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Designation: E 1220 05

Standard Test Method for


Visible Penetrant Examination Using
Solvent-Removable Process1
This standard is issued under the fixed designation E 1220; the number immediately following the designation indicates the year of
original adoption or, in the case of revision, the year of last revision. A number in parentheses indicates the year of last reapproval. A
superscript epsilon (e) indicates an editorial change since the last revision or reapproval.

1. Scope 1.5 This standard does not purport to address all of the
1.1 This test method2 covers procedures for visible pen- safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the
etrant examination utilizing the solvent-removable process. It responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appro-
is a nondestructive testing method for detecting discontinuities priate safety and health practices and determine the applica-
that are open to the surface such as cracks, seams, laps, cold bility of regulatory limitations prior to use.
shuts, laminations, isolated porosity, through leaks, or lack of 2. Referenced Documents
fusion and is applicable to in-process, final, and maintenance
examination. It can be effectively used in the examination of 2.1 ASTM Standards: 3
nonporous, metallic materials, both ferrous and nonferrous, D 129 Test Method for Sulfur in Petroleum Products (Gen-
and of nonmetallic materials such as glazed or fully densified eral Bomb Method)
ceramics and certain nonporous plastics and glass. D 516 Test Methods for Sulfate Ion in Water
1.2 This test method also provides a reference: D 808 Test Method for Chlorine in New and Used Petro-
1.2.1 By which a visible penetrant examination method leum Products (Bomb Method)
using the solvent-removable process recommended or required D 1552 Test Method for Sulfur in Petroleum Products
by individual organizations can be reviewed to ascertain its (High-Temperature Method)
applicability and completeness. E 165 Test Method for Liquid Penetrant Examination
1.2.2 For use in the preparation of process specifications E 433 Reference Photographs for Liquid Penetrant Inspec-
dealing with the visible, solvent-removable liquid penetrant tion
examination of materials and parts. Agreement by the pur- E 543 Practice for Agencies Performing Nondestructive
chaser and the manufacturer regarding specific techniques is Testing
E 1316 Terminology for Nondestructive Examinations

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strongly recommended.
1.2.3 For use in the organization of the facilities and 2.2 ASNT Documents:
personnel concerned with the liquid penetrant examination. SNT-TC-1A Recommended Practice for Personnel Quali-
1.3 This test method does not indicate or suggest standards fication and Certification in Nondestructive Testing4
for evaluation of the indications obtained. It should be noted, ANSI/ASNT-CP-189 Standard for Qualification and Certi-
however, that after indications have been produced, they must fication of NDT Personnel4
be interpreted or classified and then evaluated. For this purpose 2.3 Military Standard:
there must be a separate code, specification, or a specific MIL-STD-410 Nondestructive Testing Personnel Qualifica-
agreement to define the type, size, location, and direction of tion and Certification5
indications considered acceptable, and those considered unac- 2.4 AIA Standard:
ceptable. NAS 410 Certification and Qualification of Nondestructive
1.4 All areas of this test method may be open to agreement Test Personnel6
between the cognizant engineering organization and the sup- 2.5 DoD Contracts-Unless otherwise specified, the issues
plier, or specific direction from the cognizant engineering of the documents that are DoD adopted are those listed in the
organization.
3
For referenced ASTM standards, visit the ASTM website, www.astm.org, or
contact ASTM Customer Service at service@astm.org. For Annual Book of ASTM
Standards volume information, refer to the standards Document Summary page on
1
This test method is under the jurisdiction of ASTM Committee E07 on the ASTM website.
4
Nondestructive Testing and is the direct responsibility of Subcommittee E07.03 on Available from The American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT), P.O.
Liquid Penetrant and Magnetic Particle Methods. Box 28518, 1711 Arlingate Lane, Columbus, OH 43228-0518.
5
Current edition approved January 1, 2005. Published January 2005. Originally Available from Standardization Documents Order Desk, Bldg. 4 Section D, 700
approved in 1987. Last previous edition approved in 1999 as E 1220 - 99. Robbins Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19111-5094, Attn: NPODS.
2 6
For ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code applications see related Test Available from the Aerospace Industries Association of America, Inc., 1250
Method SE-1220 in Section II of that Code. Eye Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20005.

