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LIQUID PENETRANT TEST

By
M Anirudh

INTRODUCTION
Widely used method for inspecting surface
discontinuities, open to atmosphere like cracks,
porosity, laps, seams, corrosion and grinding cracks.
Applied to both magnetic and non-magnetic materials.
Extremely portable kit, can be used in remote
locations as well.
Various industries like nuclear, aerospace, shipping,
railways, chemical, petroleum, food processing, paper
manufacturing, etc.
Economical, Safe, and easy to interpret the results.

BASIC CONCEPTS
ATTRACTION BETWEEN
COHESION : LIKE MOLECULES
Here between penetrant molecules
ADHESION : UNLIKE MOLECULES
Here between penetrant and walls
of the flaw.

WETTABILITY

CAPILLARY RISE

PENETRATION AND
REMOVAL
Penetrant should effectively wet the
surface of the specimen and fill the cracks
completely.
At the same time when a developer is
applied uniformly over the part, the
penetrant has to emerge from the flaw.
How do you reason this paradox?
After dwell time, excess penetrant will be
removed.
The entrapped penetrant, due to adhesive
forces, spreads over the newly cleaned
surface until an equilibrium is reached.

REMOVAL
In some cases this bead could be visually
seen straightaway.
Sensitivity(visibility) is greatly increased with
a layer of developer.
Application of the developer results in a fine
surface film, a sponge-like system
containing random capillary paths.
Penetrant on contact with the powder gets
adsorbed from the flaw.
It continues to migrate by capillary action,
spreading through the developer until
equilibrium.

TESTING

PREREQUISITES FOR LP

TEMPERATURE:
1. Variations influences penetrant materials.
2. Typically test part and penetrant temperatures range from 4.4C to
51.6C.
3. At low temperatures, penetrant becomes very thick and viscous,
thus dwell time would increase.
4. At higher temperatures, volatile content in the penetrant
evaporates,
leaving a thick residue resulting in poor penetration.

PREREQUISITES FOR LP
TESTING
OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS:
1. Penetrant testing area should be adequately
ventilated.
. Some solvent cleaners and removers used are slightly
flammable when
exposed to sparks or open fumes.
. Most penetrant materials have high flash point( minimum
temperature
required to produce a flash).
.LIGHTING:

SURFACE PRE-CLEANING
MOST IMPORTANT STEP IN INSPECTION TO BE COMPLETED FIRST.
All surfaces to be inspected must be thoroughly cleaned and dried.
Flaws must not be covered by oil, dirt, grease, rust etc.
Improperly cleaned test surface contains contaminants that will hinder
the flow of penetrant into the discontinuities rendering the test useless.
Contaminants may be:
1. Within the flaw
2. On the test surface preventing complete wetting with penetrant.
3. Affecting the properties of the inspecting penetrant.
.False indications due to residual material holding penetrant.

COMMON PRE-CLEANING METHODS

CHEMICAL

Alkaline/Acid
Pickling
Etching
Molten salt
bath

SOLVENT
MECHANIC
AL
Tumbling

Vapour
Degreasing
Wet blasting Solvent Spraying
Dry abrasive Solvent Wiping
blasting
Wire
Ultrasonic
brushing
immersion
using solvents

SELECTION OF CLEANING METHODS


Mechanical cleaning often

lead to METAL SMEAR.


This covers the cracks open
to atmosphere.
Metal smear is likely to
happen with softer metals
than with hard metals.
This layer of metal smearing
must be removed prior to
inspection.

CLEANERS

Good cleaning Remove all residue from the surface that may hi
penetration during dwell.
Alkaline cleaners with Silicates concentration 0.5% can affect

penetrability .
Sodium metasilicate and Sodium silicate compounds adhere to
surface of the parts and form a coating.
Some domestic soaps and detergents also block flaw cavities,
reducing
wettability of the metal surface and thus sensitivity.
Most commonly vapour degreasing is used.
Ultrasonic immersion is extremely effective but COSTLY!

VAPOUR DEGREASING
Volatile solvent such as 1,1,1
-trichloroethane, used to clean
heavy oil and grease from parts.
Solvent vapours condense on the
cooler parts carrying surface
contaminants away.
Once removed from the zone,
condensed solvent leaves the
surface along with impurities.
Inflammable, good solvent , quick
drying,
acceptable safety standards for
inspection.
But found to be depleting Ozone

ULTRASONIC IMMERSION
TECHNIQUE
Ultrasonic waves generate
bubbles which collapse against
the impurities(cavitation).
This collapsing of bubbles
create scrubbing action.
Special water-detergent solution,
organic, chlorinated or petroleum
solvents - used as cleaning agents.

PENETRANTS
After cleaning and drying of the part, its time to apply
penetrant.
How to apply?
1. Brushing.
2. Spraying.
3. Immersion in bath.
4. Swabbing.

SWABBING

IMMERSION

SPRAYING

BRUSHING

DWELL TIME
After covering the part with penetrant, sufficient time should be given
for complete penetration into the flaws if any.
Penetrant dwell time is the total time the penetrant is in contact with
the
specimen surface.
Two basic dwell modes:
1. Immersion-dwell:
Keeping the part immersed in the penetrant during the dwell period.
2. Drain-dwell:
Letting the part drain during the dwell period.

