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ASNT Level II

Study Guide
Liquid Penetrant
Testing Method
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IBN-13: 978-1-57117-092-7
ISBN-10: 1-57117-092-8

Published by the American Society for Nondestructive Testing, Inc.


PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

first printing 1998


second printing with revisions 10/02
third printing 08/07
Contents

Contents.....................................................................................................................................................iii

Introduction.............................................................................................................................................vii

Chapter 1, Overview of Liquid Penetrant Testing....................................................................................1


History of Liquid Penetrant Testing .....................................................................................................1
Principles of Liquid Penetrant Testing ...................................................................................................1
Advantages of the Penetrant Process ...............................................................................................I
Disadvantages of the Penetrant Process...............................................................................................1
Basics of the Penetrant Process ..............................................................................................................2
Preparation of Parts for Penetrant Testing ........................................................................................2
Surface Condition .......................................................................................................................2
Penetrant System.................................................................................................................................3
System Sensitivity ........................................................................................................................3
Type of Penetrant............................................................................................................................3
Advantages of Fluorescent Liquid Penetrants ...........................................................................4
Advantages of Visible Dye Penetrants .....................................................................................4
Selection of Liquid Penetrant Material and Process .....................................................................5
Fluorescent Liquid Penetrant ...................................................................................................5
Visible Dye Liquid Penetrant ...................................................................................................5
Penetrant Application...........................................................................................................................5
Penetrant Dwell ............................................................................................................................5
Temperature ..................................................................................................................................6
Penetrant Removal Method .............................................................................................................6
Water Washable (Method A) .......................................................................................................6
Lipophilic Emulsifier (Method B) ...............................................................................................7
Solvent Removable (Method C) .................................................................................................8
Hydrophilic Emulsifier (Method D) ...........................................................................................8
Drying ................................................................................................................................................ .8
Develop the Indication ......................................................................................................................8
Inspection............................................................................................................................................8
Importance of the Inspector's Evaluation .....................................................................................9
Penetrant Inspection Documents .................................................................................................9
Visual Requirements.......................................................................................................................9
Classification of Discontinuities by Origin ..................................................................................9
Identifying Indications ...............................................................................................................10
Postcleaning ....................................................................................................................................11

Chapter 2, Penetrants, Developer and Equipment ..............................................................................13


Penetrants ............................................................................................................................................13
Characteristics of Penetrants ...........................................................................................................13
Surface Tension ..........................................................................................................................13
Wetting Ability..............................................................................................................................13
Capillary Action ..........................................................................................................................13
Physical Properties of Penetrants ...................................................................................................14
Viscosity ....................................................................................................................................14
Volatility ....................................................................................................................................14
Specific Gravity .........................................................................................................................14
Flash Point ..................................................................................................................................14
Thermal Stability ........................................................................................................................14
Chemical Properties of Penetrants................................................................................................... .14
Inertness ....................................................................................................................................14
Removability ..............................................................................................................................15
Water Tolerance............................................................................................................................15
Developer ............................................................................................................................................15
Dry Powder ....................................................................................................................................16
Water Soluble ..................................................................................................................................16
Water Suspended ............................................................................................................................16
Nonaqueous ....................................................................................................................................17
Specific Application .......................................................................................................................17
Material and Process Control Tests .....................................................................................................17
Ultraviolet Light Intensity .............................................................................................................19
Emulsifier Concentration...................................................................................................................19
Ambient White Light Intensity..........................................................................................................19
Penetrant Inspection Area Cleanliness ...........................................................................................19
Penetrant Materials Testing...............................................................................................................19
Water Content...............................................................................................................................19
Separation of Constituents and Loss of Fluorescence ................................................................19
Washability ...............................................................................................................................19
Sensitivity Comparison .............................................................................................................19
Penetrant System Monitor......................................................................................................................19
Equipment ..........................................................................................................................................20
Ultraviolet Lighting .......................................................................................................................20
Stationary Processing Equipment ...................................................................................................21
Portable Processing Equipment.........................................................................................................21
Automated Equipment ....................................................................................................................22

Chapter 3, Testing in Primary Metals Production.................................................................................23


Producing Metals and Alloys .............................................................................................................23
Processing Discontinuities ..................................................................................................................23
Discontinuities Related to Metal Solidification.................................................................................23
Discontinuities in Metal Ingots ........................................................................................................23
Discontinuities in Metal Castings ...................................................................................................23
Discontinuities in Blooms and Billets .............................................................................................23
Discontinuities in Hot Rolled Bars, Shapes, Plate or Strip .............................................................24
Discontinuities in Forgings .............................................................................................................24
Discontinuities in Rolled and Pierced Products ..............................................................................24
Discontinuities in Extrusions .........................................................................................................24
Discontinuities in Cold Worked Metal Products .............................................................................24
Discontinuities in Fusion Welds .....................................................................................................25
Discontinuities in Heat Treating Processes .....................................................................................25
Discontinuities in Machined and Ground Surfaces .........................................................................25
Cracks During Plating or Chemical Treatment ..............................................................................25
Service Discontinuities..........................................................................................................................25
Fatigue Cracks ................................................................................................................................25
Significance of Surface Discontinuities under Repeated Loading or Vibration ........................25
Prevention of Fatigue Failure on Service ...................................................................................25
Stress Corrosion Cracking ................ ..............................................................................26
Other Causes of Service Damage....................... ..................................................................26
Continuous Line Indication.......................... ..................................................................27
Intermittent Line Indications ................... .............................................................................27
Rounded Areas of Indications ........... .................................................................................27
Small Dot Indications........................................................................................................................27
Diffuse Indications ........................ . . . .......................................................................................27
Edges of Indications .......................... ........................................................................................27

Chapter 4, Appearance of Liquid Pentrant Indications . . . . . ............................................................27


Brilliance and Extent of Indications .....................................................................................28
Persistence of Indications......................................................................................................................28
Other Variables Affecting Indication Appearance...................................................................:... .28
Surface Conditions............................................................................................................................28
Temperature ...................................................................................................................................28
Dwell Time and Washing ............... .....................................................................................28
Developer..........................................................................................................................................29
Previous Testing.............................................................................. .......................................29
Common Causes of Nonrelevant and False Indications ......................................................................29
Poor Process Control.........................................................................................................................29
Part Geometry and Surface Condition...............................................................................................30
Evaluation of Nonrelevant Indications............................................... .....................................30

Review Questions.....................................................................................................................................31

Answers.....................................................................................................................................................37

Appendix, Standard Terminology for the Liquid Penetrant Examination..........................................39


VI
Introduction

Overview of the Study Guide Resource Materials


This study guide contains basic information intended ASM Handbook, 9th edition, Volume 17,
to prepare a candidate for Level II penetrant inspection Nondestructive Evaluation and Quality
examinations. This study guide does not present all of Control, Materials Park, OH, ASM
the knowledge necessary for certification; the candidate International, 1989.
is expected to supplement this guide with the
recommended references that follow. Recommended Practice No. SNT-TC-1A, 2001,
"Recommended reading" boxes, which list additional Columbus, OH, American Society for
areas of study and which Recommended References Nondestructive Testing, Inc., 2001.
contain the information, appear throughout the text. ANSI/ASNT CP-189-2001: ASNT Standard for
Qualification and Certification of Nondestructive
Acknowledgments Testing Personnel, Columbus, OH, American
Society for Nondestructive Testing, Inc., 2001.
The authors acknowledge the support of the
AlliedSignal Aerospace NDT Network and the ASTM International, ASTM E 165, Standard Test
ASNT Technical Services Department staff for Method for Liquid Penetrant Examination, West
assisting with the first edition of this book. Conshohocken, PA, ASTM, 2001.
This revision was possible thanks to the contributions
ASTM International, ASTM E 1208, Standard Test
of Bill Chedister, William Cook, Vilma Holmgren, Bill
Method for Fluorescent Liquid Penetrant
Mooz and Thorn Schafer.
Examination Using the Lipophilic Post-
Emulsification Process, West Conshohocken, PA,
Recommended References ASTM, 2001.
A. Tracy, Noel A., technical editor, Patrick O. ASTM International, ASTM E 1209, Standard Test
Moore, editor, Nondestructive Testing Method for Fluorescent Liquid Penetrant
Handbook, third edition: Volume 2, Liquid Examination Using the Water-Washable Process,
Penetrant Testing, Columbus, OH, American West Conshohocken, PA, ASTM, 2001.
Society for Nondestructive Testing, Inc., 1999.
ASTM International, ASTM E 1210, Standard Test
B. Boisvert, Bernie, Principles and Applications Method for Fluorescent Liquid Penetrant
of Liquid Penetrant Testing: A Classroom Examination Using the Hydrophilic Post-
Training Text, Columbus, OH, American Emulsification Process, West Conshohocken, PA,
Society for Nondestructive Testing, Inc., 1993. ASTM, 2001.
C. General Dynamics, Liquid Penetrant Testing ASTM International, ASTM E 1219, Standard Test
Programmed Instruction Handbook, PI-4-2, Method for Fluorescent Liquid Penetrant
Columbus, OH, American Society for Examination Using the Solvent-Removable
Nondestructive Testing, Inc., 1977. Process, West Conshohocken, PA, ASTM, 2001.
viii

ASTM International, ASTM E 1219, Standard Test


Method for Fluorescent Liquid Penetrant
Examination Using the Solvent-Removable
Process, West Conshohocken, PA, ASTM,
2001.
ASTM Internationa], ASTM E 1220, Standard
Test Method for Visible Penetrant
Examination Using Solvent-Removable
Process, West Conshohocken, PA, ASTM,
2001.
ASTM Internationa], ASTM E 1417, Standard
Practice for Liquid Penetrant Examination,
West Conshohocken, PA, ASTM, 2001.
ASTM International, ASTM E 1418, Standard Test
Method for Visible Penetrant Examination
Using the Water-Washable Process, West
Conshohocken, PA, ASTM, 2001.
SAE International, SAE AMS 2644, Inspection
Materials, Penetrant, Warrendale, PA, SAE
(Society of Automotive Engineers)
International, 2002.
Chapter 1

Overview of Liquid Penetrant Testing

History of Liquid Penetrant or the shape of the part. With proper sequencing of
Testing the process in manufacturing and the use of
appropriate cleaning methods with trained and
Liquid penetrant testing is one of the oldest certified operators, liquid penetrant testing is a very
methods of nondestructive testing. Its origin is reliable, accurate and effective surface inspection
generally attributed to the inspection of wheel process.
axles in the railroad industry in the 1890s. It was
noticed that after oil was wiped off of a part
surface, the oil would reappear where a crack or Advantages of the Penetrant Process
other type of discontinuity was located. This The following are advantages of the liquid
discovery led to the oil-and-whiting test. Parts penetrant process:
were immersed in oil and then wiped with rags 1. very small surface discontinuities can be
dampened with kerosene. Powdered chalk was detected,
used to dust the surface to increase the visibility of 2. a wide variety(s a dng) of materials can be
any oil leaking back onto the part surface. Today's tested,
liquid penetrant testing evolved from the oil-and- 3. complex geometrical shapes can be inspected in
whiting test through continual improvements to the a single operation,
type of oil used, the addition of dyes and the 4. various sensitivities and processing methods are
creation of special removers and developers. available,
5. it is relatively (tng i)easy to use,
6. it can be portable(xch tay, di chuyn c),
Principles of Liquid Penetrant and
Testing 7. when compared to other testing methods, it has
a low cost.
Liquid penetrant testing is based on the ability
of a liquid to seep into cavities that are open to the
surface and remain in the cavity when the excess Disadvantages of the Penetrant
liquid is removed. The liquid remaining in the Process
cavity is then drawn out to form an indication that The following are disadvantages of the liquid
is much more visible than the cavity itself. Liquid penetrant process:
penetrant testing is used to detect surface 1. porous(xp) materials cannot be tested;
discontinuities in solid, nonporous materials. It is 2. surfaces must be clean and free of paint,
used on wrought, cast metal and metal alloys; coatings, soil, moisture(hi m) and
weldments, powdered metals, plastics, ceramics contaminants;
and glass. A variety of materials and application 3. it cannot be used following metal smearing
methods allow for some adjustment of the process operations such as shot peening, sand blasting,
sensitivity to certain types of discontinuities, certain machining operations (unless material is
surface conditions and material types. acid etched to remove smeared metal);
Liquid penetrant testing is one of the most 4. some materials (rubber and plastics) may be
widely used nondestructive testing methods in adversely affected by the penetrant's petroleum
industry. It is able to detect small discontinuities base;
open to the surface regardless of their orientation 5. it is very dependent on operator skill; and
6. some penetrant products use ingredients that
may cause skin irritation under prolonged
contact if proper protective clothing is not worn.
ASNT Level II Study Guide: Liquid Penetrant Testing