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E 1220 05
issue of the DoDISS (Department of Defense Index of Speci- with solvent to remove the excess penetrant is prohibited.
fications and Standards) cited in the solicitation. Visible penetrant examination makes use of a penetrant that is
visible under normal lighting conditions. The penetrant is
2.6 Order of Precedence-In the event of conflict between usually red in color so that the indications produce a definite
the text of this test method and the references cited herein, the contrast with the white background of the developer. Visible
text of this test method takes precedence. penetrant indications must be viewed under adequate white
light (see 7.1.8.1).
6.3 Solvent Removers function by dissolving the penetrant,
3. Terminology making it possible to wipe the surface clean and free of residual
3.1 Definitionsdefinitions relating to liquid penetrant ex- penetrant as described in 7.1.5.
amination, which appear in Terminology E 1316, shall apply to 6.4 DevelopersDevelopment of penetrant indications is
the terms used in this test method. the process of bringing the penetrant out of open discontinui-
ties through blotting action of the applied developer, thus
4. Summary of Test Method increasing the visibility of the penetrant indications. Nonaque-

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4.1 A liquid penetrant is applied evenly over the surface ous, wet developers and aqueous developers are the most
being tested and allowed to enter open discontinuities. After a commonly used developers in the visible, solvent-removable
suitable dwell time, the excess surface penetrant is removed by penetrant process. Liquid film developers also are used for
wiping and the surface is dried. If an aqueous developer is to special applications.
be employed, the developer is applied prior to the drying step. 6.4.1 Nonaqueous, Wet Developers are normally supplied
A developer is then applied, drawing the entrapped penetrant as suspensions of developer particles in a volatile solvent
out of the discontinuity, staining the developer. The test surface carrier and are ready for use as supplied. They are applied to
is then examined visually to determine the presence or absence the surface by spraying after the excess penetrant has been
of indications. removed and the surface has dried. Nonaqueous, wet develop-
4.2 Processing parameters, such as precleaning, penetration ers form a white coating on the surface of the part when dried
time, etc., are determined by the specific materials used, the and serve as a contrasting background for visible penetrants
nature of the part under examination (that is, size, shape, (see 7.1.7.1(a)). (WarningThis type of developer is intended
surface condition, alloy), and type of discontinuities expected. for application by spray only.)
6.4.2 Aqueous Developers are normally supplied as dry
5. Significance and Use powder particles to be either suspended or dissolved (soluble)
5.1 Liquid penetrant examination methods indicate the pres- in water. The concentration, use and maintenance shall be in
ence, location, and, to a limited extent, the nature and magni- accordance with manufacturers recommendations (see
tude of the detected discontinuities. This test method is 7.1.7.1(b)).
intended primarily for portability and for localized areas of 6.4.3 Liquid Film Developers are solutions or colloidal
examination, utilizing minimal equipment. Surface roughness suspensions of resins/polymer in a suitable carrier. These
may be a limiting factor. If so, an alternate process, such as developers will form a transparent or translucent coating on the
water-wash visible or post-emulsified penetrant should be surface of the part. Certain types of film developer will fix
considered when grinding or machining is not practical. indications and may be stripped from the surface and retained
for record purposes (see 7.1.7.1(c)).
6. Reagents and Materials
7. Procedure
6.1 Visible, Solvent-Removable Liquid Penetrant Examina-
tion Materials, (see Note 1) consist of a family of applicable 7.1 The following general procedure applies to the solvent-
visible penetrant, solvent remover, as recommended by the removable, visible penetrant examination method (see Fig. 1).
manufacturer, and are classified as Type II Visible, Method 7.1.1 Temperature LimitsThe temperature of the penetrant
CSolvent-Removable. Intermixing of materials from various materials and the surface of the part to be processed should be
manufacturers is not recommended. (WarningWhile ap- from 40 to 125F [4 to 52C]. Where it is not practical to
proved penetrant materials will not adversely affect common comply with these temperature limitations, the procedure must
metallic materials, some plastics or rubber may be swollen or be qualified at the temperature of intended use as described in
stained by certain penetrants.) 9.2.
7.1.2 Surface Conditioning Prior to Penetrant Inspection
NOTE 1Refer to 8.1 for special requirements for sulfur, halogen, and Satisfactory results can usually be obtained on surfaces in the
alkali metal content. as-welded, as-rolled, as-cast, or as-forged conditions or for
6.2 Visible, Solvent-Removable Penetrants are designed so ceramic in the densified condition. When only loose surface
that excess surface penetrant can be removed by wiping with residuals are present, these may be removed by wiping the
dry, clean, lint-free material, and repeating the operation until surface with clean lint-free cloths. However, precleaning of
most of the penetrant has been removed. The remaining traces metals to remove processing residuals such as oil, graphite,
shall be removed by wiping the surface with clean, lint-free scale, insulating materials, coatings, and so forth, should be
material lightly moistened with the solvent remover. To mini- done using cleaning solvents, vapor degreasing or chemical
mize removal of penetrant from discontinuities, care should be removing processes. Surface conditioning by grinding, ma-
taken to avoid the use of excess solvent. Flushing the surface chining, polishing or etching shall follow shot, sand, grit and

