Nondestructive Examination (NDE)

Last update: Jan 17, 2017

Nondestructive Examination (NDE), also referred to as as nondestructive testing (NDT), consists of a wide variety of inspection techniques that one can use on equipment to detect the presence of damage mechanisms, characterize findings, and size them without causing any damage to the equipment itself. This is opposed to destructive testing where the part being tested is damaged or destroyed during the testing process. The information gathered during NDE inspections can be used for many reasons, such as determining the current damage state of equipment, gauging the impact of operating conditions on equipment integrity, making more accurate predictions about remaining equipment life, and as input for advanced remaining life evaluations (e.g., RBI, FFS, design reviews, etc.). NDE may be prescribed by codes and standards, both pre-and post-construction, and may be required by regulators and insurers.

NDE inspections are an integral part of the oil & gas industries along with several other industries such as aerospace, automotive, chemicals, and defense. It is important for all refinery, chemical plant, gas plant, and pipeline owners to have a thorough understanding of NDE and the capability to carry out NDE on components when necessary. This is because most codes and standards require periodic examination of machinery and components, and thus being able to effectively carry out these inspections as they come up is an integral part of ensuring safety and reliable operation.

Some examples of NDE include:

Performing NDE on critical equipment and components during the fabrication QA/QC process is growing in popularity as this provides the baseline for inspections following commissioning. This eliminates guesswork on things like original thicknesses and provides baseline knowledge of issues presented when equipment went into service. This knowledge helps owner-users monitor whether or not a potential issue is advancing and the extent and rate of its growth. These are important considerations for effective asset integrity management (i.e., managing equipment from cradle-to-grave safely and reliably).

The quality and capability of NDE technologies have greatly improved over the last couple decades. Now NDE can often be conducted, with qualifiers, from the OD of equipment, while it is on-stream, or as an effective replacement to internal inspection. This not only reduces certain risks to personnel, but it provides an opportunity to gather better data than ever before.

Relevant Links

Recommend changes or revisions to this definition.

REGISTER FOR INSPECTIONEERING'S WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

Join 8,000+ fellow asset integrity professionals! Get Inspectioneering's latest information straight to your inbox. Enter your information below:


Advancements in CUI Detection and Overview of MsS Guided Wave
November/December 2016 Inspectioneering Journal
By Adam Gardner at PinnacleART

Beyond the financial hits, undetected degradation from corrosion can also lead to critical safety risks. To effectively manage mechanical integrity, organizations need reliable methods of identifying the current states of corrosion occurring within their assets.

November/December 2016 Inspectioneering Journal
By Michael Turnquist at Quest Integrity Group

This article exhibits how modern inspection methodologies combined with innovative computational analysis practices demonstrate the value of conducting fitness-for-service (FFS) assessments on sectional piping.

Remote Integrity Monitoring of High Criticality Equipment in Real Time
September/October 2016 Inspectioneering Journal
By Dr. Jake Davies at Permasense Ltd.

Remote monitoring solutions are making it possible to avoid sending personnel into harsh environments without forgoing the essential data gathering that keeps assets safely operating.

Detecting and Quantifying Cracks Using Eddy Current Array
September/October 2016 Inspectioneering Journal
By Kimberley Hayes at Olympus

Detecting, quantifying, and sizing indications characterized as a “crack” in critical equipment have long been the global benchmark of asset integrity programs. Therefore, the increased precision that inspection programs obtain using advanced technologies can dynamically improve the overall assessment.

Choosing the Right Smart Pigging Technology – Lessons Learned
September/October 2016 Inspectioneering Journal
By Tim Haugen at Quest Integrity Group

Although all ultrasonic smart pigging providers claim the ability to detect wall thinning and tube deformations to some degree, the inspection surface coverage, resolution, minimum wall thickness detection and reporting capabilities may vary drastically from one service provider to the next. Knowing your provider’s capabilities is crucial for ensuring the integrity of your assets, as one refinery recently discovered.

The Future of NDT Looks Bright from ASNT
Blog
October 27, 2016 By Hannah Boon at Inspectioneering, LLC

ASNT’s 2016 Annual Conference took place this week in Long Beach, CA and was a special event celebrating “75 years of Success in Creating a Safer World.” The event brought together over 2,000 technicians, researchers, and other professionals from around the world to discuss ideas, best practices, new technologies, and lessons learned on nondestructive testing (NDT). With more than 200 exhibitors, there was certainly something to gain for everyone in the NDT community.