Basics of the Penetrant Process Coatings such as paint and plating interfere with
the penetrant's ability to enter a discontinuity by
The basic penetrant process can be divided into covering or filling the cavity. Indications produced
three steps: application of the penetrant, removal of on coated surfaces are generally from
the excess surface penetrant and development of the discontinuities in the paint or plating rather than
indication. However, the process must be preceded those in the base material. Anodized coatings are
by appropriate surface preparation and cleaning very porous. Absorption of the penetrant can mask
methods, parts must be dried after penetrant discontinuities by making relevant indications
removal, indications must be evaluated after indistinguishable from the anodized surface of the
processing and parts must be cleaned after testing. part.
Operations that deform the surface, such as
grinding, cutting, shot peening, sand blasting and
Preparation of Parts for Penetrant Testing vapor honing, can cover discontinuities by smearing
Final examination by the penetrant process a thin layer of metal over the opening, reducing its
should be performed following all operations that size or sealing it completely. Because liquid
may cause or expose discontinuities on the part penetrant testing cannot detect anything not open to
surface. Examples of these operations are heat the surface, this thin coating of metal prevents the
treating, machining, welding, bending and penetrant liquid from entering the cavity and
straightening. forming an indication. These operations also can
The penetrant process should be performed cause discontinuities in the material and performing
before any treatments that smear the surface of the the liquid penetrant test before the metal smearing
part such as: honing, lapping, sanding, deburring, operation is not always an option. In such cases, the
sand blasting or vapor honing. If these types of material should be chemically etched following the
operations have been performed, the parts must be mechanical operation and before the liquid
chemically etched before the penetrant process in penetrant test.
order to obtain any meaningful results. The most common surface condition that
Penetrant inspection also should be performed adversely affects the liquid penetrant testing process
before operations such as peening, plating, painting, is the presence of contaminants such as oils, grease,
anodizing, or any other surface coating operations. dirt, rust, scale, carbon deposits or others. These
materials may prevent the penetrant from entering
Surface Condition the discontinuity, absorb the penetrant and mask
The surface condition of a part must be evaluated indications, or chemically react with the penetrant
before the penetrant process begins. The condition materials reducing the penetrant's effectiveness.
of the surface plays a critical role in the success or Precleaning of components using the appropriate
failure of the liquid penetrant test to form an method before liquid penetrant testing is critical.
indication from a discontinuity. Table 1.1 lists common contaminants that affect the
penetrant process.

Recommended reading

Subject Reference*
history of liquid penetrant testing A,B,C
basic principles of liquid penetrant testing A,B,C
advantages and disadvantages of liquid penetrant testing A,B,C
*See introduction for explanation of references.
Penetrant System 3
Liquid penetrant testing is defined by the
materials used to perform the process. The 3. location, size of the part, quantity and
variations in the testing process produce several coverage required - field inspections are most
system sensitivities and types of penetrants. often performed with solvent removable visible
dye and nonaqueous developer because of
System Sensitivity portability and no special lighting is needed.
The sensitivity of a system is defined as a
Type of Penetrant
measure of the smallest discontinuity that will
produce a discernible indication. The sensitivity of Penetrant can be fluorescent, visible or dual
a system must meet the needs of the mode dye that has both visible and fluorescent
circumstances. If a system is too sensitive, the properties.
results may be misleading and time will be wasted Fluorescent penetrant is further defined by a
in the evaluation process. If the system is not sensitivity level category. The sensitivity of a
sensitive enough, rejectable defects could remain penetrant is related to the brightness of an
undetected. The cost of materials can be directly indication when measured with a photometer and
related to system sensitivity and the use of a compared to a standard. There are five levels of
sensitivity higher than required would increase the sensitivity for fluorescent dyes:
cost unnecessarily. 1. Level 1/2: ultralow sensitivity,
The appropriate liquid penetrant testing system 2. Level 1: low sensitivity,
is determined by considering the following: 3. Level 2: medium sensitivity,
1. governing standard or specification - certain 4. Level 3: high sensitivity, and
industries require specific penetrant methods, 5. Level 4: ultrahigh sensitivity.
or specify restrictions on the materials that
may be used; Fluorescent penetrant contains a dye that is
2. surface condition and the type of visible under UV-A light. To view the indications,
discontinuities associated with the part - rough inspection is performed in a darkened area with an
surfaces, threads, keyways, internal cavities, ultraviolet light source.
wide, shallow or tight crack discontinuities are Visible penetrant uses a red, orange or purple
conditions that can affect the optimum choice dye that is highly visible when contrasted against a
for a penetrant system; and white developer coating the part surface. Inspection
must be performed under white light.

Table 1.1: Precleaning

Contaminant Effects on the Penetrant Process


Carbon, varnish Bridge/fill voids, produce residual
background, cause false indications
Heavy oils Fill voids, fluoresce
Light oils Fill voids, fluoresce
Oil with solid particles Fill voids, fluoresce, cause false indications
Paint Bridge voids, produce residual background,
cause false indications
Penetrant material residue Fill voids, interfere with indication formation
Scale, oxide, corrosion Bridge/fill voids, produce residual
background, cause false indications
Smeared metal Bridge/fill voids
ASNT Level II Study Guide: Liquid Penetrant Testing

Dual mode penetrants contain dyes that are both than visible dye. Also, because luminous
colored under white light and fluorescent under discontinuity marks can be located easily, the
ultraviolet light. However, the intensities are less fluorescent dye lends itself to faster readout.
than the single mode penetrants. Aerospace industry specifications often call for
Tables 1.2 and 1.3 compare the types of fluorescent testing of critical parts because very
penetrant and sensitivities. small discontinuity indications must be detected
reliably.
Advantages of Fluorescent Liquid Penetrants
Fluorescent indications viewed in a dark test Advantages of Visible Dye Penetrants
booth are more readily seen than indications Though its overall performance is considered
produced by visible dye liquid penetrants under lower and production testing of small parts is
normal light conditions. This is especially true in slower, the visible dye liquid penetrant process has
the case of liquid penetrant indications of minute some advantages of its own. It does not require a
cracks or pinholes. Because fluorescent liquid darkened area or a source of electric power for
penetrant indications are more visible, it is illumination. For this reason, it is more often used
generally accepted that fluorescent liquid penetrant as a portable testing tool in the shop or field. Large
testing is more sensitive to small discontinuities test parts, difficult to move to a dark booth, can be

Table 1.2: Comparison of fluorescent penetrant sensitivity levels


Level Primary Uses and Advantages Disadvantages
1/2 and 1 In process inspection - minimal Least sensitive
background Complex geometry
Porous surfaces

2 In process inspection May produce moderate background


Final inspection on rough surfaces
3 In process and final inspection High background on rough surfaces
Sensitive to small, tight
discontinuities
4 In process and final inspection High background on rough surfaces
Very sensitive to small, tight
discontinuities

Table 1.3: Comparison of penetrant types

Type Primary Uses and Advantages Disadvantages


1 In process and final inspections Requires special lighting
Wide, shallow and tight crack discontinuities Requires electricity
Failure analysis
2 In process inspection of surfaces machined in Less sensitive than Type 1
further processing. Field inspections with Does not perform well for
portable kit Localized area of large parts wide, shallow
discontinuities
5

inspected where they are located with visible dye Fluorescent Liquid Penetrant
liquid penetrants. The visible dye liquid penetrant The regular performance water washable,
is widely used for inspection of weldments both in fluorescent liquid penetrant is generally more
the shop and in the field. practical for rough surface parts such as sand
castings. The higher performance liquid penetrants
Selection of Liquid Penetrant Material and are favored for inspecting forgings, machined
Process surfaces and more critical load carrying parts.
The techniques capable of the greatest
sensitivity are often the most costly and many tests Visible Dye Liquid Penetrant
require the ultimate sensitivity. However, high The selection of a visible dye liquid penetrant is
sensitivity is frequently not required and may even relatively uncomplicated when compared to
produce misleading results. selecting fluorescent liquid penetrants. If the test is
The following factors should be considered to take place in the field, a portable system using a
before deciding on the type of liquid penetrant solvent remover wipe-off technique is usually the
testing system to install and/or use: first choice. Selection of a visible dye liquid
1. composition of parts to be inspected; penetrant is largely dependent on economic factors
1. number of parts or test areas to be inspected per and the facilities available. The visible dye liquid
unit of time; penetrant class is not divided into performance
2. size and weight of parts to be handled; grades as is fluorescent liquid penetrants.
2. location at which testing is required (that is, The visibility of the indications with respect to
receiving department, in process along a the white developer background is a key factor in
production line, during assembly, as final successfully revealing tight discontinuities. The
inspection, in the field during erection, at visibility of colored contrast liquid penetrants
maintenance facilities or in service); depends on the color dye concentration. Because
3. types of discontinuities to be expected, for visible dye liquid penetrants are not categorized
example, porosity, cracks, seams or laps; with respect to visibility or performance, these dyes
4. size of discontinuities to be detected (for are selected based on need.
example, small, deep, large, shallow, clustered
or scattered); Penetrant Application
5. surface condition of parts to be inspected (such
as as-cast, as-forged, machined, ground, Penetrant may be applied by various methods as
lapped, polished, plated, painted, corroded, listed in Table 1.4. Care should be taken to ensure
oily, covered with combustion, scratched or complete coverage of the areas of interest,
scaled parts); and regardless of how the penetrant is applied.
6. condition to which parts will be subjected after Brushing and spraying can fail to cover areas
testing (for example, medical, nuclear or completely and immersion can trap air and prevent
oxygen systems; welding, plating or finishing penetrant (or emulsifier when rinsing) from
operations; high temperature, aerospace, contacting the part surface.
industrial or transportation uses; inaccessible
locations; or consumer products). Penetrant Dwell
The total time the penetrant remains on the part
The selection may be influenced by specification surface is the penetrant dwell. The time required for
requirements, education and experience of a penetrant to enter a discontinuity is dependent on
personnel and the quality level of test required. The temperature, the type of discontinuity and the
quality of the test parts to be inspected should never possibility of contaminants entrapped within
be allowed to influence the quality level of testing. discontinuities. Large, shallow discontinuities
The test quality is determined by the nature of test require less dwell time than small, tight cracks.
parts and the service conditions for which they are Discontinuities free from contaminants require less
intended. dwell time than discontinuities with entrapped soil
because it is easier for the penetrant to enter them.
The standard minimum dwell is 5 min unless
testing in service parts. If service fatigue cracks are
ASNT Level II Study Guide: Liquid Penetrant Testing

suspected, the minimum dwell time required is aerospace and nuclear power programs can be used
often 2 h, but for stress corrosion up to 4 h may be in extremely cold or relatively high temperatures.
required. When the dwell exceeds 1 h, applying
fresh penetrant every hour improves the rate of
penetration.
Penetrant Removal Method
It is important to allow sufficient time for the Excess penetrant is removed by water wash,
appearance of minute indications from fine hydrophilic emulsification, lipophilic
discontinuities, such as tight fatigue cracks. To use emulsification, or solvent wipe.
the time required for an indication to develop as a The penetrant must be removed from the part
measure of the extent of the discontinuity, other surface without removing it from within a
variables such as type of liquid penetrant, discontinuity. An optimum amount of removal must
sensitivity of technique, temperature of part, dwell be obtained. Too little removal will cause an
time and condition of examination must be excessive penetrant background and indications will
controlled. be indistinguishable from the part surface. If too
Fine liquid penetrant indications usually denote much is removed from the discontinuity, a weak
fine discontinuities, however, fine indications may indication or no indication will be formed. The
also be caused by insufficient dwell time. methods for removing surface penetrant and the
SAE AMS 2644 designation are:
Temperature 1. Method A - Water Washable
The temperature of the penetrant materials and 2. Method B - Lipophilic Emulsifier
the part must be within an acceptable range for 3. Method C - Solvent Removable
processing. ASTM E 1417 specifies a temperature 4. Method D - Hydrophilic Emulsifier
range of 4 to 52 C (40 to 125 F).
The viscosity of most liquids, including Fluorescent penetrant should be removed in a
penetrants, increases at low temperatures. If a part darkened area equipped with ultraviolet lighting
is quite cold, under 16 C (60 F) for example, the regardless of the removal method.
liquid penetrant may become chilled and thickened Table 1.5 lists the advantages and disadvantages
when applied, making the dwell time for very fine of the various removal methods.
discontinuities longer than for parts at higher
temperatures. If a part or liquid penetrant is too hot, Water Washable (Method A)
the volatile components of the liquid penetrant may Water washable penetrants contain emulsifying
evaporate, changing the ability for revealing small agents that make the oil miscible (mixable) with
discontinuities. Material temperatures from 10 to 52 water. The penetrant may be removed with a manual
C (50 to 125 F) produce optimum results with or automatic coarse water spray, by immersion in an
conventional liquid penetrants, however, special air agitated water wash or by manually wiping.
penetrants developed for