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E 1220 05
Incoming Parts

Alkaline Steam Vapor Degrease Solvent Wash Acid Etch


PRECLEAN
(See 7.1.3.1)
Mechanical Paint Stripper Ultrasonic Detergent

DRY
(See 7.1.3.2) Dry

PENETRANT Apply Solvent


APPLICATION Removable,
(See 7.1.4) Visible
Penetrant

REMOVE Solvent
(See 7.1.5) Wipe-Off

DRY
(See 7.1.6) Dry

DEVELOP Nonaqueous
(See 7.1.7) Wet or Liquid
Aqueous
Film Developer
Developer

DRY
(See 7.1.6) Dry

EXAMINE
(See 7.1.8) Examine

Mechanical
Wash
Detergent
POST CLEAN
(See 7.1.10 and Practice
E165, Annex on Post
Cleaning) Dry

Vapor Degrease Solvent Soak Ultrasonic Clean

Outgoing Parts
FIG. 1 Solvent-Removable Visible Penetrant Examination General Procedure Flowsheet

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vapor blasting to remove the peened skin and when penetrant 7.1.3 Removal of Surface Contaminants:
entrapment in surface irregularities might mask the indications 7.1.3.1 PrecleaningThe success of any penetrant exami-
of unacceptable discontinuities or otherwise interfere with the nation procedure is greatly dependent upon the surface and
effectiveness of the examination. For metals, unless otherwise discontinuity being free of any contaminant that might interfere
specified, etching shall be performed when evidence exists that with the penetrant process. All parts or areas of parts to be
previous cleaning, surface treatments or service usage have inspected must be clean and dry before the penetrant is applied.
produced a surface condition that degrades the effectiveness of If only a section of a part, such as a weld, including the
the examination. (See Annex on Mechanical Cleaning and heat-affected zone is to be examined, all contaminants shall be
Surface Conditioning and Annex on Acid Etching in Test
removed from the area being examined as defined by the
Method E 165 for general precautions relative to surface
contracting parties. Clean is intended to mean that the
preparation.)
surface must be free of any rust, scale, welding flux, spatter,
NOTE 2When agreed between purchaser and supplier, grit blasting grease, paint, oily films, dirt, etc., that might interfere with
without subsequent etching may be an acceptable cleaning method. penetration. All of these contaminants can prevent the pen-
(WarningSand or shot blasting may possibly close indications and
etrant from entering discontinuities (see Annex on Cleaning of
extreme care should be used with grinding and machining operations.)
NOTE 3For structural or electronic ceramics, surface preparation by Parts and Materials in Test Method E 165 for more detailed
grinding, sand blasting and etching for penetrant examination is not cleaning methods). (WarningResidues from cleaning pro-
recommended because of the potential for damage. cesses, such as strong alkalies pickling solutions and chromates

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E 1220 05
in particular, may adversely react with the penetrant and reduce tion should be recommended by the penetrant manufacturer.
its sensitivity and performance.) Table 1, however, provides a guide for selection of penetrant
7.1.3.2 Drying After CleaningIt is essential that the area dwell times for a variety of materials, their form, and types of
to be examined be thoroughly dry after cleaning, since any discontinuity. Unless otherwise specified, the dwell time shall
liquid residue will hinder the entrance of the penetrant. Drying not exceed the maximum recommended by the manufacturer.
may be accomplished by warming the parts in drying ovens,
NOTE 4For some specific applications in structural ceramics (for
with infrared lamps, forced hot or cold air, or exposure to example, detecting parting lines in slip-cast material), the required
ambient temperature. penetrant dwell time should be determined experimentally and may be
7.1.4 Penetrant ApplicationAfter the area to be examined longer than that shown in Table 1 and its notes.
has been cleaned, dried, and is within the specified temperature
range, apply the penetrant to the surface to be inspected so that 7.1.5 Removal of Excess PenetrantAfter the required
the entire part or area under examination is completely covered penetration time, remove the excess penetrant insofar as
with penetrant. possible, by using wipes of a dry, clean, lint-free material,
7.1.4.1 Modes of ApplicationThere are various modes of repeating the operation until most traces of penetrant have been
effective application of penetrant such as immersion, brushing, removed. Then lightly moisten a lint-free material with re-
flooding, or spraying. Small parts are often placed in suitable mover solvent and gently wipe the remaining traces to avoid
baskets and dipped into a tank of penetrant. On larger parts, the removing penetrant from discontinuities, taking care to
and those with complex geometries, penetrant can be applied avoid the use of excess solvent. If over-removal is suspected
effectively by brushing or spraying. Both conventional and dry (see 7.1.6) and reclean the part, and reapply the penetrant
electrostatic spray guns are appropriate means of applying for the prescribed dwell time. Flushing the surface with solvent
liquid penetrants to the part surfaces. Electrostatic spray following the application of the penetrant and prior to devel-
application can eliminate excess liquid build-up of penetrant on oping is prohibited.
the surface, minimize overspray, and minimize the amount of 7.1.6 DryingFollowing the removal of excess surface
penetrant entering hollow-cored passages that could serve as penetrant by solvent wipe-off techniques, the part surface will
penetrant reservoirs causing severe bleedout problems during dry quickly by normal evaporation. Normally, no other drying

