Liquid Penetrant Examination (LPE)

Last update: Jan 13, 2017

Liquid Penetrant Examination (LPE), also referred to as penetrant testing (PT), liquid penetrant testing (LP), and dye penetrant testing (DP), is a nondestructive examination (NDE) method that utilizes fluorescent dye to reveal surface flaws on parts and equipment which might not otherwise be visible. The technique works via the principle of “capillary action,” a process where a liquid flows into a narrow space without help from gravity. Because it is one of the easiest and least expensive NDE techniques to perform, LPE is one of the most commonly used inspection techniques in many industries, including oil and gas. 

While this method is effective due to its simplicity and accuracy, it does have its share of disadvantages as well. It can only detect flaws on the surface. So for subsurface flaws, a technique like magnetic particle testing (MPT) is more appropriate. It also only works on smooth surfaces, which can make it unsuitable for some parts.

 

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