171 )
(2, p. 26)
(5, p. 36.17)
(19, p. 88)
(4, p. 27)


(19, p. 79)
(5, p. 37.20)
(5, p. 36.13)
(5, p. 36.13)
(5, p. 36.13)
(4, p. 37)
(4, p. 37)
(19, p. 82)
(5, p. 37.20)
(12, p. 289)

8 .1
8 .2
8.1 0

(4, p. 60)
(4, p. 60)
(4, p. 64)
(12, p. 21 9)
(1, p. 276)
(4, p. 76)
(4, p. 76)

(Cha pter 6, p. 38)*

(12, p. 450)

(Chapter 6, p . 41 )*


9 .8
9 .9
9 .10
9 .11








(4, p. 270)
(13, p. 59)
(12, p. 282)
(12, p. 256)
(13, p. 47)
(12, p. 129)
(4, p. 51)
(11, p. 631)
(12, p. 121)
(19, p. 102)



211 )
p. 212)
p. 216)
p. 403)

(18, Part II, p. iii)

(18, Part II, p. iii)
(18, Part II, p. 288)
(15, p. 1)

(17, Section V, p. X)
(QA 3,
(DA 3,
(QA 3,
(QA 3,




9. Metals Halldbook, Properties mId Selection of

Materials, 8th ed. Metal~ Park, OH: American
Society for Metals. 1961.

Udpa, Satish S., technica l ed itor, Patrick O.

Moore, editor, NondestructizlC Testillg Handbook,
Third Edition: Volume 5, Electromagnetic Testing.
Columbus, OH: American Society for
Nondestructive Testing. 2004.

10. Cecco, V.s., G. Van Drunen, and EL. Sharp,

Eddy Current Tesfing, U.s. Edition . Colum bia,
MD: GP Courseware. 1987.

2. Cox, J.E. editor, ET-CT-6-5 Eddy Current Testing,

Classroom Training Book, General Dyn am ics
(Revised Edition). Harrisburg, NC: PH
Diversified. 1997.

11 . Nondestructive EvalllatiOIl in the Nuclear Illdustry

(1980). Metals Park, OH: American Society fo r
Metals. 1981.

3. Hagernaier, OJ, FUlldmflelltals of Eddy Current

Testillg. Colu mbus, OH : American Society for
Nondesbuctive Testing. t 990.



12. ASTM STP 722 Eddy Current Characterization of

Materials and Structures. Philadelphia, PA:
American Society for Testing and Ma terial~.

Libby. H .L., Introduction to Electromtlglletic

Nondestructive Test Methods. New York, NY: lohn
Wi ley & Sons, Inc. 1979.


13. Eddy Current Nondestructive Testing NBS Special

Publication 589. Washington, D .C.: National
Bureau of Standards. 1981.

McMaster, R.e., editor, Nondestructive Testing

Handbook. Columbus, OH : American Society fo r
Nondestructive Testing. 1959 .

14. Hagemaier, DJ, and A.P. Steinberg. " Low

Frequency Ed dy Cu rrent Inspection of Aircraft
Structure." Materials Evaluation, VoL 40, No.2,
Feb. 1982. Columbus, O H: American Society for
Nondestructive Testing. pp. 206--210.

McConnagle, W.J., Nondestructive Testing, 2d ed .

New York,. NY: Gordon and Breach Publishing
Company. 1975.

7. Sharpe, R.S., Resenrch Tec1miqlle5 in

Nondestructive Testing, Volume 1, New York, NY:
Academic Press. 1970.

15. Metals Handbook, 9th Edition, Vol. 17,

Nondestruc tive EvaluatiOIl and Quality Control.

Metals Park, OH: American SoCiety for Meta ls.

Harvey, O.E., ASNT Referellce Manual - Eddy

Currellt Testing Theory and Practice. Columbus,
O H: American Society fo r Nondestructive
Testing. 1995.

