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r _ SECTION 3 LIQUID PENETRANT TESTING Noel A. Tracy, Universal lechnology Corporation, Dayton, Ohio 76 / NONDESTRUCTIVE TESTING OVERVIEW PART 1 DEFINITION AND PURPOSE OF LIQUID PENETRANT TESTING Liquid penetrant testing can be defined a a physical and chemital nondestructive testing procedure designed to dlotcct wl eapane surface connected discontinuities in non. porous engineering materials. The method relies on the physical infraction between an appropriately formulated Chemical liquid and the suaface oft par. Tis interaction causes the liquid to enter surface cavities and later to ‘emerge, visually indicating the location and approximate Sand spe ofthe surface opening Th sjeeere ua tid penetrant testing i to provide visual evidence of cracks, prot, laps, seams and other surface doconinuties rapidly and economically with a high degree of reliability, ‘With proper technique, penetrant testing wll detect a wide variety of discontinuities ranging in size from readily visible to mleroscopie. Liguid penetrant testing is popular because it is rela- tively easy to use and has'a wide range of applications. Rerauseituses physical and chemical propertioe rather than «lectrical or thermal phenomena, it can be used in the field, far from power sources. Test equipment can be as simple as a small, inexpensive kt of aerosl cane or as extensive as a large mechanized and automated installation. However, in all cases, the success of liquid penetrant testing depends on cleanliness of test surfaces. on absence af eantamination or surface conditions that can interfere with penetrant entry {nto and subsequent emergence from surface openings of Ascontinuites. and on care by inspectorsoperators to ‘ensure proper processing techniques and observation of test indications. Previous manufacturing processes also may inhibit detection of some types of discontinuities by liquid penetrants, For example, many seams and laps are forged Shut by the hot rolling or piercing processes that ereate these lngated scontnutes n addtional welding of the metal or trapping of heat treat products within the ‘pening can inhibit or prevent entry ofthe penetrant, make ‘ng penetran testing ineffective. "enetrant testing is also used for leak testing, The same basic fundamentals apply but the penetrant removal step ‘may be omitted. The container is either filled with pene- trant or the penetrant is applied to one side ofthe container swall. The developer is applied tothe opposite side, which is inspected after allowing time for the penetrant to seep through any leak points. This technique may be used on thin parts where there is access to both surfaces and where the | i i discontinuity is expected to extend through the material, It may be further enhanced by the application of pressre differential History Liquid penetrant testing is one of the oldest of modem sondesttve testing ets, Tas pesaps ft wed in the railroad maintenance shops in the late 1600s. Parts to be inspected would be immersed in used machine ol. After a stable ummersion time, the parts were withdraw from the cil andthe excess surface oil wiped off with rags or wadding. ‘The part surfaces would then be coated with powdered chalk or a mature of chalk suspended in alcohol {whiting}. il trapped in discontinuities would bleed out, causing a noticeable stain in the white chalk coating. This became known as the otl-and-whiting method. The oil and-vhiting method was replaced by magnetic However, industries using nonferromagnetic metas, espe- Gilly srt manufacture, neoded 4 more reliable tad sophisticated tool than used machine ol and chalk. In 1941, Aorescent dye materials weve added to penetrating oll sake a norescent penetrant material, Nonfluorescent col- cored penetrants, primarily red, were produced a litle later. Since then, a large number of penetrant materials have evolved: Developments in the basio chemistry of peneteants have led to surfactant- and water-base penetrants as well a, improved oil base formulations. New chemical additives | and new dyes also have contributed to the production of netrants having diferent levels of sensitivity, Materials for efficiently removing the excess curfacc penctrant and developers for enhancing the visualization ofa discontinity indication aso have evo. The divers behind conta dlavelopments probably are no different than for any other proc: demand for improvement inspection proces 2 ‘homics and environmental concer, Basic Penetrant Testing Process Basic principles ofthe penetrant testing process have not changed from the ol and-whiting days. These priniples ae LIQUID PENETRANT TESTING / 77 shown in Fig, 1. As the penetrant testing process evolved, 5. Visually examine surfaces for peneirant indications; additional steps were added. Presently, the process consists interpret and evaluate the indications. of si basic steps 6, Postclean the part to remove process residues if they 1. Preclean and dry the test surfaces of the object to be i Cleaning is a ertical pat of the penetrant process and is emphasized beealse of its effect on the Inspection results. Contaminants, sols or moisture, either inside a discontinuity or on the part surface the discontinuity opening, can reduce ‘or completely destray the effectiveness ofthe inspection, 2. Apply liquid penetrant to the test surfaces and permit. it to dwell on the pare surface fora period of tinwe to allow it to enter and fill ay discontinuities open to the surface 3, Remove excess penetrant from the test surfaces, Care must be exeretsed to prevent removal of penetrant contained in discontinuities. 