Auto-Ignition of Ultrasonic Couplants During Thickness Gauging and Corrosion Mapping
July/August 2016 Inspectioneering Journal
By Gene Larson at ECHO Ultrasonics

This article details the basis for the lack of understanding about the potential for ultrasonic couplant auto-ignition and outlines an ALARP operating practice for mitigation.

Embracing a New Approach to Retroactive PMI
July/August 2016 Inspectioneering Journal
By Brian Wilson at Thermo Fisher Scientific

The instrumentation available to detect inadvertent material substitutions through positive material identification (PMI) has never been more available, portable or powerful than it is today. For one industrial services company, Tacten Industrial, Inc., embracing the latest technological advances in PMI while using rope access to conduct inspections has helped to transform their business. It has found the ideal formula for retroactive PMI that allows its team and its clients to rest assured that they’ve conducted their testing right – the first time.

Digital Radiography of Welds Using Flat Panel Detector Base Image Sensors
July/August 2016 Inspectioneering Journal
By Sanjoy Das at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, and D. Mukherjee at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre

The structural integrity of components is controlled by material properties, the presence of flaws, and levels of applied stress. Several factors such as temperature, type of loading, toughness, corrosion resistance, micro-structural stability, cost etc. dictate the suitable material for the desired application.

Detection of Defects and Corrosion Under Pipe Supports and Inaccessible Areas Using EMAT Medium Range UT Techniques
May/June 2016 Inspectioneering Journal
By Borja Lopez at Innerspec Technologies, Inc.

In the last few years, electromagnetic acoustic transducer (EMAT) has come to prominence for its ability to quickly scan exposed pipelines for corrosion, cracks, and other defects using medium-range guided waves and without the requirement for liquid couplants.

Global, simultaneous inspection with Acoustic Emission Testing
Partner Content

AET is a powerful, non-intrusive inspection technique to verify the structural integrity of pressure vessels, spheres, high-temperature reactors and piping, coke drums, above-ground storage tanks, cryogenic storage tanks, and more.

Improving Confidence in On-Stream Inspections of Pressure Equipment
May/June 2016 Inspectioneering Journal
By Dr. Yury Sokolov at SVT Engineering Consultants

RBI and NII are designed to achieve significant cost savings and risk mitigation benefits over a piece of equipment’s lifetime in the long term (e.g. through greater reliability and inspection optimization). It is important to strategically consider new NDE technologies to obtain data of sufficient confidence to satisfy the requirements of the risk model.

Advancements in Positive Material Identification Tools Bring Accuracy and Convenience to the Work Site
March/April 2016 Inspectioneering Journal
By Mark Lessard at Thermo Fisher Scientific

In numerous industries that require elemental and material testing, including the oil and gas, power generation, and petrochemical industries, positive material identification (PMI) is at the forefront of any operation. In fact, an increasing number of facilities are adopting a 100% PMI program to ensure that every metal component is made up of exactly the desired chemical composition.

Ultrasonic Phased Array Tools for  High-Resolution Corrosion Inspection
March/April 2016 Inspectioneering Journal
By André Lamarre at Olympus Scientific Solutions Americas

This article highlights the evolution of corrosion monitoring from conventional ultrasonic to ultrasonic phased array manual and automated solutions and their use for both general purposes and complex applications.

Advanced NDT for Plant Life Assessment
March/April 2016 Inspectioneering Journal
By Mike Brown at Sentinel Integrity Solutions

While there are many types of advanced NDT, this article will focus on the use of acoustics and electromagnetism as the bases for conducting examinations.

Ultrasonic Sensor System for Wall-Thickness Monitoring
March/April 2016 Inspectioneering Journal
By Dr. James N. Barshinger at Sensor Networks, Inc., Bruce A. Pellegrino at Sensor Networks, Inc., and Michael Nugent at Equity Engineering Group

While there are many methods for measuring equipment wall thickness, a predominant method used in the O&G and power generation industries is portable ultrasonic equipment. Ultrasonic testing is non-intrusive because it is applied to the outside of a pipe or vessel. It is an accurate and relatively low cost non-destructive examination (NDE) method to deploy in most situations.

Partner Content

Offshore platforms are exposed to some of the roughest conditions on earth and require regular attention to ensure they are structurally sound and safe for continued operation. With so many components and major joints at elevated locations, it is clear why a well-trained rope access technician can be an invaluable resource for offshore operators.