ON SENSITIVITY
Initially Immersion-dwell method was thought to be more sensitive.
Assumed ;
migration of penetrant is more
more likely to fill flaws during immersion
does not lose volatile constituents of dye by evaporation.
This method is less economical, contamination is high.
But if specimens are to drain-dwell, sensitivity is higher because
evaporation increases dye concentration of the penetrant on the
specimen.
Also specimens have to be kept out of the immersion tank , to
avoid dilution of dye by vapours evaporating from the tank.

How to decide dwell time?


PROPERTIES OF/DUE TO THE
PENETRANT
SURFACE TENSION
CONTACT ANGLE
DYNAMIC VISCOSITY
DENSITY
GAS TRAPPED INAT
THETHE
FLAWFLAW OPENING
ATMOSPHERIC PRESSURE
CAPILLARY PRESSURE
RADIUS OF THE FLAW OR DISTANCE BETWEEN THE
FLAW WALLS

VISIBLE DYE
PENETRANTS
Visible dye or colour contrast liquid penetrants contain
dye visible under natural or white light.
Application of a white developer further enhances
visibility by providing a high contrast background for the
coloured liquid penetrant.
Mostly Red colour dyes are used but other colours are
also available.

FLUORESCENT PENETRANT
UV Light with a wavelength of about 365 nm is used to
illuminate the
part under test.
Fluorescent material in the flaw emits visible light.

PHYSICS BEHIND
FLUORESCENCE
LPI materials contain one or
more dyes that absorb EM
radiation of a particular
wavelength.
Absorption of these photons
results
excitation
As
they in
are
unstableof
at higher energy state, they almost
Penetrant atoms.
immediately
re-emit the energy as photons.
There is some energy loss in the process so the emitted photons
have slightly lower energy(longer wavelength) as visible light.

UV & TEMPERATURE
THRESHOLD
Intense exposure to UV radiation negatively affect the fluorescent
penetrant indications.
These materials lose their brightness after increased exposure to UV
radiations.
At an elevated temperature, penetrants can experience heat degradation
or heat fade, start decomposition at 71C and at 94C virtually no
fluorescence.
Excessive heat can:
Evaporate more volatile constituents thereby viscosity increases.
Alter wash characteristics.
Kills the fluorescence of dyes.

WHY DO THEY LOSE FLUORESCENCE AT


HIGH TEMP ?
At higher energy states the
electrons in the excited
state return back to lower state.
They lose their energy

Radiative
Process

Molecular
collisions

in the process.
More Heat More Molecular
collisions.
EXPLANATION ONLY VALID WHEN
BOTH PART & PENETRANT ARE AT
AN ELEVATED TEMPERATURE.
When materials cool, fluorescence
will return.

NonRadiative
Process

Thermal
Relaxation
Fluorescence

Chemical
Reaction

CONCENTRATION
QUENCHING

When exposed to elevated temperatures penetrant


solutions dry faster.
So the molecules become more closely packed in the
dehydrated solution, thereby collision relaxation
increases and fluorescence decreases.
This effect is called as concentration quenching.
Experimental data shows that as the dye concentration
increases, fluorescent brightness initially increases
then reaches a peak and starts to decrease.
AIRFLOW OVER PART SURFACE: minimum otherwise
would speed up evaporation of the liquid carrier
leading to loss of brightness.

DUAL MODE
PENETRANTS
Dual mode (visible and fluorescent) liquid penetrants
contain dyes that are reddish in colour under white light
and fluorescent under ultraviolet radiation.
But their intensities are usually lower than individual
visible dye and fluorescent penetrants.

PENETRANT REMOVAL
Removing the excess penetrant from the surface
without removing it from the flaw is a critical task.
It should be thoroughly removed from the surface to
avoid background fluorescence.
The adhesive forces of the penetrant must be weak
enough that they can be broken by the removal
methods used.
However, in order for the penetrant to have good
surface wetting characteristics, the adhesive forces
the cohesive forces.

EMULSIFIERS
Post-emulsifiable penetrant system (PES) can be
used to avoid over-washing of a part.
A separate emulsifier breaks the penetrant down to
make it water washable.
Two types of PES are : lipophilic (oil based) and
hydrophilic (water based).
Lipophilic systems are supplied in ready-to-use form.
Hydrophilic systems are supplied as a concentrate
that must be diluted with water prior to use.

LIPOPHILIC EMULSIFIER REMOVAL


ACTION
Lipophilic emulsifiers work with both a chemical and
mechanical action.
After coating the emulsifier on the surface of the part,
mechanical action starts to remove some of the excess
penetrant as the mixture drains from the part.
During the emulsification time, the emulsifier
diffuses into the remaining penetrant and the resulting
mixture is easily removed with a water spray.