Table 1.4: Penetrant application


Type of AMS-2644 Method of Dwell Time Lighting
Penetrant Designation Application* Min./Max. Required
Fluorescent 1 Spray, dip, 10min/2h Ultraviolet
brush,
Visible 2 Spray, dip, 10min/2h Visible
brush
Dual mode Spray, dip, 10 min/2 h Visible/
brush Ultraviolet
* Spray may be manual, pressurized or electrostatic.
7

The size of the droplets, pressure, temperature The rinsing operation must be monitored
and angle of a water spray rinse can affect removal closely to avoid overwashing. Washing should be
of the penetrant. Most industry and military stopped as soon as an acceptable background level
specifications limit acceptable water temperature to is observed.
10 to 38 C (50 to 100 F) at a pressure not to
exceed 276 kPa (40 psi). The spray nozzle should Lipophilic Emulsifier (Method B)
be a minimum of 30 cm (12 in.) from the part at an Removal is performed by introducing an
angle between 45 and 70 degrees. oilbased emulsifier as a separate process step.
An air agitated immersion rinse is a removal Lipophilic emulsifier diffuses in to the surface
method that must maintain adequate water penetrant. It is usually applied by immersion;
circulation and air agitation. Experiments to brushing or wiping may cause streaking due to
determine the amount of rinsing required for uneven emulsification and are not recommended.
specific processes should be performed before the This system offers more control and has fewer
actual inspection. The water temperature problems with over and under washing compared
requirements are the same as for the water spray to the water washable method. The emulsifier
method. dwell may be anywhere between 5 s up to 5 min.

Table 1.5: Method of removal


Remover AMS-2644 Advantages and
Material Designation Primary Uses Disadvantages
Water A Fewer processing steps No control of emulsifier
Reduced processing time Critical rinse time
Lower cost Effects of water
Elimination of the contamination
emulsifier station
Lipophilic B Wide, shallow Extra processing steps
Emulsifier discontinuities Critical rinse time
Supplied ready for use Poor results on rough surfaces
Water and penetrant
contamination

Solvent C Portable Over-removal of penetrant


Localized areas, field Time consuming for large
applications parts or high volume
Wash station not required May be flammable
Hydrophilic D Small, tight discontinuities Extra processing steps
Emulsifier Wide, shallow Must maintain concentration
discontinuities levels
Post rinse time less critical Contamination from penetrant
Reduced background on
rough surfaces
Emulsifier touchup during
final rinse
8

ASTM E 1417 limits lipophilic emulsifiers to a 3 particular application. The emulsifier concentration
min maximum dwell time. Finding the optimum for spray methods is limited to 5%. Immersion
time for specific conditions is generally method concentration levels can vary from 5% to
accomplished through experimentation. Experience 35% depending on the manufacturer. Do not exceed
under similar circumstances related to the type and the concentration levels suggested by the
size of suspected defects, surface roughness of the manufacturer. The emulsifier dwell time should not
part, temperature of materials, water contamination exceed 2 min.
levels of the penetrant and emulsifier can be used
for a guideline. If the emulsification time is either
too short or too long, the part must be entirely Drying
cleaned and reprocessed with an adjusted emulsifier The need to dry parts after penetrant removal
dwell. depends on the removal method used and the type
Following the appropriate dwell, the part should of developer that will be applied. When dry or
be quickly sprayed with water wash to stop the nonaqueous developer is used, parts are dried before
diffusion process. Once the diffusion process is the developer is applied. When aqueous developer
halted, the emulsified penetrant is rinsed using the is used (water soluble and water suspended), parts
same methods as the water washable method. are dried after the developer is applied.
For water washable and emulsified applications,
Solvent Removable (Method C) parts are dried at room temperature or in a
Solvent remover is usually supplied in aerosol recirculating forced air oven. Parts should be rotated
spray cans. The solvent works by diluting the during drying and pools of water should be
surface penetrant. The part is first wiped with clean, removed. Oven drying time should not be any
dry, lintfree cloths or towels. After the major longer than the minimum time necessary to dry the
portion of penetrant has been wiped from the part. Oven temperature should never exceed that
surface, the surface should be wiped with a clean specified in the written procedure or in ASTM E
cloth, lightly sprayed with solvent, until just a trace 1417(71 C or 160 F).
of penetrant is observed on the cloth. Extreme
caution must be used to avoid excessive removal. Develop the Indication
Hydrophilic Emulsifier (Method D) An indication may be selfdeveloped, where the
This process is similar to method B except that penetrant seeps to the surface after the excess is
the emulsifier is waterbased and uses detergent removed. Development is normally enhanced with a
action rather than diffusion to remove the surface developing agent. Developer is available in dry,
penetrant. Emulsification of the penetrant within a water soluble, water suspended or solvent
discontinuity is less likely to occur with hydrophilic suspended forms. Developers are described in more
emulsifier than with lipophilic emulsifier. This detail starting on page 15.
allows complete removal of surface penetrant and
improves contrast for inspection. Prerinsing the part
following the penetrant dwell is recommended for
Inspection
hydrophilic emulsification processing. The prerinse A vital part of the liquid penetrant testing process
is performed using the water spray techniques is the evaluation of the results. Indications must be
described for water washable penetrant. Prerinsing reviewed for their relationship to discontinuities in
should be held to the minimum time required to the material. Consideration must be given to the type
remove the bulk of surface penetrant. Immediately of material, size, shape and processing history of the
following the prerinse, the hydrophilic emulsifier part that is being inspected. Processing history
should be applied by spraying or immersing. includes information specific to the part and may
Agitation of the emulsifier is required to produce include forming, casting, welding, machining, heat
the detergent (scrubbing) action that removes the treating or other manufacturing operations.
penetrant. The optimum emulsification time must be
determined through experimentation for the
9

When properly performed, the penetrant process for personnel, materials, processing methods and/or
will provide visible indications at all relevant acceptance criteria. Examples include ASTM E
surface discontinuities. 165, ASTM E 1417, MIL-STD-6866, MIL-STD-
271, MIL-STD-410, NAV-SEA 250-1500 and
Importance of the Inspector's Evaluation ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, Section
Inspector training and experience are necessary V.
for determining the relevancy of an indication. Acceptance criteria generally indicate the
Evaluating indications correctly is a skill learned maximum size of allowable indications. They may
by working with experienced inspectors and define a total number or a total area for acceptable
observing the interpretation process until sufficient indications over a specified surface area of a part. A
knowledge is gained. Effective evaluation cannot minimum distance for separation between rounded
be mastered from classroom training alone. indications may also be defined based on the size of
In some mass inspection operations, the person the largest indication. Weldments and castings are
who operates the test equipment merely segregates often photographed for use as accept and reject
the parts that show indications. Others decide their examples of various types of indications. These
disposition. In most cases, however, the inspector reference standards also assist in determining the
who first sees the indication is also expected to type of discontinuity that caused the indication.
interpret it.
Skill and proficiency in developing and then Visual Requirements
interpreting indications must be acquired by Penetrant inspection standards and specifications
experience. A skilled and experienced inspector can have minimum requirements for an inspector's
add greatly to the effectiveness of liquid penetrant visual acuity and color perception. Visual acuity
testing. (the ability to resolve details) decreases as light
The inspector must also know the materials levels decrease. The ability to distinguish between
under test: what they are, how they are made and colors is necessary to locate indications. An
how they have been processed. In addition, the individual with red-green color blindness may not
inspector must understand what types of be able to distinguish indications at various levels
discontinuities may be introduced during of brightness because of the penetrant's colors.
manufacturing and processing. Inspectors who Fluorescent penetrant inspection requires an
know what discontinuities to look for and where inspector to allow for visual adjustment to the
they are likely to occur are able to select the best darkened area. Eyes become adapted to the dark
techniques available for their detection. after approximately 5 min.
Periodic eye examinations by qualified medical
Penetrant Inspection Documents personnel are recommended for those involved in
Penetrant testing is conducted with a specific the interpretation of penetrant indications.
technique in accordance with a written procedure.
The technique defines the process variables (dwell, Classification of Discontinuities by Origin
emulsification, etc.) specifically for the part being There are three times during the life of a part
inspected. The technique should reference the where discontinuities can be introduced. They may
acceptance criteria as per contract, engineering exist in the raw material, they may result from
drawing, specification or standard. forming and machining, or they may be caused by
The procedure is a general inspection instruction service conditions. Table 1.6 lists common
that defines the materials, equipment, cleaning and discontinuities that can be detected with penetrant
process methods that may be used. It defines the inspection. This classification is as follows.
minimum and maximum times, temperatures,
1. Inherent discontinuities are introduced into the
pressures, etc., for each step in the penetrant
basic materials as the result of its initial
process. Requirements for personnel qualification
and certification are also defined. production from ore to raw components up to
Procedures are based on the requirements of the point where it is ready for initial processing.
industry or military specifications, standards or Inherent discontinuities can form during the
codes. These specifications define the requirements solidification process of molten metals in
10 ASNT Level II Study Guide: Liquid Penetrant Testing
castings and ingots. Welding produces many of existing discontinuities. Machining can expose
the same discontinuities when the metal subsurface discontinuities or contribute to the
becomes molten and flows during the process. formation of new discontinuities during grinding,
Discontinuities occur when the material, or a lapping, milling, cutting and lathing operations. 3.
portion thereof, cools too slowly or too fast, is Service discontinuities develop as the result of the
subjected to localized moisture or other material or part being in service. This group
material that creates gas pressure buildup, or includes fatigue from repetitive cyclic loads,
develops internal stresses after solidification. service loads, corrosion, residual stress and stress
Processing or forming discontinuities fall into corrosion.
two groups: (a) discontinuities introduced
during primary processes, such as casting, Identifying Indications
rolling, forging, drawing, welding, etc. and (b)
discontinuities introduced during finishing Indications as small as 0.4 mm (0.015 in.) may
processing, such as machining, heat treating, be considered relevant and may affect the
grinding, plating, etc. Forming operations that serviceability of a part. Inspection may result in
involve hot and cold working can produce new multiple indications being observed that must be
discontinuities or alter the appearance of

