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Lesson Five

The Final Steps In The Penetrant Process

This lesson discusses the final steps in the penetrant process :
Inspection , Evaluation , Postcleaning and Material Control.

Inspection :
Proper lighting should be the first consideration in the inspection of an
article :
1. If a fluorescent dye penetrant is used a room or booth with dim
light and a black light with proper intensity are required.
2. If a visible dye penetrant is used, adequate normal lighting is necessary.
A) Typical indications in penetrant inspection :
all indications found with the liquid penetrant method will be surface
discontinuities, but the indications may or may not affect the usefulness of
the article.
B) False

indications :

To avoid false indications , care should be taken so that no outside

contamination such as the following occurs :
1. Penetrant on operator's hands.
2. Contamination of developer.
3. Penetrant transferred to clean specimen from other indications.
4. Penetrant on inspection table.

C) Nonrelevant indications :
Nonrelevant (locations are actual surface discontinuities that in
most cases are there by design , they are caused by some feature of
assembly such as articles that are press fitted keyed , splined, or riveted.
Nonrelevant indications could also include loose scale or a rough surface
on a forging or casting.

D) True indications :
(some typical indications are shown in chapter 6. pages 0-19 in the
training handbook)
True indications are those caused by surface discontinuities that
have been interpreted as not being false or nonrelevant.
True indications are subject to evaluation as to the cause and the

True indications could be divided into five basic

categories :
1. Continuous line this type of indication is often caused by cracks,
cold shuts forging laps scratches or die marks.
2. Intermittent line these indications could be caused by any of the
discontinuities mentioned above provided they were very tight or
where the part had been peened, machined or ground.
3. Round usually caused by porosity open to the surface.
4. Small dots tiny round indications caused by the porous nature of the
specimen, coarse grain structure, or micro shrinkage.
5. Diffused or weak these indications are difficult to interpret and
often the part must be cleaned and retested. in many cases the
diffused or weak indications turn out to be false indications caused by an
improper penetrant procedure.

Depth determination of penetrant discontinuities :

The greater the depth of a discontinuity the more penetrant it will
hold and the larger and brighter the indication.

Postcleaning :
After the specimen has been inspected it is very important that it be
thoroughly cleaned. postcleaning usually will involve the same
types of cleaning operations as were used in precleaning.

Quality control of penetrant test materials :

Aluminum test blocks they provide a good means of evaluating
general purpose penetrants they should be used for comparisons
only and not for absolute evaluations.

These blocks are nonuniform, and the depth and width of cracks are
uncontrolled , the size of the blocks may vary but are about 3/8 by 2
inches of 2024-t-3 aluminum, about 3 inches long.
The blocks are heated and quenched to produce an overall crack pattern.
they can be reused by reheating quenching and careful cleaning.

1- Sensitivity tests while there have been no simple quantitative tests

developed for measuring penetrant sensitivity a simple comparative test is
usually adequate.
A small sample of the penetrant from the testing area is placed on
one side of an aluminum test block, and a small sample of new
penetrant on the other side. by visual observation it is determined if
the old penetrant is contaminated to the point where it must be discarded.
2- Meniscus test provides a practical test for evaluating the dye
concentration in thin liquid films.
The test utilizes a flat glass platen and a convex lens. when a drop of

The diameter of the remaining ''spot" of colorless penetrant provides

a measure of film thickness which can be used to compare the dye
concentration of penetrants.
Prolonged exposure of a film to ultraviolet light or accidental
contamination by acids or alkalis will affect the dye concentration
and therefore change the spot diameter.

Ceramic block test consists of an unglazed ceramic disc which has

thousands of micropores and cracks on its surface.
3- A pencil mark is made on the block and a small amount of a test
penetrant is placed on one side and a reference penetrant is applied
to the other side. after the correct dwell time , the two penetrants
are compared in a side by side visual examination.
A reduction in the number or apparent brightness of pore indications
should be observed when comparing a fresh and old batch of
4- Water content test the astm standard (D - 95) describes a test where
100 ml of penetrant is placed in a boiling flask with a similar quantity
of moisture free xylene, the condensate is collected in a graduated

5- Viscosity test a viscometer tube is used to measure the viscosity in

centistokes to determine if the penetrant is within the range recommended by the manufacturer. a typical standard is astm (D - 445).
6- Fluorescent penetrant fade test this test involves the use of the
aluminum test blocks in a side by side comparison test.
The fluorescent penetrant is placed in both sides of the block and
processed normally one half of the block is then exposed to a standard black light for one hour, while the other side is covered with
The fluorescent brilliance of the two sides is observed and if one
side is noticeably less brilliant the penetrant is discarded.

7- Water washability test this test evaluates the efficiency of the

emulsifier by comparing two different percentage blends of
penetrant and emulsifier.
A special steel block is placed at a 75angle and the two blends are
allowed to flow separately down the block after a five minutes
waiting period the block is washed and examined for traces of remaining
8- Developers; Dry developers are simply visually inspected to see that
they are not lumpy or caked instead of fluffy and light.
Wet developers are often checked using a hydrometer to assure that
the density of the powder in the vehicle is within the range recommended by the manufacturer.
Filtered particle method of penetrant inspection when testing a
porous surface with filtered particles. the increased area created by