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We use Non Destructive Testing (NDT) when we wish to assess the integrity of a structure without destroying it

Four common types of NDT methods used when assessing weldments are: i. Penetrant test

ii. Magnetic Particle testing iii. Ultrasonic Testing iv. Radiography testing


This module presents information on the NDT method of radiographic inspection Radiography uses penetrating radiation that is directed towards a component. The component stops some of the radiation. The
amount that is stopped or absorbed is affected by material density and thickness differences. These differences in absorption can be recorded on film, or electronically. Areas of Reduced thickness/lower density will absorb less radiation so appear as dark region on film and vice versa

Electromagnetic Radiation General Principles of
Radiography Sources of Radiation
Gamma Radiography X-ray Radiography

Radiation Safety Advantages and Limitations

Electromagnetic Radiation
The radiation used in Radiography testing is a higher energy (shorter wavelength) version of the electromagnetic waves that we see every day. Visible light is in the same family as xrays and gamma rays.

Characteristic Of EMR Spectrum

General Principles of Radiography

The part is placed between the radiation source and a piece of film. The part will stop some of the radiation. Thicker and more dense area will stop more of the radiation. The film darkness (density) will vary with the amount of radiation reaching the film through the test object. = less exposure

X-ray film

= more exposure
Top view of developed film

General Principles of Radiography

The energy of the radiation affects its penetrating power.
Higher energy radiation can penetrate thicker and more dense materials. The radiation energy and/or exposure time must be controlled to properly image the region of interest.
Thin Walled Area

Low Energy Radiation

High energy Radiation

Penetration Power

Material Steel/Copper High Nickel

Iridium 192 0.75 in 0.65 in

Cobalt 60 1.50 in 1.30 in


2.5 in

IDL 2001

Flaw Orientation
Radiography has sensitivity limitations when detecting cracks.
Optimum Angle

= easy to

= not easy to detect

X-rays see a crack as a thickness variation and the larger the variation, the easier the crack is to detect. When the path of the x-rays is not parallel to a crack, the thickness variation is less and the crack may not be visible.

IDL 2001

Flaw Orientation (cont.)

Since the angle between the radiation beam and a crack or other linear defect is so critical, the orientation of defect must be well known if radiography is going to be used to perform the inspection.




Radiation Sources
Two of the most commonly used sources of radiation in industrial radiography are x-ray generators and gamma ray sources. Industrial radiography is often subdivided into Xray Radiography or Gamma Radiography, depending on the source of radiation used.

Gamma Radiography
Gamma rays are produced by
a radioisotope. A radioisotope has an unstable nuclei that does not have enough binding energy to hold the nucleus together. The spontaneous breakdown of an atomic nucleus resulting in the release of energy and matter is known as radioactive decay.

Gamma Radiography (cont.)

Most of the radioactive

material used in industrial radiography is artificially produced. This is done by subjecting stable material to a source of neutrons in a special nuclear reactor. This process is called activation.

Activity or strength of radioactive source is

expressed in Curie(Ci) or Becquerel Becquerel: 1 disintegration per sec 3.7x10^10 or 37 giga becquerel= 1 Curie

Half life: time for source strength to

drop to of original value. Half-life of two widely used industrial isotopes are 75 days for Iridium-192, and 5.3 years for Cobalt-60

Half life Of Radioactive Source

where N0 is the initial quantity of the substance that will decay (this quantity may be measured in grams, moles, number of atoms,Curie etc. N(t) is the quantity that still remains and has not yet decayed after a time t, t1 / 2 is the half-life of the decaying quantity,, is a positive number called the decay constant of the decaying quantity.

Gamma Radiography (cont.)

Unlike X-rays, which are produced by a machine, gamma rays cannot be turned off. Radioisotopes used for gamma radiography are encapsulated to prevent leakage of the material.

The radioactive capsule is attached to a cable to form what is often called a pigtail. The pigtail has a special connector at the other end that attaches to a drive cable.

Gamma Radiography (cont.)

A device called a camera is used to store, transport and expose the pigtail containing the radioactive material. The camera contains shielding material which reduces the radiographers exposure to radiation during use.

Gamma Radiography (cont.)

A hose-like device called a guide tube is connected to a threaded hole called an exit port in the camera. The radioactive material will leave and return to the camera through this opening when performing an exposure!

Gamma Radiography (cont.)

A drive cable is connected to the other end of the camera. This cable, controlled by the radiographer, is used to force the radioactive material out into the guide tube where the gamma rays will pass through the specimen and expose the recording device.

X-ray Radiography
Unlike gamma rays, x-rays are produced by an X-ray generator system. These systems typically include an X-ray Vacuum Tube, a high voltage generator, and a control console.