Table 1.6: Types of discontinuities

Discontinuity Product Appearance


Burst Forge Broad starburst
Center bead crack Weld Continuous/intermittent linear,
tight, or open
Cold shut Cast Half moon to linear, smooth
Crater crack Weld Starburst
Fatigue crack Service related Continuous linear, tight, or open
Fold Cast L/I, L/C, tight
Grinding crack Any form machined Linear, tight, random multiple
Heat affected zone Weld (in the base Linear, tight, emanating from weld
(HAZ) crack metal)
Hot tear Cast Linear, tight or open
Inclusion All Near-rounded
Lack of fusion or Weld Linear parallel to weld
penetration
Lamination Forge, roll Linear, tight
Lap Forge Linear, tight
Microshrinkage Cast Round, porous
Pipe Forge Linear, tight
Porosity Cast, weld Round, randomly dispersed
Quench crack Any form heat treated Linear, tight or open
Shrinkage crack Cast Linear emanating from void
Stress corrosion crack Service related Linear, tight or wide
11

determined to be relevant or nonrelevant and discontinuity exists." False indications are often
interpreted as acceptable or rejectable. According caused when penetrant comes into contact with the
to ASTM 1316, a relevant indication is "an NDT part after processing. Penetrant on the inspection
indication that is caused by a condition or type of table surface or on the operator's hands can create
discontinuity that requires evaluation." The false indications. False and nonrelevant indications
relevancy of an indication is determined by the may potentially mask relevant indications.
inspector's judgment alone. The acceptance or Cleaning and reprocessing a part for inspection is
rejection of relevant indications is determined by required when false indications are noted.
criteria specified on the part drawing, in referenced
inspection specifications or standards, or in a
contractual agreement. Postcleaning
Relevant indications are the result of penetrant Residue from the penetrant process can be
bleedout from an unintentional change or harmful to the part during further processing or the
discontinuity on the part surface. Relevant service of a part. It can also interfere with future
indications must be evaluated for size, location and penetrant inspections. Penetrants remaining on a
type according to the specified acceptance criteria part may adversely affect plating, anodizing and
to determine if the discontinuity is cause for welding operations. Residual oils on liquid oxygen
rejection of the part. No all discontinuities are system components can result in an explosion.
necessarily cause for rejection. Penetrant remaining in discontinuities can dry or
According to ASTM 1316, a nonrelevant disrupt the mechanics of penetrant in later
indication is "an NDT indication that is caused by a inspections. Developers may act as an abrasive
condition or type of discontinuity that is not when left on contact areas of moving parts, they
rejectable. False indications are nonrelevant." can absorb moisture and cause corrosion, and they
Nonrelevant indications can be caused by may absorb penetrant in subsequent processing
intentional changes of the part surface. Sheet metal masking indications or creating a high residual
fittings, rolled flanges, threads and splines are background. Developers become harder to remove
examples of features inherent in a part's design that with time. Most developers can be removed with
may form nonrelevant indications. water and wiping or by scrubbing.
According to ASTM 1316, a false indication is
"an NDT indication that is interpreted to be caused
by a discontinuity at a location where no

Recommended reading
Subject Reference*
surface condition, cleaning A, B, C
penetrant application removal A, B, C
drying__________________________ A, B,C
inspection A, B,C
________________________________ A, B, C
visual requirements
B,C A,
________________________________
B,C A, B,
identifying indications
________________________________ C A, B, C
formation of discontinuities
________________________________
post cleaning __________________
*See Introduction for explanation of references.
Chapter 2

Penetrants, Developer and Equipment

Penetrants cohesive force of the liquid, the liquid will contract


and pull away from the surface, forming a contact
Characteristics of Penetrants angle greater than 90 degrees. If the adhesive force
is stronger than the cohesive force, the liquid will
To detect discontinuities, the penetrant must coat flow and adhere to the solid to a point where the
the area of interest in a continuous and uniform adhesive and cohesive forces are equalized in the
manner and must migrate into small cavities that liquid. If the liquid forms an angle of less than 90
are open to the surface. These cavities are generally degrees to the surface, the individual droplets will
invisible to the naked eye. merge into a uniform coating wetting the surface
Surface tension, wetting ability and capillary (Figure 2.1).
action are the mechanisms that enable a liquid to
perform well as a penetrant material. Light oils are Capillary Action
generally used for penetrants because of these Capillary action is easily illustrated by inserting
characteristics. a capillary tube into a clear container of liquid.
Inside the tube, a liquid with high surface tension
Surface Tension will rise above the liquid level outside of the tube.
Molecules of a liquid are subjected to the The low contact angle causes the liquid to curve up
attraction of surrounding molecules. The attraction the tube wall while the surface tension pulls the
of like molecules is called cohesion. This attraction liquid downward at the center of the liquid. These
has no effect at the interior of the liquid because the forces working together create capillary rise (Figure
force is equalized by the attraction from all 2.2a). A liquid that does not have sufficient wetting
directions. However, molecules at the surface are ability will keep the liquid inside the tube below the
pulled back toward the interior of the liquid by the level outside (Figure 2.2b), or at the same level
molecules below. This contraction of the surface (Figure 2.2c).
creates what is called surface tension. As the Capillary rise enables the penetrant to enter
cohesive force increases, the surface tension also discontinuities. A discontinuity acts like a capillary
increases. tube and the ability of a penetrant to climb the walls
of a discontinuity is the mechanism used to enter the
Wetting Ability discontinuity. Capillary rise will occur even though
The attraction of dissimilar molecules is called the discontinuity is not open on both ends like the
adhesion. If the adhesive force between a liquid tube. The penetrant will not completely fill the
and a surrounding solid is weaker than the cavity due to trapped air, which

14
ASNT Level II Study Guide: Liquid Penetrant Testing

will exert an outward force on the penetrant Specific Gravity


(Figure 2.3).
The ratio of a liquid's density to that of distilled
water is the liquid's specific gravity. A penetrant's
Physical Properties of Penetrants specific gravity may be less than 1 if it has an oil
base.
Physical properties of penetrants include
viscosity, volatility, specific gravity, flash point and Flash Point
thermal stability.
The temperature at which a liquid's vapors
Viscosity become flammable when a source of ignition is
Viscosity measures the flow rate of a liquid. present is called its flash point. The flash point
Higher viscosity liquids flow more slowly than less does not affect the performance of a penetrant but
it is considered for safety reasons.
viscous liquids. Increasing the temperature of a
liquid lowers its viscosity. Viscosity does not affect Thermal Stability
the ability of the penetrant to enter a discontinuity;
Thermal stability is related to the tendency of
however, the viscosity of a penetrant does affect the
some dyes used in penetrant materials to lose their
rate of penetration and the penetrant dwell time. brightness or color when exposed to elevated
Penetrants with a higher viscosity will require temperatures for an extended time. This loss of
longer dwell times than less viscous penetrants. color is referred to as heat fade. The ability of a
Volatility penetrant to resist this loss is its thermal stability.
Volatility indicates the boiling point of a liquid.
Low volatility means a high boiling point. Highly Chemical Properties of Penetrants
volatile liquids are not desirable for penetrants Inertness
because of their rapid evaporation, which results in Penetrant processing materials must be inert to
the drying of the penetrant on a part during the the material composition of the part being
dwell and the loss of penetrant materials in open processed. Nickel based alloys, titanium and
tanks. austenitic stainless steels are susceptible to
hydrogen embrittlement and intergranular

Figure 2.2: Contact angle in a capillary tube


Capillary Tubes
Chapter 2, Penetrant Characteristics 15

corrosion from small amounts of sulfur and 4. form d, nonaqueous developer Type I,
halogen residues. Nuclear and pressure vessel 5. form e, nonaqueous developer Type II,
codes limit the sulfur or chlorine residual content 6. specific application developer.
to 1 % by weight maximum because of their Table 2.1 compares the various developers.
extensive use of these metals and the risks
involved with any system failure.
Figure 2.3: Penetrant over
Removability discontinuity
Removability is the ease with which excess Penetrant
surface penetrant is sufficiently removed without Discontinuity
removing it from discontinuities. Good
removability is critical for reducing or eliminating
residual background.
Water Tolerance
Water washable penetrants must be capable of
tolerating a certain amount of water contamination.

Developer
Penetrant remaining in a discontinuity is drawn
out by the same capillary forces that draw it into
the cavity. The adhesive force between the
penetrant liquid and the solid surface will cause the
penetrant to be drawn back out of the discontinuity.
The cohesive force of the liquid will stop its rise
out of the discontinuity at the point where it is Figure 2.4: Developer
balanced by the adhesive force. enhancement of discontinuity
If the discontinuity is large, the penetrant drawn
Penetrant Developer
to the surface is visible without further processing.
Developer is applied to aid the detection of smaller
discontinuities. Developers provide an absorbent
surface containing fine capillary paths that assist in
drawing penetrant out of a discontinuity. This
provides a much larger penetrant indication surface
area (Figure 2.4). Observation of indications is
further enhanced by the contrasting background
that the developer provides.
The following are types of developers:
1. form a, dry powder developer,
2. form b, water soluble developer, Discontinuity
3. form c, water suspendible developer,

Recommended reading

Subject Reference*
penetrant properties B,C
systems C
"See Introduction for explanation of references.
16

Dry Powder Water Soluble


Dry developer is a light, fluffy powder that This type of aqueous developer is dissolved in
clings to the part in a fine film. Dry developer is water and forms a translucent film. Water soluble
easy to use and has good development properties for developer can be used for fluorescent dyes, but it is
fluorescent penetrant. Under ultraviolet light, metal not recommended for use with visible dye or the
surfaces appear deep violet in color, which contrasts water washable removal method. Water in the
well with the bright yellow-green fluorescence of developer may remove water washable penetrant
the penetrant. Dry developer does not interfere with from discontinuities. Water soluble developer can
this contrast because it dusts the surface lightly but save time during processing because drying is
does not coat it. It does not work well for visible included in the developer dwell time. Water soluble
penetrant because it does not provide a contrasting developer is supplied as a dry concentrate that must
background. If dry developer becomes wet, be mixed and maintained at the proper ratio of
clumping may occur. Clumping limits or eliminates developer to water. The developer should be
the developer's capillary action. Dry developer in checked at regular intervals for penetrant
tanks may become fluorescent if it is recycled contamination and water evaporation.
excessively. Fluorescent specks or particles may
cause false indications. Dry developer in a powder
bulb is often kept in the inspection area and applied Water Suspendible
to a part surface that has been wiped during Water suspendible developer is supplied as a dry
evaluation. concentrate that must be mixed and maintained at
the proper ratio of developer to water. Suspended
aqueous developer does not dissolve in water so it
must be thoroughly agitated just before application

Table 2.1: Developer types


Material Form/ Method of Application Dwell Advantages and Disadvantages
AMS-2644 Application Sequence Time Primary Uses
Designation
Dry powder Dust/fog, dip, After drying 1/2 Easy to use Not for Type II
spray Penetrant Easy to remove Parts must dry first
dwell to Good for Type I Penetrant
4h contaminated
Water soluble Spray, flow, Before drying 1/2 Needs no Acts as detergent
dip Penetrant agitation Not for Method A
dwell to Easy to remove Not for Type II
2h Applies thin coat Bacteria/fungus
Evaporation
Water suspendible Spray, flow, Before drying 1/2. Visible'coating , Critical immersion
dip Penetrant Surface contact Frequent agitation
dwell to 2h Bacteria/fungus
Difficult to remove
Nonaqueous Spray After drying 10 min to Most sensitive Expensive
Type I and Type 11 1h High contrast Flammable Not for
Portable large areas Frequent
agitation Parts must
dry first
17

to suspend the particles in water. The development be applied in a thin, uniform coat. The spray does
of indications does not begin until the moisture is not cover larger surfaces quickly and each part
completely evaporated from the developer. The must be separately sprayed while the developer is
thickness of the coating and its white color work constantly agitated. A consistent, even coating of
well with visible dyes. Parts should be checked to developer should be maintained.
ensure a uniform coating of developer has been
applied. The developer should be checked at
regular intervals for penetrant contamination and Special Application
water evaporation. Special application developers are designed for
use with only specified penetrant materials and
Nonaqueous must be qualified with a particular penetrant
system. An example would be qualification of a
Nonaqueous solvent suspended developer is specific manufacturer's visible dye with a dry
supplied in bulk containers and in aerosol spray developer.
cans. It may be used for all penetrant types and
methods. This type of developer is applied after
drying and is considered to be the most sensitive Material and Process Control
developer method available. When nonaqueous Tests
developer is supplied in aerosol spray cans, process
controls are not required, but to ensure the proper Successful penetrant processing relies on
coat of developer, it is necessary to shake the can properly functioning material and equipment.
to be sure the developer particles are resuspended. Process system variables of time, temperature and
When the developer is supplied in bulk, it is pressure along with material concentration,
important that the suspension be thoroughly mixed contamination, consistency, etc., must be verified
before use. The developer must be thoroughly as acceptable at regular intervals. Equipment used
agitated before spraying and should for verification may also require scheduled

Table 2.2: Typical equipment calibration


Equipment Where Used Calibration Item
Tolerance
Temperature gage Spray water rinse/wash station 1 C at 21 C 3 months
(2 F at 70 F)
Pressure gage Spray water rinse/wash station 2% of scale 3 months
Timers Penetrant, emulsifier, rinse, 1 s at 10 min 3 months
dry stations
White light meter Type 2 lighting/ambient light 10% of scale 6 months
for Type 1
Ultraviolet light Ultraviolet light intensity 10% of scale 6 months
meter
Refractometer Hydrophilic emulsifier 2% of scale 1 year
concentration
Temperature gage Drying oven 5.6 C at 66 C 6 months
(10F at 150 F)
Measuring Inspection booth measuring 0.1 % of scale 1 year
equipment indications
18

calibration. Tables 2.2 and 2.3 contain standard penetrant area cleanliness are examples of typical
process control requirements and equipment process controls that may be specified in the
calibration. penetrant inspection procedure.
Ultraviolet light intensity, emulsifier
concentration, ambient white light intensity and