4. Apply a developer, which si in dpswing any trapped ppenetrant from discontinuities and slightly spreading that penetra onthe sre to mprove he Dilly of indicatuns. The developer also provides a contrasting background on a part surface, especially for nonfluorescent indications. FIGURE 1. Basie penetrant process: (a) apply penetrant; (b} remove excess; (c) apply developer te) powcr vill be detrimental ro subsequent operations or the part intended function (In some eases, a treatment to prevent corrosion may be required.) Reasons for Selecting Liquid Penetrant Testing ‘Some ofthe reasons for choosing penetrant testing are as follows. 1. Ligud penetran testing can quickly examine all he ails surface of objects. Complex shapes ca be itnmersed or sprayed with penetrant to provide com plese ergo 2. Eiguid ponctrant tating can dotct vory eal surface distontinuties T's one ofthe most sensitive nonde- Structive testing methods for detecting surface discon- Tinton 5. Taguid penetrant testing canbe used ona wide variety fates ferrous and nonferrous metals an alloys fod ceranis and cormets, prude etal prod: glass and some pes of ogni materials, Restrictions Sn materials imposed by nature ofthe penetant feet ae ne sion ofan, belo 4 Ligud ponent esting canbe accomplished with atively inepensve, nonsophisticted equipment. If the are tobe inspected i small, the Inspection ean be ished with portable equipment 5. Liquid penetrant sting magnifies the apparent sizeof disontintes making the indications more vile. In ftliton, the aiseontinty location, orientation and approuinate size snd shape are indicated on the par, ‘tlkng interpretation and evaluation posse. Typical Tuoreeut penotant indications ae shown n Fg 2 6. Liguid penetrnt testing is realy adapted to volume precessng, permitng 10) pereent suffice inspection. Boal pr fay be placed is bsets for batch proces ing 5 sytem maybe partial or fly auto- tated to process many pats per our 1. The sensity ofa pctank testing proces may be adjusted through appropriate selection of penetant, removal method an typeof developer. Tit allows the enetant proces to beadaptd to haractensts(o8 Eompostion, surface condtion) ofthe part reuiing Inspection and to be talored to detect spelled mint thu allowable discontinue. Thos, eonsequental discontinutis ean be suppressed wil larger dscon- titties of more concent are indated. Figure 3 com- pes indeations of dental eras prod by two penetrant testing processes of diffrent senses. 78 / NONDESTRUCTIVE TESTING OVERVIEW Disadvantages and Limitations of Liquid Penetrant Testing 1, Renetran testing depends upon the ability of pene- rant enter anil isontintes Penta Gang wll ony reveal discontinuities open to the surface Surfaces of objct tobe spect must be clean and free of organie or inorganic contaminants that wll prevent interaction of the penetrating media with a Surface. Organte surface edatings, such as pat srease or resin, ae in thi category, Any contig that Covers or blocks the discontinuity opening wll pre= ‘ent peat entry ven when the contig ded not cover the opening, material atthe edge ofthe open ing may affect entry or est of penetrant and greatly redhce reliability of the tsspection, Coatings inthe vicinity of a discontinity wil also retain penotrant causing background indications. Cleaning test Sur. faoca ir dacosted in more deal Lulow 3. Its abo essential that the inside surface of discon rites be free of materials such as corrsion, co brstion products or othor contenant that would restrict entry of penetrant. Because itis impossible to heck inside discontinue, one must rs that pro esses selected to clean tot surfaces wl clean de Surfaces of dacontintios alse, FIGURE 2. Fluorescent penetrant indications of fatigue cracks in an intake manifold case 4. Mechanical operations, suchas shot peening. plastic media blasting (PMB), machining, Honing” srasive blasting, bung, brushing grinding o sanding wil smear or peen the mirface of tetas This mechesieal worlang eoses or reduces the surlace opening of exiting dont, echaniwrkng mee ingor peeing alo occurs during sence when parts are In eontat or rub together Penetant testing wl not reliably detect discontinuties when i is"por- formed after a mechinial operation or service we that smeas or peens the surface, In some eases chemical removal (etching) of smeared metal may restore inspection