16. Sadek, Hussein, Electromagnetic Testing

Classroom Trainillg Book. Colu mbus, OH:
American Society for Nondestructive Testing.



Figure Sources
Chapter 1

Chapter 6


Figure ti.I - From Hugo L. l.ibby./lllrotluctif>l' fa tuum/wsn"';e

;\',mdt'JmIClj"e Te.<1 M ..tluxis. COP)'righl 1979. John Wi l~y &

I.I - A51\1
U - ASi'iT


Fi.!!ure 6.2~Fmm ASM Commiu.111 F.ddy c.:ummlln~pection. Eddy

C~nt In~~clion:' '\/('101.1 HwulbcoJ:. Vol. I I. 9th Ed ..
Iloward E. Royer. Editor. Aml!rican SotiCly far ~t.;lals.
1989. p. 176.
Figul"l' 63 - ASNT
I'i~ul"l' 6.4 - ASl'o'T
Figure 6.5_ASm
Figure 6.6 _ ul.lnc.
Figure 6.7 - Zclec.lnc.
Figure 6.8 ~ I'rom Hugt) I.. l.ibby.llllrot/m',iun 10 f;lutrurrwgn~lit:
Nond(,llruclir~ Test Mcrllods. copyright 1979. John Wiley &
Son, . Inc.
Fiur~ 6.9- From Hugo I .. Ubby.lrurotill,timl/C> t.{lf"OITUIgneric
,\'Ol/dCSIr/Kli"1e Te.I't Methods. copyright 1979. John Will!y &
Sons. Inc.
Figure 6.IO- ooec.lnc.
figure 6.II - From lIugo L. Uhhy.lmrotiuclifHl tfJ Iurromtl;,:nelic
Nondl'.rm.criw! TeJI M~lhndJ. ~vpyri~lu 1979. John Wiley &.
Sons. Inc.
Figul"l' 6.I2-AS!\"T
Figure 6.13-AS:\:"T
Figuro: 6.14 ~ Zc(cc. hK:.
Figure 6.1S-ZclC(:.lnc.
Figun' 6.16- Zclc(:. In.:.
Figure 6.17- Zelec.lnc.

Figure L..o;-AS~T
Figure 1.6-ASNT
figure 1.7 -From Hugo L. Libby. tll/rodut'li'", 10 F./U1romOl:nelic
NOlld"JlmClil"l' T.. " Methods. copyriSh! 1979. John Wiley &

Suns. Inc.
figun:: IJI-ASI\'T
figure 1.9_AS}.."T

Chapter 2
Figure 2.J - Zclcc . Inc.
Figure 2.2-Ze!cc . lnc.
Fisure 2J-L.efCC . Inc.
Figure 2.4-ASNT

Fij;urc 2.5-ASNT
fi,gurc 2.6-ASNT
Figure 1.7_ASNT

Chapter 3
Figure 3.I-ASl'oT
Figure 3.2-ASNT

Fiure 3.3-ASNT
Figure H-ASNT

3 _~-ASNT

Chapter 4
Fil/ure -4.I _ ASt\T

Chapter 7

Figure 4.2 - ASNT

Figure 43-ASNI
figure 4.4-AS:-lT

Figure 7.1 ~ ASm

Figure 7.2-ASm
Figure 7..3 - ASNT
Figure 7 .~ - Zclec. l nc.
Figure 7.3 - ZctlX".lnc.
Figure 7.6 - ulC'C. loc.

Chapter 5
Figure 5.I-ASN1"

figure S.2-ASNT
Figure 5.J_ ln'litul Dr.l'ocrslcr

5.4_ 1 n~lilul

Chapter 8
Figure !:I.I ~AS;"T
Figure 8.2 -AS~T
Figure 8.3 ~ Ru~11l\"DF.
Figure 8.4 ~ ASNT

Dr. Foerster




The American Society fOI'

Nondestructive Testing
1711 Arlingate Lane
Columbus, OH 43228-0518

Order #2257R