Table 2.3: Typical process control requirements

Process Element System Requirement Item


Water wash pressure Method A, B, D 276 kPa (40 psi) maximum Each shift
Water wash Method A, B, D 10 to 38 C (50 to 100F) Each shift
temperature
Oven temperature Method A, B, D 71 C (160F) maximum Each shift-
Systems performance All meet minimum code Daily
requirements
Ultraviolet intensity Type 1 1,000 (J.W/cm2 minimum at Daily
part surface
White light intensity Type 2 1,076 lx (100 ftc) minimum Daily
at part surface
Ambient light intensity Type 1 20 lx (2 ftc) maximum at Weekly
part surface
Area cleanliness Type 1 no fluorescent Daily
contamination
Lipophilic emulsifier Method B <5% Monthly
water content
Hydrophilic emulsifier Method D immersion: < than specified Weekly
concentration on the AMS-2644 QPL,
spray < 5%
Aqueous developer check concentration with Weekly
hydrometer
Dry developer no fluorescent Daily
condition contamination (fluffy not
caked)
Fluorescent brightness Type 1 >90% of unused material Quarterly
sample
Penetrant water content Method A <5% Monthly
Penetrant removability Method A comparison to unused Monthly
material sample
Penetrant sensitivity All comparison to unused Weekly
material sample
19

Ultraviolet Light Intensity Penetrant Materials Testing


Intensity of the ultraviolet light in the inspection
booth is checked with a calibrated ultraviolet light Water Content
intensity meter. Ultraviolet light intensity should be Water washable penetrants are analyzed for
1000 (iW/cm2 minimum at the part surface. water content each month or any time stratification
or cloudiness is noted. Water content should not
Emulsifier Concentration exceed 5% by volume.

To check emulsifier concentration (refractive Separation of Constituents and Loss of


method) of hydrophilic postemulsifiable penetrant Fluorescence
systems the following procedure should be used: Penetrants shall be compared with unused
1. Lift the refractometer cover plate to expose the samples for separation of constituents and loss of
prism. fluorescence each month or whenever stratification
2. Use the plastic dip stick supplied with the or cloudiness is noted. Separation and loss of
instrument to spread a small amount of fluorescent brightness or cloudiness shall not be
emulsifier over the prism surface. permitted.
3. Close the cover plate and point the instrument
toward a light source. Look through the Washability
eyepiece and take the reading at the point where The washability of penetrants shall be
the dividing line between light and dark crosses determined each month. Materials not passing the
the scale. (Tilting the instrument with respect to washability test shall be discarded and replaced
the light source may be required to obtain with fresh material.
optimum contrast between light and dark
boundary.) Sensitivity Comparison
4. Clean the instrument after each use. Wipe the Penetrants shall have a sensitivity comparison
prism and cover plate with a soft cloth or tissue performed each month. The sensitivity of penetrant
paper moistened with water, then wipe dry. If samples shall be comparable to the unused
the prism surface and cover plate are not well reference sample.
cleaned before the next use erroneous or fuzzy
readings may result. Penetrant System Monitor
The testing and monitoring panel (Figure 2.5) is
Ambient White Light Intensity a commonly used reference standard for monitoring
The ambient white light intensity in the darkened the overall performance of the penetrant system. It
inspection booth is verified by the use of a white is processed through all stations of the penetrant
light meter. The ambient white light intensity production line to verify that all aspects of the
should not exceed 22 lx (2 ftc) at the inspection process (dwell time, temperatures, removal,
surface. lighting, drying, developing, etc.) are functioning
together.
The following is typical of procedure
Penetrant Inspection Area requirements for processing the panel:
Cleanliness 1. Ensure the panel is dry.
The cleanliness of the inspection booth is 2. Examine under ultraviolet light for residual
penetrant. Residual fluorescence shall be cause
checked for any contamination of fluorescent
for cleaning or replacement.
penetrant, developer powder or other residue that
3. Process the panel per standard procedure and
could affect the interpretation.
production technique using minimum process
times.
4. Examine the processed panel under ultraviolet
light. Compare results to the correspondingly
20 ASNT Level II Study Guide: Liquid Penetrant Testing

numbered reference photograph or to previous common to portable and stationary penetrant


test results. Results shall be as follows: process lines.
a. removability: At least 75% of the grit
blasted panel surface shall show no
evidence of background fluorescence. Ultraviolet Lighting
b. sensitivity: The minimum number of crack Ultraviolet light is required when Type 1
indications visible shall be the same as the (fluorescent) penetrant is used. The fluorescence of
reference photograph or the same as the penetrant assists in locating small, difficult-to-
previous test results. see discontinuities. The most common UV-A light
5. If the system performance is unacceptable, consists of a mercury bulb housed with a filter that
replace materials (for example, penetrant, is powered by a constant voltage transformer
emulsifier, developer) as applicable and producing wavelengths in the range of 320 to 400
recheck. nm. The minimum intensity of the ultraviolet light
6. After completion of the test, place the panel in should be 1000 uAV/cm2 at the inspection surface.
an ultrasonic cleaner for at least 5 min. Store A warmup time is required for the mercury bulb to
panel until next usage in isopropanol or in a reach full intensity and the light should remain on to
clean dry container. Keep lid on container to avoid cycling, which reduces the life of the bulb.
minimize evaporation. Regular cleaning of the bulb and filter is required to
remove dust, oil, dirt and fluorescent contamination
Equipment that can reduce the ultraviolet light intensity.
For remote processing when electricity is
Penetrant processing equipment can vary from a available, portable enclosures or heavy tarps may
few spray cans and cloths to computer controlled,
fully automated systems. Table 2.4 lists materials

Figure 2.5: Testing and monitoring panel


The testing and monitoring panel features five crack centers of different sizes for evaluating
sensitivity and includes a grit blasted section for judging wash characteristics of liquid penetrant
system: (a) drawing; (b) under white light; (c) under ultraviolet light.
(Reprinted from Nondestructive Testing Handbook, third edition: Volume 2, Liquid Penetrant Testing. Courtesy of
Boeing Company, St. Louis, MO.

Chapter 2, Penetrant Characteristics


21

be used to obtain sufficient darkness to perform automatically lowered and processed in emulsifier
evaluations. immersion stations, or automatically processed
through a water rinse operation.
Stationary Processing Equipment
Requirements vary depending on the type of
Portable Processing Equipment
penetrant and removal method used. The system Penetrant is available in kits packaged with
may consist of a deep sink next to a small tank of spray cans of penetrant, remover and developer.
penetrant or can be more elaborate with They are generally a visible, solvent removable
electrostatic sprayers for penetrant application, system, but they are also available with water
semiautomatic emulsification and/or rinse and washable penetrant, lipophilic emulsifier and
developer stations run by the push of a button. fluorescent penetrant. The developer is almost
Parts may be moved by hoists or conveyors, always nonaqueous.

Table 2.4: Manual processing equipment

Stationary Portable
Penetrant Application
Spray booth standard or electrostatic Penetrant spray can
Immersion tanks
Brushes, cotton swabs, etc.
Dwell/drain area
Timer for penetrant dwell
Penetrant Removal
Coarse water spray Solvent spray can
Ultraviolet light (Type 1) Cloths/rags
White light (Type 2) Portable ultraviolet light (Type 1)
Emulsifier tanks and/or spray apparatus Tarp
Water rinse spray and/or tank
Water pressure and temperature gages
Timer for emulsifier dwell
Drying/Development
Hot-air recirculating oven Developer spray can or powder bulb
Oven temperature gage
Developer dip tank, fog chamber, or spray area
Developer dwell area
Timer for developer dwell
Inspection
Ultraviolet light and darkened booth (Type 1) Portable ultraviolet light (Type 1)
White light (Type 1 and 2) Tarp
Magnifier, measuring devices Magnifier, measuring devices
Solvent Solvent
Developer powder bulb or spray can Developer spray can or powder bulb
22 ASNT Level II Study Guide: Liquid Penetrant Testing

Automated Equipment disadvantages are the cost and inflexible nature of


Fully automated liquid penetrant testing systems the system.
process materials through cleaning, penetrant Semiautomated systems may have conveyors to
application, dwell and removal, drying and move parts to the various stations where processes
developer application and dwell time without an are manually performed, or may include automated
operator. Automatic loading and unloading emulsifier, rinse, and/or oven and developer
capabilities also can be incorporated in some stations.
systems. Automated systems are custom designed Automated processing ends at the inspection
for specific applications of high volume processing. area. Human inspectors are almost always required
The elimination of inconsistencies in dwell and to evaluate indications resulting from the process.
rinse time associated with human processing is the
major advantage. The

Recommended reading
Subject Reference*
developer A,B,C
equipment A,B,C
materials and process controls A,B
*See Introduction for explanation of references,
Chapter 3

Testing in Primary Metals Production

By far the largest field of application of Discontinuities in Metal Ingots


nondestructive tests is in the metal making industry,
including ferrous alloys and the growing list of Metal shrinks during solidifying and cooling.
nonferrous metals and alloys being produced and This shrinkage may cause shrink cavities in the
used. For the usual metals and alloys, there is a center of the ingot, usually confined to the top or
considerable similarity of processes and last-to-freeze portion. This section of the ingot is
discontinuities that are encountered. normally cropped and discarded. If not completely
eliminated, these types of internal discontinuities
Producing Metals and Alloys may show up in the finished product as pipe in
rolled bars or as laminations in plate or strip.
Iron and the nonferrous metals are refined from Cracking also may occur on the surface of
their ores by a variety of processes but most of them ingots. These cracks are removed as completely as
are ultimately produced in molten form, the molten possible by chipping or scarfing to prevent the
metal is poured into molds and allowed to solidify. forming of seams on the finished product.
These molds may be ingot molds from which the
solidified ingot is taken through a variety of
forming processes or they may be molds for casting Discontinuities in Metal Castings
the metal into final shape. In the case of castings where the metal solidifies
in final form, gates and risers allow surplus metal to
Processing Discontinuities form at favorable locations so that impurities can
float out of the casting proper and gas can have a
Discontinuities Related to Metal chance to escape. Porosity and gas pockets along
with slag inclusions are a major source of
Solidification discontinuities in castings and much testing focuses
on locating them. This is true of nonferrous castings
In spite of precautions to produce and solidify as well as steel.
metal free of foreign materials and gasses, most Shrinkage on cooling results in thermal cracks in
metals contain nonmetallic inclusions of some castings, most often on the surface and related to
type. These inclusions may be (1) dissolved or the shape of the casting. Other casting
entrapped gasses; (2) various nonmetallic materials discontinuities are hot tears and cold shuts, both
such as oxides and sulfides of the metal; and being surface discontinuities.
(3) finely dispersed particles of slag. Their Vibration and external stress would cause these
presence is not in itself an indication of poor cracks to become more extensive, resulting in
quality; this is true of steel, copper, brass, failure of the part. Indications of cracks are
aluminum and other metals. However, if not well
distributed or if the segregates are large, they may considered a cause for rejection in almost all cases.
be very objectionable. They will appear as stringers Cracks not only reduce the strength of a part but
or discontinuities in the final rolled or forged they also may propagate, especially under
product, which may seriously affect the suitability alternating or fatigue loads.
of the metal for many purposes.
Discontinuities in Blooms and Billets
After being cast into ingots, a metal is then
further worked into usable form by forging, rolling
24