reliably. Ue i proces sewed, ene tet Ings npracial on porous materia suchas some (ypes of tnodoedalninu surfaces, other protec the coaligs sind purus nonmetal pars! Pene- teant rally enters pores ofthe tater and ‘becomes trapped. This can result in an overal back- ground fuoreacence ov tol Unt could ask any Poteatia discontinuity indeations. In addition, Femoval of the penetrant may not be possible afer the ampetion FIGURE 3. Cracked, brittle iron plated coupon showing results of inspection with two fluorescent penctrant processes of different sensitivities 6. Penetrants, emulsifiers and some types of developers have very good wetting and detergent. properties ‘They an act as solvents for fats and ois. They also can clean ferrous materials so thoroughly that rust will begin almost immediately if corrosion inhibitor is not applied. If allowed to remain in contact with human sla for extended periods, they may cause imitation Equipment Requirements Portable Equipment Peaetrant tasting can be performed on inaallad parte (eg, on areraft or in power plans) or on pars too large to te brought tothe inspection area Penetrent aerials are senile in gorosl prey cons and in small containers for trosh or wipe applictions Portable ts are salable for tse in stutions ‘where electro power is not avalable Becanse the process spied wih povtale his te lor intense, portable peneantaplicatons ae generally In ited to locelzed area or spot ingpections rather then entre part surfaces. I QUID PENETRANT TESTING / 79 Stationary Test Equipment ‘The type of equipment most frequently used in fixed intallations consists of a series of modular work stations Each station accommodates a specific task. The number of stations in a processing line varies with the penetrant method used. ypical stations are as follows: dip tanks for penetrant, emulsifier and developer; a number of drain or dwell areas; a wash area with lighting appropriate for the type of penetrant used: a drying oven; and an inspection booth. The drain or dwell stations ean be roller top benches to hold the parts during the processing eyele. The usual arrangement isto position a dran or dwell station folowing cach ofthe dip tanks, the wash station (if aqueous developer is not used) and the drying oven. Figure 4 illustrates typi- cad fhuoreseent penetrant esting system, Alternative sjs- tems have spray booths instead of tanks and overhead conveyers instead of roller top benches. ‘Small Parts Test Unit There are ingpeetion units designed for processing small pparts. The units are smaller than the stationary systems Aeseribed above, and some of the stations serve multiple purposes. In use, the parts are loaded into wire baskets that ‘rom ware stares a FORCE, FIGURE 4. Typical fluorescent penetrant stationary Inspection system 80 / NONDESTRUCTIVE TESTING OVERVIEW FIGURE 5. Automated aerospace penetrant spray processing and inspection system ll are then batch processed through each of the stations. The wash station may contain a water driven, rotary table with spray jets to supplement the hand held spray wand. Automated Test Systems ‘The penetrant testing process can be adapted for use vith patally and fully automated processing equipment Semiautomation may consis of «conveyor system for mov ing the parts through one or more ofthe processing stops, penetrant, emulsifier or remover, rinse water and developer re manually applied. Tn fly automated systems, all of the processing sep are mechanlelly performed wth litle or ho opersfor intervention Automated. equipment allows large numbers of pars tobe processed with minimum of personnel and time. Automated equipment also provides a Thore repeatable, though not necessarily more, sensitive, testing proces. One ype of automated equipment for inspection of large structural sireaft components i shown in Fig. 5. Although the penetrant application, washing and dying ee automatic, the tlivilet ght inspection and interpretation are man ally performed by an inspector. Personnel Requirements ‘The apparent simplicity of penetran testing is deceptive. Very slight process variations Guring the performance ofan inspection can invalidate the inspection by counteracting the formation of indications. Ie is essential that personnel per- forming penetrant testing be trained and experienced in the penetrant process Alindividuals who apply penetrant mate- rials or examine components for penetrant indications should be qualified. Qualification requires classroom and practical training, passing marks on examinations, and expe- rience. Typical qualification requirements are contained in ANSI/ASNT CP-189-1961, Standard for Qualification and Certification of Nondestructive Testing. Personnel: in EN 473, Qualification ond Certification of NDT Personnel — General Principles; and in ISO 9712, Nondestructive Testing = Qualification and Certfication'of Personnel. Another ‘widely used document intended asa guideline for employers to esash theron writen practice for the qualliction and certification