X-ray Radiography (cont.)

X-rays are produced by establishing a very high voltage
between two electrodes, called the anode(Cu with Tungsten ) and cathode filament To prevent arcing, the anode and cathode are located inside a vacuum tube, which is protected by a metal housing.

X-ray Radiography (cont.)

The cathode contains a small
High Electrical Potential

filament much the same as in a light bulb. Current is passed through the filament which heats it. The heat causes electrons to be stripped off. The high voltage causes these free electrons to be pulled toward a target material (usually made of tungsten) located in the anode. The electrons impact against the target. This impact causes an energy exchange which causes xrays to be created.

Electrons + -

X-ray Generator or Radioactive Source Creates Radiation

Radiation Penetrate the Sample

Exposure Recording Device

Imaging Modalities
Several different imaging methods are available to display the final image in industrial radiography:

Film Radiography Real Time Radiography Computed Tomography (CT) Digital Radiography (DR) Computed Radiography (CR)

Film Radiography
One of the most widely used and
oldest imaging mediums in industrial radiography is radiographic film.

Film contains microscopic material

called silver bromide.

Once exposed to radiation and

developed in a darkroom, silver bromide turns to black metallic silver which forms the image.

Film Radiography (cont.)

Film must be protected from visible light. Light, just like
x-rays and gamma rays, can expose film. Film is loaded in a light proof cassette in a darkroom. This cassette is then placed on the specimen opposite the source of radiation. Film is often placed between screens to intensify radiation.

Film Radiography (cont.)

In order for the image to be viewed, the film must be
developed in a darkroom. The process is very similar to photographic film development. Film processing can either be performed manually in open tanks or in an automatic processor.

Image Quality
Image quality is critical for accurate assessment of a test specimens integrity. Various tools called Image Quality Indicators (IQIs) are used for this purpose. There are many different designs of IQIs. Some contain artificial
holes of varying size drilled in metal plaques while others are manufactured from wires of differing diameters mounted next to one another.

Image Quality (cont.)

IQIs are typically placed on or next to a test

Quality typically being determined based on

the smallest hole or wire diameter that is reproduced on the image.


Radiograph Interpretation
In addition to producing high quality radiographs one

should also be skilled in radiographic interpretation. Interpretation of radiographs takes place in three basic steps: (1) detection, (2) interpretation, and (3) evaluation. All of these steps make use of the radiographer's acuity. Visual acuity is the ability to resolve a spatial pattern in an image. The ability of an individual to detect discontinuities in radiography is also affected by the lighting condition in the place of viewing, and the experience level for recognizing various features in the image. The following material is to help develop an understanding of the types of defects found in weldments and how they appear in a radiograph.

Defects A flaw or flaws that by nature or accumulated effect render a part or product unable to meet minimum applicable acceptance standards or specifications. The term designates rejectability. Discontinuities

An interruption of the typical structure of a material, such as a lack of homogeneity in its mechanical, metallurgical, or physical characteristics. A discontinuity is not necessarily a defect

General Welding Discontinuities

The following discontinuities are typical of all types of welding.

Cold lap
is a condition where the weld filler metal does not properly fuse with the base metal or the previous weld pass material (interpass cold lap). The arc does not melt the base metal sufficiently and causes the slightly molten puddle to flow into the base material without bonding.

is the result of gas entrapment in the solidifying metal. Porosity can take many shapes on a radiograph but often appears as dark round or irregular spots or specks appearing singularly, in clusters, or in rows. Sometimes, porosity is elongated and may appear to have a tail. This is the result of gas attempting to escape while the metal is still in a liquid state and is called wormhole porosity. All porosity is a void in the material and it will have a higher radiographic density than the surrounding area.

Cluster porosity is caused when flux coated electrodes are contaminated withmoisture. The moisture turns into a gas when heated and becomes trapped in the weld during the welding process. Cluster porosity appear just like regular porosity in the radiograph but the indications will be grouped close together.

Slag inclusions
are nonmetallic solid material entrapped in weld metal or between weld and base metal. In a radiograph, dark, jagged asymmetrical shapes within the weld or along the weld joint areas are indicative of slag inclusions.

Incomplete penetration (IP) or lack of penetration (LOP)

occurs when the weld metal fails to penetrate the joint. It is one of the most objectionable weld discontinuities. Lack of penetration allows a natural stress riser from which a crack may propagate. The appearance on a radiograph is a dark area with well-defined, straight edges that follows the land or root face down the center of the weldment.