or pressing. A steel ingot, for example, is reheated In the case of die or drop forging, laps, surface
to the proper temperature and passed between tears and bursts may be produced. In die forgings,
heavy rolls to form blooms or billets. The size of excess metal is forced out between the two halves
ingots varies widely. Ingots of alloy and tool steel of the die forming the flash and this excess metal is
may be quite small, weighing perhaps 100 kg (220 subsequently trimmed off. If not properly done,
lbm), whereas ingots from which large forgings or flashline cracks or tears may be formed. Another
large thick plate are to be made may weigh many type of forging discontinuity is the internal rupture,
tons. Blooms and billets are formed in an usually called flake, which occurs in the process of
intermediate step between the ingot and the cooling relatively large forgings. These may be very
finished size or product. severe and extremely objectionable.
The surface of blooms and billets may contain
seams due to rolled out ingot cracks resulting from Discontinuities in Rolled and Pierced
cooling stresses, bursts, tears, rolled-in scale or
metal particles. All of these surface imperfections Products
should be removed before the final finishing In the production of seamless tubing, the billet is
operation. The surfaces of blooms and billets may pierced. Discontinuities on the inside surface of the
be freed of such objectionable conditions by pierced billet may take the form of tears. Seams
chipping, grinding or flame scarfing. Billets, may occur on the outside surface, especially if the
especially when intended for seamless tube surface of the billet or blank had not been properly
piercing, are often cleaned up by scaling, by taking cleaned.
a cut off the surface, or by planing the surface.
Discontinuities in Extrusions
Discontinuities in Hot Rolled Bars, Nonferrous seamless tubing is often made by
Shapes, Plate or Strip extrusion, starting with hollow or pierced billets, or
Blooms and billets are often reheated to proper from solid ingots. Discontinuities that occur may be
working temperature and rolled into bars, shapes, checks and tears, or imperfections may result from
plate or strip. Seams, stringers and laminations may uncovering internal discontinuities of the billets or
appear in the finished product as a result of rolling, ingots. Many shapes and products are made by
forging or extrusion. The rolling operation itself various extrusion processes. Because of flow of the
may introduce certain discontinuities, the most metal of the original ingot during extrusion, oxide
common of which are laps resulting from too much and surface skin sometimes become folded into the
or too little metal to fill the rolls. Too rapid interior. A form of pipe also results from this action,
reduction of cross section, especially if the metal is which is most objectionable when it appears in a
at too low a temperature, may produce tears and finished shape.
internal rupture called cupping.
Internal shrinkage cavities or gas pockets may Discontinuities in Cold Worked Metal
result in laminations in plate, strip, pipe, bars or
other shapes. Uneven cooling of some types of steel
Products
may cause cooling cracks to appear in bars and Cold rolling and cold drawing of strip, rod and
shapes. wire is a process for improving the surface finish of
steel products. Close dimensional tolerances can
thus be maintained and the metal becomes
Discontinuities in Forgings somewhat work hardened. Die marks, scratches and
If an ingot or billet is used for forging, a variety surface imperfections sometimes make their
of discontinuities can be produced from improper appearance in this process. The process does not
handling of the metal under the hammer or from remove seams or other discontinuities present in the
working at too low a temperature. Common material before the cold finishing is applied.
discontinuities are laps and folds. Forging bursts,
both external and internal, can also occur.
Chapter 3, Testing in Primary Metals Production 25

Discontinuities in Fusion Welds Cracks During Plating or Chemical


In fusion welding processes, where liquid metal Treatment
solidifies in the weld, the same sort of
discontinuities may occur as in castings namely, Parts containing residual stresses from heat
slag inclusions, gas porosity and thermal cracks. In treatment or cold working may crack during plating
addition, cracking in the parent metal may occur processes or during the pickling that precedes
because of thermal stresses or as a consequence of plating. Pickling etch removes some of the metal
hydrogen pressure. There are also discontinuities surface containing compressive stresses, permitting
from a lack of penetration of the weld and failure to the internal tensile stress to be relieved through
get proper fusion of the weld metal to the parent cracking. Embrittlement by absorbed hydrogen
metal. during pickling may sometimes be a factor in such
cracking.
Discontinuities in Heat Treating
Processes Service Discontinuities
Most metal products undergo some form of heat
treatment to produce desirable physical properties. Fatigue Cracks
Heat treatment discontinuities may be produced as
the result of warping or cracking. Quenching cracks Fatigue cracking and failure resulting from
occur in steel when the process is not properly fatigue is by far the most important group of
carried out or when the design of the part or the service discontinuities. Fatigue occurs during
steel used is not adapted to the operation. repeated or cyclic loading or stressing of materials.
Quenching cracks are apt to appear in connection A fatigue failure starts with a crack initiated by a
with changes in cross section of the material that variety of causes. Under cyclic loads, this crack
cause excessive cooling stresses or at locations progresses through the cross section of the metal
where the contour of the surface permits stress until only a small portion of the original section
concentrations to occur. Sometimes hardened parts remains sound. Finally failures occur even when
are cracked when an attempt is made to straighten calculated or average stresses are far below the
those that have warped slightly out of shape. elastic limit and do not depend directly on whether
Special nondestructive test techniques have the tensile strength of the metal, as determined by
been devised for checking hardness against static tests, is either high or low.
specification tolerances and for unwanted
conditions such as abnormal grain size, Significance of Surface Discontinuities
segregations, etc. under Repeated Loading or Vibration
Fatigue cracks almost invariably start at the
surface and are initiated by conditions that bring
Discontinuities in Machined and about locally high stresses. These stress
Ground Surfaces concentrations involve stresses above average for
Machining operations may cause surface the part. The stresses may, in their local area, be
damage, leaving discontinuities in the form of above the fatigue strength of the metal. Surface
surface tears. Grinding of surfaces for accurate scratches, cracks or other discontinuities may cause
dimensions or for finish is a common source of these local areas of high stress. Localized high
surface cracking, especially on hardened steel stresses may also be caused by design features of
surfaces. Parts that have been hardened may have the part for example, high stresses occur around
residual internal stresses, produced in the holes, fillets and stiffening members.
quenching process and not subsequently removed Prevention of Fatigue Failures in Service
by drawing or stress relieving. Such parts are
particularly sensitive to the formation of grinding One of the main purposes of liquid penetrant
checks. testing is to locate and eliminate discontinuities
likely to lead to fatigue failures. Fatigue cracking is
a serious indication sought by nondestructive
26

techniques when the machine or structure is cracking of steel beams around bolt holes, leading
inspected at intervals during its service life. to bridge collapse, is an example. The corrosion
Fortunately, fatigue cracks do not often propagate allows the tension stress at the surface to be
so rapidly that they cannot be located early in their relieved by cracking.
existence and the part replaced before failure.
Other Causes of Service Damage
Stress Corrosion Cracking Other sources of service damage causing
If a part that is subject to frequent stress cracking are abnormally high stresses caused by
reversals or fluctuations is at the same time subject vibration, as in steam turbine blades and jet engine
to corrosion, fatigue cracks may appear very buckets; impact due to wrecks and other sudden
rapidly and may progress to failure in a very short stoppages; and overloads due to abnormal service
period of time. conditions or simple abuse of the engine or
Corrosion leads to service failure through machine.
cracking of metal subject to corrosion at the same
time it is under tensile stress. Stress corrosion

Recommended reading
Subject Reference
producing metal A
processing discontinuities A
service discontinuities A
* See Introduction for explanation of reference
Chapter 4

Appearance of Liquid Penetrant Indications

Several factors influence the exact appearance irregular in outline. Deep crater cracks in welds
of individual liquid penetrant indications. frequently show up as rounded indications because
However, there are certain general trends that hold a large amount of liquid penetrant is entrapped and
true for all sorts and forms of materials. the individual indications merge.
Porosity resulting from shrinkage cavities may
produce rounded liquid penetrant indications or
Continuous Line Indications may give the appearance of cracks. Usually,
A crack usually shows up as a continuous linear shrinkage cavities have a dendritic pattern that
liquid penetrant indication. The width and helps the inspector identify them. For high stress
brightness of fluorescence or color depend on the applications, shrinkage cavities are rejectable
volume of the crack. The line may be fairly straight discontinuities.
or jagged. A cold shut on the surface of a casting
also appears as a continuous line, generally a Small Dot Indications
relatively narrow one. Because cold shuts are
caused by imperfect fusion where two streams of Liquid penetrant indications in the form of small
metal meet but do not merge, the indication is dots result from a porous condition. Such
likely to be smooth in outline rather than jagged. A indications may denote small pin holes, excessively
forging lap may also cause a continuous line coarse grains in castings, or may be caused by a
indication. shrinkage cavity.

Intermittent Line Indications Diffuse Indications


Many forging laps are partially welded during Sometimes a large area presents a diffused
subsequent blows of the forging hammer. The appearance. If fluorescent liquid penetrants are
liquid penetrant indication caused by such forging used, the whole surface may glow feebly; if visible
laps is therefore an intermittent linear indication. A dyes are used, the background may be pink instead
subsurface crack that does not reach the surface for of white. This diffused condition may result from
its entire length, or a seam that is partially filled, very fine, widespread porosity, such as
also produces an intermittent line indication. microshrinkage in magnesium. It may also be
caused by insufficient cleaning before testing, by
incomplete removal of excess liquid penetrant, or
Rounded Areas of Indications by too thick a coat of developer. Weak indications
Liquid penetrant indications of gas holes are extending over a wide area should be regarded with
round blobs of rich color or fluorescence. Large gas suspicion. It is wise to repeat the test and to
holes are a basis for rejection because they reduce eliminate any false indications, rather than to
strength and produce a rough surface. Small gas attempt immediate evaluation of a diffused
holes may not be rejectable discontinuities indication.
depending on the effect on the strength of the part.
If pressure tightness or a smooth surface is Edges of Indications
required, then even tiny pinholes are considered a
basis for rejection. The indications appear rounded The sharpness of liquid penetrant indications is
because of the volume of liquid penetrant affected by the volume of liquid retained in the
entrapped; the actual discontinuities may be discontinuity, the test conditions, such as
28

temperature and time allowed for indications to cracks or holes. Or metal can be peened over
develop, and the type of liquid penetrant used. surface discontinuities by forging, polishing or
Generally, clear cut indications come from narrow shot blasting.
linear discontinuities. 2. Rough or porous areas may retain liquid
penetrant, producing irrelevant indications. Or
naturally fluorescent materials (such as many
Brilliance and Extent of Indications oils and greases) may cause confusing
The color or fluorescent brightness of liquid indications.
penetrant indications can be useful in estimating 3. Deposits on the surface or in openings may
the seriousness of the discontinuity. Brightness is dilute the liquid penetrant reducing its
directly related to the amount of penetrant present effectiveness, or such materials may react with
and therefore to the size of the discontinuity. It is the liquid penetrant, destroying fluorescence or
difficult for the human eye to detect slight dye color.
differences in color of dye or brilliance of 4. Water or moisture within crack discontinuities
fluorescence. Fortunately, larger discontinuities can prevent the liquid penetrant from entering
usually produce larger indications in addition to the crack.
increased brightness. Proper cleaning before liquid penetrant testing
will remove any contaminants, leaving surface
openings clear. If it is impossible to adequately
Persistence of Indications clean the surface, this fact must be taken into
One good way to estimate the size of a account when weighing the importance of
discontinuity is by the persistence of the indication. indications.
If it reappears after the developer has been removed
and reapplied, there must be a reservoir of liquid Temperature
penetrant present. Where faint or weak indications
leave some doubt as to the type or even the The viscosity of most liquids increases at low
existence of a discontinuity, it is good practice to temperatures and liquid penetrants are no exception.
repeat the entire liquid penetrant test. If the If a part is quite cold, under 16 C (60 F) for
indication reappears, it is probably due to a small example, the liquid penetrant may become chilled
discontinuity rather than to incomplete cleaning. and thickened when applied, making the dwell time
for very fine discontinuities longer than for parts at
higher temperatures. If a part or liquid penetrant is
Other Variables Affecting too hot, the volatile components of the liquid
Indication Appearance penetrant may evaporate, changing the capability
for revealing small discontinuities. Material
The following variables have a marked effect on temperatures from 10 to 52 C (50 to 125 F)
the size, brilliance and appearance of liquid produce optimum results with conventional liquid
penetrant indications: condition of surface, penetrants.
temperature of the part or the liquid penetrant,
dwell times, amount of washing, developer, Dwell Time and Washing
conditions of examination and previous testing.
Fine liquid penetrant indications usually denote
fine discontinuities. However, fine indications may
Surface Conditions also be caused by insufficient dwell time. A
There are four general ways in which the surface diffused indication may mean a generally porous
conditions can interfere with the proper results from condition but may also imply incomplete washing.
liquid penetrant testing. 1. Surface openings may If excess liquid penetrant is not removed, false
be closed. This can occur when lubricants, indications are evident. On the other hand, washing
polishing compounds, dirt, scale or other too long and too hard can remove liquid penetrant
contaminants are forced into from large or shallow discontinuities, resulting in
less intense indications.
29