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examination. Aerosol sprays are also very effective and a techniques are necessary, so long as the processing temperature
convenient portable means of application. (WarningNot all range is within the specified temperature range.
penetrant materials are suitable for electrostatic spray applica- 7.1.7 Developer Application:
tions.) (WarningWith spray applications, it is important that 7.1.7.1 Modes of ApplicationThere are various modes of
there be proper ventilation. This is generally accomplished effective application of the various types of developers such as
through the use of a properly designed spray booth or exhaust immersing, flooding, or spraying. The size, configuration,
system, or both.) surface condition, number of parts to be processed, etc., will
7.1.4.2 Penetrant Dwell TimeAfter application, allow ex- influence the choice of developer application.
cess penetrant to drain from the part (care should be taken to (a) Nonaqueous, Wet DevelopersApply to the area
prevent pools of penetrant on the part), while allowing for being examined by spraying after the excess penetrant has been
proper penetrant dwell time (see Table 1). The length of time removed and the area has been dried. Spray areas so as to
the penetrant must remain on the part to allow proper penetra- assure complete coverage with a thin, even film of developer.
This type of developer carrier fluid evaporates very rapidly at
normal room temperature and does not require the use of a
TABLE 1 Recommended Minimum Dwell Times dryer. (WarningThe vapors from the evaporating, volatile
Dwell Times, solvent developer carrier may be hazardous. Proper ventilation
Type of (minutes)A
Material Form should be provided in all cases, but especially when the surface
Discontinuity Pene- Devel- to be examined is inside a closed volume, such as a process
trantB operC
drum or a small storage tank.) (WarningDipping or flooding
Aluminum, castings and cold shuts, porosity, 5 10
magnesium, steel, welds lack of fusion,
areas being examined with nonaqueous developers is prohib-
brass and bronze, cracks (all forms) ited, since it can flush (dissolve) the penetrant from within the
titanium and discontinuities through its solvent action.)
high-temperature
alloys (b) Aqueous DevelopersApply by spraying, flowing, or
wrought laps, cracks (all 10 10 immersing the area being examined prior to drying. Drain
materials forms) excess developer from the area to eliminate tendencies of
extrusions,
forgings, plate pooling of the developer, which can mask indications. Then dry
Carbide-tipped tools lack of fusion, 5 10 the developer using hot air blast, hot air recirculating oven,
porosity, cracks infrared heater, or by exposure to ambient temperature. The
Plastic all forms cracks 5 10
Glass all forms cracks 5 10 dried developer appears as a translucent or white coating on the
Ceramic all forms cracks, porosity 5 10 part. Prepare and maintain the aqueous developer in accor-
A
For temperature range from 60 to 125F [16 to 52C]. dance with the manufacturers instructions and apply in such a
B
Maximum penetrant dwell time 60 min in accordance with 7.1.4.2. manner as to assure complete, even coverage. (Warning
C
Development time begins as soon as wet developer coating has dried on
surface of parts (recommended minimum). Maximum development time in accor- Atomized spraying of aqueous developers is not recom-
dance with 7.1.7.2. mended, since a spotty film may result.)