oftheir nondestructive testing personnel s ASNT Recommended Practice No. SNT-TC-1A, published by the American Society for Nondestructive Testing. PART 2 QUID PENETRANT TESTING / 81 CLASSIFICATIONS OF PENETRANTS Classification of Penetrants by Dye Type Penetrants are generally classified by type according to the dye contained in the penetrant. The penetrant testing process relies on penetrant entering a diseaninutty and sub Sequently being draw back out and made easily visible on the surface of a part. The amount of penetrant material ‘ented i iexnuities is usally very stall 1 Ue d= continuity is to be detected, the very small amount of pene- ‘rant must be highly viable. In the oil-andovhiting days, was found that used or ity oll was anal wove viable than clean machine oi. Today chemists make penetrants visible by dissolving dyes in & penetrating oil or other vehicle Based on the dye, penetrants are classified as one of the three types deseribed below. Fluorescent Penetrant Fluorescent penetrants contain fluorescent dye that ‘emits yellowish green ight when exposed to ultraviolet or near ultraviolet light (with a wavelength of 320 to 400 nn) ‘This property is termed fluorescence. Very small quantities of fluorescent penetrant will emit highly visible indications ‘when exposed to ultrsviolet ight. Visible Penetrant Visible dye or color contrast penetrants contain a dye vis- ible under natural or white light. The visibility is further ‘enhanced during the penetrant process by the application of awhite developer. The white developer provides a high con- trast background for the colored penetrant when viewed under the appropriate light. Red dye is most common, although some blue dye is also used. Dual Mode (Both Visible and Fluorescent) Penetrant Dual mode penetrants contain dyes that are both col- on ee ae ei tee ee the ca of the visible color {usually snotty ana Secrets eta an aEy seal ley Classification of Penetrants by Removal Method A penetrant is further classified by the method used to emave it From the surfare of a part after i has heen on the art a specified amount of dwell time. The ts are ermulated and manufactured for specific removal methods designed to minimize removal of the penetrant that has seeped into a discontinity. Each removal method has advantages and disadvantages discussed below. ‘Water Washable Penetrant Many penetrants contain an cil hase insalihla in snd Ammiscible ith water This means thatthe excess penetrant ‘on a part cannot be removed with water. However, some penetrant are earefilly compounded mixtures ofan oil base and an emulsifier and others have water or a surfactant as & base rather than oil. Manufacturers provide these alterna- tive formulations in ready-to-use penetrants, which may be removed with water immediately aftr the penetrant dwell Depending upon requirements imposed by applicable pro- ‘cess specifications, removal may be accomplished by drect- ing acontrolied spray onto the par, by dipping and agitating the part in water or by wiping the part surface with a wet lintéee cloth (after wiping rst with a dry lintfree cloth). Postemulsifiable Penetrant ‘When used in the postemulsification process, penetrants can be formulated to optimize their penetrating and visibil- ity characteristics fr higher sensitivity. Because posters fiable penetrants do not contain any emulsifying agen, th are less likely to be removed from the discontinuity when the surface penetrant is being removed with water, Removal from a surace is accomplished by applying an emulsifier in «separate process step, normally by dipping the part into a tank of the emulsifier or spraying the emulsifier onto the rt, Depending on the type of emulsifier used, the emulsi- Kr ether converts the exces surface penetant nto a mix ture which forms an emulsion with the addition of water or acts directly with the penetrant to form an emulsion subse- quently removed with water. 82. / NONDESTRUCTIVE TESTING OVERVIEW A postemulsifiable penetrant usually can be used with any emulsifier, However, qualifying/approving agencies may ‘choose to qualify a penetrant/emulstier combination from the same manufacturer. The manufachirer may offer the same penetrant for use with different emulsifiers. A user could use any penetrant/emulsfier combination that met the approval ofa customer Solvent Removable Penetrant ‘The term solvent removable actually applies only to the zemoval process rather than the penetrant material since al penetrants can be removed with solvents. Iti list ac a {ype of penetrant because itis offen used in that context In ‘most applications the penetrants used in the solvent remov- able process are the postemulsiflable type: however water washable penetrants ean also be used. With this method excess penetrant is removed from a test surface by first wiping the surface with a clean, dry. lint- free cloth or paper towel. After most of the surface pene- ‘rant has been removed, the remainder is removed with another clean cloth slightly