Developer actual discontinuities that do not affect the usability


The developer makes indications more visible of a part. False indications, a subcategory of
by: nonrelevant indications, are best defined as
1. providing a contrasting background, indications that distract from the quality of the
2. pulling liquid penetrant out of openings by a inspection but do not indicate a discontinuity in a
blotting action, part. False indications have several causes but are
3. making the indication easier to read by usually caused by a deficiency in process control.
enlarging it as the penetrant spreads into the
developer and
4. reducing glare from reflected light during Poor Process Control
observations of fluorescent indications. Regardless of the liquid penetrant technique
used, the level of sensitivity can be adversely
A thick film of developer may absorb liquid affected by poor process control, such as improper
penetrant, resulting in faint indications or even application of liquid penetrant, improper removal
masking very fine discontinuities. Most faulty of liquid penetrant, lack of cleanliness in the
liquid penetrant processing techniques are because inspection area and poor handling of parts being
of loss of indications. processed. Any of these can cause false indications
that will interfere with or cause a distraction during
the visual detection and interpretation of
Previous Testing indications.
In judging the presence or absence of liquid Improper application can cause pooling of the
penetrant indications, the inspector must know liquid penetrant. This produces an uneven coating
whether the parts have been subjected to other test of liquid penetrant on the surface of a part and, on
processes. If so, extreme care must be taken to certain types of materials, results in areas of high
clean parts thoroughly before the additional liquid background bleedout.
penetrant testing. Improper removal can cause overremoval or
Test processes, such as fabrication, can change underremoval of excess surface liquid penetrant.
the surface condition. It is not possible to determine Overremoval is indicated by a complete lack of
the relative efficiency of various test processes by background or indications; a slight background is
subsequent checks of the same part because many normal. Overremoval will not result in a false
of the materials used in magnetic particle, indication but increases the chances of removing a
fluorescent liquid penetrant and visible dye liquid valid discontinuity indication. Underremoval of
penetrant techniques are incompatible. excess liquid penetrant can cause a high
Discontinuities may remain undetected by liquid background intensity and decrease the contrast
penetrant testing if magnetic particle testing has needed to reveal small indications. In addition, the
been previously used. The residual iron oxide may remaining liquid penetrant background may mask a
fill or bridge the discontinuity. Similarly, relevant indication. In either case, a part that has
fluorescent liquid penetrant will often fail to show been subject to improper removal of excess surface
discontinuities previously found by visible dye liquid penetrant must be cleaned and reprocessed.
liquid penetrant because the visible dye may Lack of cleanliness in the inspection area is often
interfere with fluorescence. Subsequent visible dye a cause of false indications. An inspection area
liquid penetrant testing may miss discontinuities should be free of all liquid penetrant. Liquid
indicated by fluorescent liquid penetrant because penetrant on roller assemblies, dryer shelves or
the later affects the visible dye color. inspection tables should be cleaned up before parts
are processed. Otherwise the penetrant can be
absorbed by the developer and cause nonrelevant
Common Causes of Nonrelevant indications.
and False Indications Proper handling of parts during all phases of the
liquid penetrant process is important. Rubber gloves
Nonrelevant indications may be due to should be cleaned between processing steps. Small
misapplied or improper testing procedures or to parts processed together should not
30 ASNT Level II Study Guide: Liquid Penetrant Testing

rub against each other. Lint from towels or rags will difficult to inspect, especially with solvent
fluoresce under near ultraviolet light and give the removable method. The major concern on a weld
appearance of a crack. False indications due to bead is masking of relevant indications. As-cast
improper handling of parts can be easily prevented. and as-forged surfaces may also lead to nonrelevant
indications because of surface roughness or other
irregularities. Machined parts may have machining
Part Geometry and Surface grooves or marks, or scratches from rough
Condition handling.
The geometry of a part or assembly can cause
nonrelevant indications. The indication of an Evaluation of Nonrelevant
interface between a turbine blade and a disk can not
only produce a nonrelevant indication, but can also Indications
mask possible small indications if the bleedout from One technique that can be used to help identify a
the interface is excessive. In many cases inspection nonrelevant indication is wiping off the indication
procedures will require that an assembly be with a solvent dampened, lint free, swab or cloth
completely disassembled before inspection. and reapplying the developer. The original
Press fittings are a source of nonrelevant developer dwell time must be repeated; however,
indications caused by part geometry. It is sometimes the bleedout should be monitored to help evaluate
impossible to completely disassemble a part that the indication. If there is no bleedout, the original
must be inspected. The bleedout of the liquid indication can be considered nonrelevant or false.
penetrant around press fittings can be considerable This technique may also reveal multiple relevant
and can mask relevant indications. In these indications that had previously merged into one or
situations the part must be monitored very closely had been hidden by excessive bleedout from an
during the developer dwell time to properly evaluate adjacent nonrelevant indication during the
the indications as they form. developer dwell.
Another cause of false and nonrelevant
indications is a rough part surface. Rough weld bead
surfaces and weld spatter make welds very

Recommended reading
Subject Reference*
appearance of liquid penetrant indications A
variables affecting indication appearance A
causes of nonrelevant indications A
*See Introduction for explanation of references.
Review Questions

1. One disadvantage of liquid penetrant 5. A penetrant inspection cannot find:


inspection is that:
a. surface porosity.
a. penetrant materials may cause drying b. surface cracks.
and cracking of the skin. c. an internal cavity.
b. large subsurface discontinuities with d. a surface forging lap.
openings to the surface will not form Ref B
indications.
c. it can only be used with nonferrous 6. Which of the methods listed below is most
material. applicable for detecting fine, tight surface
d. the materials are only available in cracks?
aerosol spray cans.
Ref B a. Visible dye, water washable.
b. Visible dye, postemulsifiable.
2. Which of the following is not a physical c. Fluorescent, water washable.
property associated with penetrant d. Fluorescent, postemulsifiable.
materials? Ref B
a. Solvent resistance. 7. The term used to describe the total time
b. Flash point. that penetrant remains on the workpiece is:
c. Viscosity.
d. Chemical inertness. a. immersion.
Ref B b. drain.
c. dwell.
3. The removal of smeared metal by chemical d. presoak.
processes is called: Ref B;Ref C
a. grit or sand blasting. 8. Developer assists in the detection of
b. machining. discontinuities by:
c. etching.
d. quenching. a. providing a contrasting background.
Ref B b. emulsifying the penetrant bleedout.
c. providing a clean surface.
4. A standard classification for a type of d. providing a dry surface.
developer is: Ref B
a. water soluble.
b. water washable.
c. nonfluorescent.
d. solvent removable.
Ref B
32

9. Difficulties with removal of a 12. Which of the following is not an advantage


postemulsifiable penetrant during the rinse of postemulsifiable fluorescent penetrants?
operation can be overcome by:
a. High sensitivity level to detect very
a. reapplying a coating of emulsifier. fine defects.
b. using conditioned (soft) water during b. They are easily removed with water
the washing operation. after proper emulsification dwell time.
c. cleaning, then completely reprocessing c. They are easily removed from sand
the part using a longer emulsification castings after proper emulsification
time. dwell time.
d. increasing the water temperature during d. They have higher tolerance to
the washing operation. variations in the removal process when
Ref B;Ref C compared to water washable
penetrants.
10. Excessive removal of penetrant may result Ref B
in:
13. When using the visible, solvent removable
a. undetected discontinuities during process, after the penetrant dwell time,
evaluation. excess penetrant is removed by:
b. an excessive background that inhibits
the evaluation process. a. spraying solvent on the part and then
c. the need to apply the developer twice wiping with a clean, dry rag or paper
to obtain significant bleedout. towel.
d. small, tight cracks that are easily b. wiping off excess penetrant with a
detected on parts with a smooth clean, dry rag or paper towel,
surface. moistening the part with solvent and
Ref B rewiping the part.
c. wiping off excess penetrant with a
11. Which of the following is an advantage of clean, dry rag or paper towel,
a fluorescent water washable penetrant moistening a clean cloth with solvent
system compared to a fluorescent and rewiping the part.
postemulsifiable penetrant system? d. wiping off excess penetrant with a
clean, dry rag or paper towel, then
a. Water washable is superior for testing rewiping with a cloth soaked with
critical in service parts. solvent.
b. Water washable has fewer processing Ref B
steps.
c. Only wet developer may be used with 14. When using a fluorescent, postemulsifiable
postemulsifiable penetrants. penetrant, the best emulsification time is:
d. Water washable penetrants will more
readily detect fine, tight cracks in a. 10 s.
weldments. b. 5 s.
Ref B c. 2 to 3 s.
d. determined by experimentation
Ref B
33

15. Which type of developer is generally 20. Which of the following describes the
considered the most sensitive for locating comparator that is used to monitor the
fine discontinuities? process performance of the penetrant
system?
a. Solvent suspended.
b. Water soluble a. A panel with one half chrome plated
c. Water suspended. containing five crack centers and the
d. Dry powder. other half grit blasted.
Ref C b. A cracked aluminum block with a
groove in the center.
16. Which of the following penetrant systems c. A chrome plated panel with fine cracks
is the least sensitive? across the face to a depth equal to the
plating thickness.
a. fluorescent, postemulsifiable d. Ceramic coated block with fine cracks
b. visible, solvent removable. extending around the entire panel.
c. fluorescent, solvent removable. Ref B
d. fluorescent, water washable.
Ref B 21. Ultraviolet light intensity is measured with:
17. One method for applying dry developer to a. a digital or analog UV-A meter.
a localized area of a large part is with: b. a photographic light meter.
c. an infrared meter.
a. a brush. d. a standard white light meter.
b. a powder bulb. Ref B
c. an aerosol can.
d. an immersion tank. 22. What instrument is used to check
Ref B hydrophilic emulsifier concentration?
18. Prewash and postwash stations are an a. A hydrometer.
advantage when using which of the b. A capillary fill barometer.
following penetrant methods? c. A centrifuge tube.
d. A refractometer.
a. Visible, lipophilic postemulsifiable. Ref B
b. Fluorescent, hydrophilic
postemulsifiable. 23. The penetrant performance characteristic
c. Visible, water washable. known as sensitivity is defined as the:
d. Fluorescent, lipophilic
postemulsifiable. a. the contrast between an indication and
Ref B the background.
b. ability to produce a visible indication
19. The specific gravity of wet developer is from a small, tight linear discontinuity.
measured with a: c. volume percentage of penetrant that
remains in a discontinuity after
a. developer gage. processing.
b. hydrogage. d. ability to enter a discontinuity to form
c. balance scale. an indication.
d. hydrometer. Ref B
Ref C
34 ASNT Level II Study Guide: Liquid Penetrant Testing

24. A group of nearly rounded indications


located in an area that transitions between
thick and thin sections of aluminum 28. Repeated or cyclic loads below the yield
castings is known as: strength of a material can cause:
a. shrinkage cracks. a. service cracking.
b. gas holes. b. fatigue cracking.
c. laminations. c. intergranular cracking.
d. cracks due to heat treating. d. thermal cracking.
Ref B Ref B
25. Processing a part with developer residue 29. Grinding checks or cracks are caused by:
remaining from a previous penetrant
inspection may result in: a. localized overheating.
b. a slow feed rate.
a. an enhanced background contrast. c. unequal heating or cooling.
b. a more rapid formation of indications. d. rapid cooling from high temperatures.
c. a greatly reduced formation of Ref B
indications.
d. the elimination of a second application 30. Elongated inclusions found in bar stock are
of developer. called:
Ref B
a. seams.
26. For intermediate dwell times, applying b. laps.
fresh penetrant 15 min before removal c. stringers.
assists the process by increasing the: d. contaminants.
Ref B
a. rate of evaporation.
b. time required for the removal
operation. 31. An advantage of the postemulsification
c. rate of penetration. fluorescent penetrant process is that it:
d. sensitivity of the penetrant.
Ref B is very good on rough surfaces such as
sand castings.
27. How does an increase in temperature affect has fewer operations than other
the viscosity of a penetrant? c. penetrant processes.
d.
a. It becomes more viscous and decreases
in flow rate. can be used on anodized surfaces.
b. It becomes less viscous and decreases can be used to detect wide, shallow
in flow rate. discontinuities.
c. It becomes more viscous and increases
in flow rate. Ref B;Ref C
d. It becomes less viscous and increases
in flow rate. 32. What comparison standard has control over
Ref B the depth and quantity of cracks?
a. A stainless steel test panel.
b. A cracked aluminum test block.
c. A ceramic test block.
d. A grit blast panel.
Ref B
Review Questions 35