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(c) Liquid Film DevelopersApply by spraying as recom- 8.1.2 Because volatile solvents leave the tested surface
mended by the manufacturer. Spray areas so as to ensure quickly without reaction under normal inspection procedures,
complete coverage with a thin, even film of developer. penetrant materials are normally subjected to an evaporation
7.1.7.2 Developing TimeThe length of time the developer procedure to remove the solvents before the materials are
is to remain on the area prior to examination should be not less analyzed for impurities. The residue from this procedure is
than 10 min. Developing time begins as soon as the wet then analyzed in accordance with Test Method D 129, Test
(aqueous and nonaqueous) developer coating is dry (that is, the Method D 1552, or Test Method D 129 decomposition fol-
solvent carrier has evaporated to dryness). The maximum lowed by Test Methods D 516, Method B (Turbidimetric
permitted developing times are 2 h for aqueous developers and Method) for sulfur. The residue may also be analyzed in
1 h for nonaqueous developers. accordance with Test Methods D 808 or E 165, Annex on
7.1.8 ExaminationPerform examination of parts after the Methods for Measuring Total Chlorine Content in Combustible
applicable development time as specified in 7.1.7.2 to allow for Liquid Penetrant Materials (for halogens other than fluorine)
proper bleedout of penetrant from discontinuities onto the and Test Method E 165, Annex on Method for Measuring Total
developer coating. It is good practice to observe the surface Fluorine Content in Combustible Liquid Penetrant Materials
while applying the developer as an aid in evaluating indica- (for fluorine). The Annex on Determination of Anions and
tions. Cations by Ion Chromatography in Test Method E 165 can be
7.1.8.1 Visible Light LevelVisible penetrant indications used as an alternate procedure. Alkali metals in the residue are
can be examined in either natural or artificial visible light. determined by flame photometry or atomic absorption spectro-
Adequate illumination is required to ensure no loss of the photometry.
sensitivity of the examination. A minimum light intensity at the NOTE 5Some current standards indicate that impurity levels of sulfur
examination site of 100 fc (1000 lux) is recommended. and halogens exceeding 1 % of any one suspect element may be
considered excessive. However, this high a level may be unacceptable in
7.1.8.2 HousekeepingKeep the examination area free of some cases, so the actual maximum acceptable impurity level must be
interfering debris. Practice good housekeeping at all times. decided between supplier and user on a case by case basis.
7.1.9 EvaluationUnless otherwise agreed upon, it is nor- 8.2 Elevated Temperature ExaminationWhere penetrant
mal practice to interpret and evaluate the discontinuity indica- examination is performed on parts that must be maintained at
tion based on the size of the stain created by the developers elevated temperature during examination, special materials and
absorption of the penetrant (see Reference Photographs E 433). processing techniques may be required. Such examination
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7.1.10 Post CleaningPost cleaning is necessary in those requires qualification in accordance with 9.2. Manufacturers
cases where residual penetrant or developer could interfere recommendations should be observed.
with subsequent processing or with service requirements. It is
particularly important where residual penetrant examination 9. Qualification and Requalification
materials might combine with other factors in service to 9.1 Personnel QualificationUnless otherwise specified by
produce corrosion. A suitable technique, such as a machine client/supplier agreement, all examination personnel shall be
wash, vapor degreasing, solvent soak, or ultrasonic cleaning qualified/certified in accordance with a written procedure
may be employed (see Test Method E 165, Annex on Post conforming to the latest edition of Recommended Practice
Cleaning). In the case of developers, it is recommended that if SNT-TC-1A, ANSI/ASNT-CP-189, NAS-410, or MIL-STD-
post cleaning is necessary, it be carried out as promptly as 410.
possible after examination so that it does not fix on the part. 9.2 Procedure QualificationQualification of procedure
(WarningDevelopers should be removed prior to vapor using conditions or times differing from those specified or for
degreasing. Vapor degreasing can bake developer on parts.) new materials may be performed by any of several methods
and should be agreed upon by the contracting parties. A test
8. Special Requirements piece containing one or more discontinuities of the smallest
relevant size is used. The test piece may contain real or
8.1 Impurities: simulated discontinuities, providing it displays the character-
8.1.1 When using penetrant materials on austenitic stainless istics of the discontinuities encountered in production exami-
steels, titanium, nickel-base or other high-temperature alloys, nations.
the need to restrict impurities such as sulfur, halogens, and 9.3 Nondestructive Testing Agency QualificationIf a
alkali metals must be considered. These impurities may cause nondestructive testing agency as described in Practice E 543 is
embrittlement or corrosion, particularly at elevated tempera- used to perform the examination, the agency shall meet the
tures. Any such evaluation should also include consideration of requirements of Practice E 543.
the form in which the impurities are present. Some penetrant 9.4 Requalification may be required when a change or
materials contain significant amounts of these impurities in the substitution is made in the type of penetrant materials or in the
form of volatile organic solvents. These normally evaporate procedure (see 9.2).
quickly and usually do not cause problems. Other materials
may contain impurities that are not volatile and may react with 10. Keywords
the part, particularly in the presence of moisture or elevated 10.1 nondestructive testing; penetrant testing; solvent-
temperatures. removable method; visible liquid

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