Incomplete fusion is a condition where the weld filler metal does not properly fuse with the base metal. Appearance on radiograph: usually appears as a dark line or lines oriented in the direction of the weld seam along the weld preparation or joining area.

Internal concavity or suck back is a condition where the weld metal has contracted as it cools and has been drawn up into the root of the weld. On a radiograph it looks similar to a lack of penetration but the line has irregular edges and it is often quite wide in the center of the weld image.

Internal or root undercut is an erosion of the base metal next to the root of the weld. In the radiographic image it appears as a dark irregular line offset from the centerline of the weldment. Undercutting is not as straight edged as LOP because it does not follow a ground edge.

External or crown undercut is an erosion of the base metal next to the crown of the weld. In the radiograph, it appears as a dark irregular line along the outside edge of the weld area.

Offset or mismatch are terms associated with a condition where two pieces being welded together are not properly aligned. The radiographic image shows a noticeable difference in density between the two pieces. The difference in density is caused by the difference in material thickness. The dark, straight line is caused by the failure of the weld metal to fuse with the land area.

Inadequate weld reinforcement is an area of a weld where the thickness of weld metal deposited is less than the thickness of the base material. It is very easy to determine by radiograph if the weld has inadequate reinforcement, because the image density in the area of suspected inadequacy will be higher (darker) than the image density of the surrounding base material.

Excess weld reinforcement

is an area of a weld that has weld metal added in excess of that specified by engineering drawings and codes. The appearance on a radiograph is a localized, lighter area in the weld. A visual inspection will easily determine if the weld reinforcement is in excess of that specified by the engineering requirements.


can be detected in a radiograph only when they are propagating in a direction that produces a change in thickness that is parallel to the x-ray beam. Cracks will appear as jagged and often very faint irregular lines. Cracks can sometimes appear as "tails" on inclusions or porosity.

Tungsten inclusions

Tungsten is a brittle and inherently dense material used in the electrode in tungsten inert gas welding. If improper welding procedures are used, tungsten may be entrapped in the weld. Radiographically, tungsten is more dense than aluminum or steel, therefore it shows up as a lighter area with a distinct outline on the radiograph.

results when too much heat causes excessive weld metal to penetrate the weld zone. Often lumps of metal sag through the weld, creating a thick globular condition on the back of the weld. These globs of metal are referred to as icicles. On a radiograph, burn-through appears as dark spots, which are often surrounded by light globular areas (icicles).

Oxide inclusions
are usually visible on the surface of material being welded (especially aluminum). Oxide inclusions are less dense than the surrounding material and, therefore, appear as dark irregularly shaped discontinuities in the radiograph

Radiation Safety
Use of radiation sources in industrial radiography is heavily regulated by state and federal organizations due to potential public and personal risks.

Radiation Safety (cont.)

There are many sources of radiation. In general, a person receives roughly 100 mrem/year from natural sources and roughly 100 mrem/year from manmade sources.

Radiation Safety (cont.)

X-rays and gamma rays are forms of ionizing radiation, which means that they have the ability to form ions in the material that is penetrated. All living organisms are sensitive to the effects of ionizing radiation (radiation burns, x-ray food pasteurization, etc.) X-rays and gamma rays have enough energy to liberate electrons from atoms and damage the molecular structure of cells. This can cause radiation burns or cancer.

Radiation Safety (cont.)

Technicians who work with radiation must wear monitoring devices that keep track of their total absorption, and alert them when they are in a high radiation area.

Survey Meter

Pocket Dosimeter

Radiation Alarm

Radiation Badge

Radiation Safety (cont.)

There are three means of protection to help reduce exposure to radiation:

Safe Distance for Radiation

To avoid risk of human exposure to Radiation, we have to maintain a safe distance which is govern by inverse Square Law i.e.

I1/I2=D22/D21 Where I = Intensity, D = Distance

Safe Biological Radiation Dose

The sievert (symbol: Sv) is the SI derived unit

of radiation dose for human

Roentgen equivalent man (rem): unit of

radiation dose mostly use in america


1 Sv = 0.1 millirem 1 Sv = 1 Joule/unit of mass (Kg) It is measured by device called Survey meter

Advantages of Radiography

Technique is not limited by material type or density. Can inspect assembled components. Minimum surface preparation required. Sensitive to changes in thickness, corrosion, voids, cracks, and material density changes. Detects both surface and subsurface defects. Provides a permanent record of the inspection.

Disadvantages of Radiography

Many safety precautions for the use of high

intensity radiation. Many hours of technician training prior to use. Access to both sides of sample required. Orientation of equipment and flaw can be critical. Determining flaw depth is impossible without additional angled exposures. Expensive initial equipment cost.