33. Compared to a certified Level I inspector, 37. Which of the following would not be the
a Level II inspector: cause of a nonrelevant indication?
a. can process all forms of a product. a. Penetrant on the inspection table.
b. is authorized to approve all penetrant b. An improperly cleaned surface.
procedures. c. A corrosion crack.
c. requires more formal training hours d. Penetrant trapped in the threads of a
and work experience. part.
d. can determine the acceptance criteria Ref C
for a part.
Ref B 38. The periodic checks performed to assure
that the penetrant testing system is
34. A limitation on materials used to inspect functioning are called:
nickel alloy welds in a nuclear or pressure
vessel system is that the penetrant a. process control tests.
materials should have: b. maintenance tests.
c. certification tests.
a. d. performance evaluations.
sulfur and halogen residual of 10% or Ref C
less by weight.
b. sulfur, chlorine and fluorine residual of 39. A relevant indication in a casting may be
1 % or less by weight. caused by:
c. chlorine and halogen residual of 5% or
less by weight. a. a burst.
d. halogen and fluoride residual of 10% b. a crater crack.
or less by weight. c. laminations.
Ref B d. porosity.
Ref C
35. A weld discontinuity that appears
starshaped with small indications 40. The relative size of a surface discontinuity
emanating from a central point is a: is estimated based on the indication
a. burst. intensity and the:
b grinding crack.
c. crater crack. a. amount of bleedout.
d heat affected zone (HAZ) crack. b. size and shape.
Ref B c. direction of
bleedout
36. Multiple round or nearly round indications Ref C
scattered on a weld are the result of: 41. Which of the following is a nonrelevant
indication found during penetrant
a. crater pits. inspection?
b. undercut.
c. porosity. a. Marks on the part due to penetrant on
d. weld laps. Ref B the inspector's hands.
b. A press fit insert ring in the bore of a
shaft.
c. Linear indications on a heat treated
weldment.
d. Dry developer residue.
Ref B
36 ASNT Level II Study Guide: Liquid Penetrant Testing

42. A visual method used as acceptance 46. Ultraviolet lights over a fluorescent
criteria for a part uses: penetrant wash station are used to:
a. sized wires. a. verify a uniform coating of penetrant
b. a calibrated scale. has been applied to the part.
c. a testing and monitoring panel. b. verify the emulsifier covers the entire
d. referenced photographs. surface.
Ref C c. monitor the removal of surface
penetrant.
43. The purpose of a penetrant system monitor d. check the cleanliness of parts before
is to provide: processing.
Ref C
a. a method of estimating the cost of
inspection. 47. An advantage of inspecting forgings with
b. verification of the overall processing the penetrant process is that:
system performance.
c. standardization for performing process a. it can detect any type of discontinuity
controls. associated with forgings.
d. the means to reject test objects. b. there are no limitations to the part size
Ref B or shape.
c. forging scale does not interfere with
44. Using a weld standard for interpretation of the test.
indications provides: d. penetrant materials do not have any
adverse affects on any alloy that is
a. reliable acceptance criteria. forged.
b. an accurate method to determine repair Ref B
costs.
c. the format for a test report. 48. Discontinuities that may be found in
d. the means to reject linear indications. aluminum extrusions are:
Ref B; Ref C
a. porosity and inclusions.
45. Dry developer is checked for fluorescent b. laminations.
contamination by: c. cracks.
d. laps and seams.
a. comparing the in-use developer to new Ref B
material.
b. processing a testing and monitoring 49. Which of the following discontinuities are
panel. associated with forgings?
c. a laboratory examination for chemical
composition. a. Tears.
d. viewing under an ultraviolet light for b. Cracks.
fluorescent specks. c. Bursts.
Ref B d. Blow holes.
Ref B
37

Review Question
Answers

1. a 14. d 27. d 40. a


2. a 15. a 28. b 41. b
3. c 16. b 29. a 42. d
4. a 17. b 30. c 43. b
5. c 18. b 31. d 44. a
6. d 19. d 32. a 45. d
7. c 20. a 33. c 46. c
.8. a 21. a 34. b 47. b
9. c 22. d 35. c 48. d
10. a 23. b 36. c 49. c
11. b 24. a 37. c
12. c 25. c 38. a
13. c 26. c 39. d
38 ASNT Level II Study Guide: Liquid Penetrant Testing
Appendix Standard
Terminology for the Liquid
Penetrant Examination
This standard terminology is adapted from ASTM E 1316-94.

Angstrom unit - A unit of length that may be used to express the wavelength of electromagnetic
radiation, that is light. One angstrom unit is equal to 0.1 nanometers.
Background -~ The surface of the test part against which the indication is viewed. It may be the
natural surface of the test part or the developer coating on the surface.
Ultraviolet light - Electromagnetic radiation used for nondestructive testing in the range of
wavelength 330 to 390 nm (3300 to 3900 A), also known as UV-A.
Ultraviolet light filter - A filter that transmits near-ultraviolet radiation while absorbing other
wavelengths.
Bieedout - The action of an entrapped liquid penetrant in surfacing from discontinuities to form
indications.
Blotting - The action of the developer in soaking up the penetrant from the discontinuity to
accelerate bieedout.
Carrier - A liquid, either aqueous or nonaqueous, in which liquid penetrant examination
materials are dissolved or suspended.
Clean - Free of contaminants.
Contaminant ~ Any foreign substance present on the test surface or in the inspection materials
that will adversely affect the performance of liquid penetrant materials.
Contrast - The difference in visibility (brightness or coloration) between an indication and the
background.
Defect - One or more flaws whose aggregate size, shape, orientation, location, or properties do
not meet specified acceptance criteria and are rejectable.
Developer - A material that is applied to the test surface to accelerate bieedout and to enhance
the contrast of indications.
Developer, aqueous - A suspension of developer particles in water.
Developer, dry powder - A fine, freeflowing powder used as supplied.
Developer, liquid film - A suspension of developer particles in a vehicle that leaves a
resin/polymer film on the test surface after drying.
Developer, nonaqueous - Developer particles suspended in a nonaqueous vehicle before
application.
40 ASNT Level II Study Guide: Liquid Penetrant Testing
Developer, soluble - A developer completely soluble in its carrier, not a suspension of powder in a
liquid, which dries to an absorptive coating.
Developing time - The elapsed time between the application of the developer and the
examination of the part.
Discontinuity - A lack of continuity or cohesion; an intentional or unintentional interruption in the
physical structure or configuration of a material or component.
Dragout - The carryout or loss of penetrant materials as a result of their adherence to the test
piece.
Drain time - That portion of the dwell time during which the excess penetrant or emulsifier
drains from the part.
Drying oven - An oven used for increasing the evaporation rate of rinse water or an aqueous
developer vehicle from test parts.
Drying time - The time required for a cleaned, rinsed, or wet developed part to dry.
Dwell time - The total time that the penetrant of emulsifier is in contact with the test surface,
including the time required for application and the drain time.
Electrostatic spraying - A technique for attaining a uniform coating in which the material
sprayed is given an electrical charge.
Emulsification time - The time that an emulsifier is permitted to remain on the part to combine
with the surface penetrant before removal. Also called emulsification dwell time.
Emulsifier - A liquid that interacts with an oily substance to make it water washable.
Emulsifier, hydrophilic - A waterbased liquid used in penetrant examination that interacts with
the penetrant oil rendering it water washable. The hydrophilic is supplied in a concentrate
and is mixed with water to a concentration not exceeding that listed in the QPL.
Emulsifier, lipophilic - An oil based liquid used in penetrant examination that interacts with the
penetrant oil rendering it water washable.
Etching - The removal of surface material by chemical or electrochemical methods.
Evaluation - A review, following interpretation of the indications noted, to determine whether they
meet specified acceptance criteria.
False indication - A nondestructive testing indication that is interpreted to be caused by a
discontinuity at a location where no discontinuity exists.
Family - A complete series of penetrant materials required for the performance of a liquid
penetrant examination. The term Family only applies to Method B and Method D and
only includes the penetrant and the emulsifier. Developers are not part of the Family.
Flaw - An imperfection or discontinuity that may be detectable by nondestructive testing and is
not necessarily rejectable.
Flaw characterization - The process of quantifying the size, shape, orientation, location, growth,
or other properties of a flaw based on nondestructive testing response.
Appendix 1, Standard Terminology for the Liquid Penetrant Examination 41
Fluorescence - The emission of visible radiation by a substance as a result of and only during the
absorption of ultraviolet light radiation.
Footcandle - The illumination on a surface, 1 ft2 in area, on which is uniformly distributed a flux of
1 lm (lumen). It equals 10.8 lm/m2.
Immersion rinse - A means of removing surface penetrant in which the test part is immersed in a
tank of either water or remover.
Imperfection -A departure of a quality characteristic from its intended condition.
Indication - Evidence of a discontinuity that requires interpretation to determine its significance.
Inspection - Visual examination of the test part after completion of the liquid penetrant
processing steps.
Interpretation - The determination of whether indications are relevant or nonrelevant.
Liquid penetrant examination - A nondestructive test that uses suitable liquids that penetrate
discontinuities open to the surface of solid materials and, after appropriate treatment,
indicate the presence of discontinuities.
Nondestructive testing (NDT) - The development and application of technical methods to examine
materials or components in ways that do not impair future usefulness and serviceability in
order to detect, locate, measure and evaluate discontinuities, defects and other
imperfections; to access integrity, properties and composition, and to measure geometrical
characteristics.
Nonrelevant indication -A nondestructive testing indication that is caused by a condition or
type of discontinuity that is not rejectable. False indications are nonrelevant.
Over emulsification - Excessive emulsifier dwell time that results in the removal of penetrants
from some discontinuities.
Over washing - Too long or too vigorous washing, or both, which results in removal of
penetrants from some discontinuities.
Penetrant - A liquid which has been formulated to enter surface discontinuites and which
contains a tracer dye.
Penetrant comparator - An intentionally flawed specimen having separate but adjacent areas for
the application of different liquid penetrant materials so that a direct comparison of their
relative effectiveness can be obtained. It can also be used to evaluate liquid penetrant
techniques, liquid penetrant systems, or test conditions.
Penetrant, fluorescent - A penetrant that emits visible radiation when excited by an ultraviolet
light.
Penetrant, postemulsifiable - A liquid penetrant that requires the application of a separate
emulsifier to render the excess surface penetrant water washable.
Penetrant, solvent removable - A liquid penetrant so formulated that most of the excess surface
penetrant can be removed by wiping with lintfree material, with the remaining surface
penetrant traces removable by further wiping with a lintfree material lightly moistened with
solvent remover.
42 ASNT Level II Study Guide: Liquid Penetrant Testing

Penetrant, visible - A liquid penetrant that is characterized by an intense color, usually red.
Penetrant, water washable - A liquid penetrant with a built-in emulsifier.
Pooling - The existence of excessive amounts of penetrant, emulsifier, or developer in an
incompletely drained area.
Post cleaning - The removal of residual liquid penetrant examination materials from the test part
after the penetrant examination has been completed.
Post emulsification - A penetrant removal technique employing a separate emulsifier.
Precleaning - The removal of surface contaminants from the test part so that they will not
interfere with the examination process.
Relevant indication - A nondestructive testing indication that is caused be a condition or type of
discontinuity that requires evaluation.
Rinse - The process of removing liquid penetrant examination materials from the surface of a
test part by means of washing or flooding with another liquid, usually water. The process is
also termed wash.
Solvent remover - A volatile liquid penetrant used to remove excess from the surface being
examined.
Temperature envelope - The temperature range over which a particular penetrant inspection test
will operate.
Viscosity - The property of a fluid that presents a resistance to shearing flow.
Visible light - Electromagnetic radiation in the 400 to 700 nm wavelength range.
Visual adaptation - The adjustment of the eyes when one passes from a bright to a darkened
place.
Water tolerance - The amount of water that a penetrant or emulsifier can absorb before its
effectiveness is impaired.
Wetting action - The ability of a liquid to spread over and adhere to solid surfaces.