PRE-RINSING
When using Hydrophilic emulsifier, coarse water spray
pre-rinse, is needed to assist in penetrant removal
and to remove contamination of the emulsifier.
Coarse water spray with a pressure range of 275 to
345 kPa and a temperature range of 10 to 40C.
Pre-rinse time should be minimum (30 to 90 seconds)
as the purpose is to clean excess penetrant so that the
emulsifier does not get contaminated quickly.
This is experimentally determined for specific part.

HYDROPHILIC EMULSIFIER REMOVAL


ACTION
Hydrophilic emulsifiers also remove the excess penetrant with
mechanical and chemical action
But the action is different because no diffusion takes place.
These emulsifiers are detergents containing solvents and surfactants
(like soaps).
The hydrophilic emulsifier breaks up the penetrant into small quantities
It prevents these pieces from recombining or reattaching to the surface
of the part.
The mechanical action of the rinse water removes the displaced
penetrant from the part and causes fresh remover to contact and lift
newly exposed penetrant from the surface.

WHICH TYPE IS BETTER?


The hydrophilic post-emulsifiable method is more sensitive
than the lipophilic post-emulsifiable method it has made the later
method virtually obsolete.
The major advantage of hydrophilic emulsifiers is that they
are less sensitive to variation in the contact and removal time.
While emulsification time should be controlled as closely as
possible, a variation of one minute or more in the contact time
will not have any effect on flaw detectability when a hydrophilic
emulsifier is used.
However, a variation of as little as 15 to 30 seconds can have a
significant effect when a lipophilic system is used.

DEVELOPERS
Role of a developer:
Pull the trapped penetrant out of the flaws.
Spread it over surface for clear visibility.
Fine developer particles both reflect and refract the incident UV light
allowing more of it to interact with the penetrant and efficient fluorescence.
The developer also allows more light to be emitted through the same
mechanism.
This is why indications are brighter than the penetrant itself under UV light.
Another function that some developers perform is to create a white
background so there is a greater degree of contrast between the indication
and the surrounding background.

FORMS OF DEVELOPER
Classifications of a developer are based on method of
application of developer :
Dry Powder.
Water soluble.
Water suspendable.
Non-aqueous ( Fluorescent/Visible Dye) (Both are
solvent based)
Special applications.

TYPES OF DEVELOPERS
DRY POWDER:
Least sensitive. It does not provide a
uniform white background so we need to
have a uniform light background for
effective visible inspection.
Inexpensive to use.
Easy to apply.
They are white in colour, indications tend to
be bright and sharp since the penetrant has
limited room to spread.

HOW TO APPLY DRY POWDER ?


Can be applied BY DIPPING parts in a
container of developer or
BY DUSTING parts with the developer.
Electrostatic Powder Spray Guns are
also used.
GOAL: Allow developer for complete
contact with inspection area.

TYPES OF DEVELOPERS
WATER SOLUBLE:
Group of chemicals are dissolved in water.
Evaporating water away, a developer
layer is formed.
Best method for applying is by spraying it
on the part.
Part can be wet or dry whereas it should
be dry when using dry dev.

HOW TO APPLY AQUEOUS


DEVELOPERS ?
Less desirable methods for applying: Dipping,
Pouring, or Brushing on surface can also be used
Aqueous Developers contain wetting agents can
lead to additional removal of entrapped penetrant.
DRYING: Recirculating, warm air dryer with the
temperature between 21 C to 24 C.
If parts are not dried quickly, the indications will be
blurred and indistinct.
PROPERLY DEVEOPED PARTS WILL HAVE AN EVEN,
PALE WHITE COATING OVER THE ENTIRE SURFACE.

TYPES OF DEVELOPERS
WATER SUSPENDABLE DEVELOPERS:
Consists of insoluble developer particles suspended in
water.
Requires frequent stirring or agitation so that settling
of particles is
prevented.
Applying method : Same as water soluble.
Drying : Similarly the coated parts are force dried.
Coated surface has a slightly translucent white coating

TYPES OF DEVELOPERS
NON-AQUEOUS :
Developer is suspended in a volatile solvent.
Typically applied with a spray gun.
For easy portability, supplied in aerosol spray cans.
Solvent pulls the penetrant from indications through
solvent action.
No force drying needed: Since solvent is highly
volatile.
Thoroughly applied to get a slightly translucent white
coating.

DEVELOPING TIME
Irrespective of the type, minimum of 10
minutes time is given for developing.
This time begins immediately after the
application of the developer.
Excessive developing time results in
excessive bleeding of indications.

POST-CLEANING
After inspection is complete some residue will be left on
the part.
High work volume jobs, mostly emulsion cleaning if
effective and economical.
Ultrasonic cleaning is preferred deep crevices, small
holes.
Normally solvents or detergents-aided steam or water is
sufficient as it has a scrubbing action that removes
residues.
Hot steam promotes rapid and even drying.

REFERENCES
ASM Handbook Volume 17 Non Destructive Evaluation
and Quality Control.
Handbook of Non Destructive Evaluation by Charles
Hellier.
https://www.nde-ed.org/
http://
mech.vub.ac.be/teaching/info/Damage_testing_preventio
n_and_detection_in_aeronautics/PDF/penetrant.pdf
The NDT technician pdf by ASNT.
Image courtesy: GOOGLE images.

THANK YOU