moistened with the solvent. ‘Because the solvent removable method is very labor inten. sive, itis normally used when it is necessary to inspect @ localized area of part ora ar atts inservice ste rather than sn an assembly line production environment. When pert applied, the solent removable method canbe one of the most sensitive penetrant testing methods available, Types of Emulsifiers Lipophite emulsifiers are hquid blends that combine wath ol based penetra to form a mire that ca be removed with aWwater spray. They are supplied ina ready-to- tse form Thee asin is based primay on duson and solubility into an oil base penetrant. Parts are_ generally dlipped into tanks of lipophilic emulsifier, withdravm and placed at a drain statin for x specified tne. The diffusion rate (emulsification time) will vary depending on the viscos- ity of the emulsifier and the physical action of drainof ‘Therofore, itis important to cour the emulsifeation time to prevent emulsification of penetrant in the discontinuity. ‘Hydrophilic emulsifiers, oten referred to as removers, are compoced of emulsifying agents disalved in water and are supplied in a concentrate form, They are dited with ‘water at concentrations of 5 to 30 peroent and used as an {immersion dip with mild air or mechanical agitation, ot w 4 forced water spray rinse at dilution ratios up to 5 percent. Prerinse with a water spray normally preceding the applica tion of hydrophilic emulsilere redtoes ponctrant contami- nation of the emulsifier, Hydrophilic’ means having an af for water ppl means having aft fr Fhyclinphile emulsifiers function through thor detergent and scraping or scrubbing (Kinetic) action. Diffusion does not take place in this mechanism of uction. The surface active agent in the remover helps displace penetrant from the surface and prevents redeposition. Removal of excess surface penetrant with hydrophilic eases in an immer sion or dip mode begins as the remover detaches the pene- trant from the surface. Mild agitation removes the displaced penetrant from tho part 2o that it cannot redepust, When a Spray is used, the impinging droplets of water have the same clfec a agitation ina tank. The hydrophilic emulsifier con. tact time is directly related tits concentration. This apples to bath immersion and spray pian The rope ‘emulsification process affords better control and, in addi- tion, allows for an effective and practical troetment and reoycling of the penetrant prerinse solution, thereby mini- ‘mizing waste water pollution, Solvent Removers Solvent removers have traditionally been petroleum base or chlorinated solvents. However, beeause the former i flammable and production of the latter was mandated to cease in December 1905, sn of detergent cleaners or water base solvents is increasing. Water tell can be used asa so. vent for water washable penetants. Often an emulsifier has enough solvency to function also as hand wipe remover, Types of Developers Developer increases the brightness intensity of fluores. ‘cent penetrant indications and the contrast of visible-pene- tuant indications, Developer also provides a blotting action, which serves to draw penetrant from within a discontimity {o the part surface until the thickness ofthe surface film of penetrant exuded from the dscontinity is increased toler= ‘ls above the threshold of visibility. Another developer func- tion is spreading the penetrant onthe surface, enlarging the appearance ofthe indication Dry powder developers are applied to dry part surfaces sr spesin, lcs spraying or pat meson 1 powder i ight and futty and clings to the part surfaces Jina in lim, In most cases, dry powler developers should ‘not be used with visible penetrant because they do not pro- duce a satisfactory contrast coating on the surface of the part, Electrostatic spraying is common in automated sys tems, For reasons of Iman salty. dry one dele shuld be handled with care, Like any other dust particle, it ‘can dry the skin and irritate the lining of breathing passages. Water soluble developers consist of a powder dissolved 4 water and applied by dipping a part m the solution, flow- ing the solution over a part or spraying the solution onto the part. As the partis dried, a thin layer of the powder remains fon the pat. Stationary inspection equipment usualy includes a tank module for aqueous developer. Complete coverage is easly obtained by dipping ars, However, pu Cling of tke developer in eves of complex pars must be trol so that all wer erapoates drt dying andthe Aveloper coating basa wor thickness Water spent developers ar sna to te water soluble type exept thatthe powder, whichis aslo n trate retains i suspension unt it preiiates onto the arts ie die. Aten stopenlbly deel reused i the same manner asthe aqueous soluble developers However suspendble developers rust be constantly gi tne ty hep the developer suspended: Removal of ned suspenile developers thay be move dit because they tre oot schble in water All aqucous developers necessary