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Nondestructive Testing (NDT)

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Nondestructive Testing (NDT) consists of a variety of non-invasive inspection techniques used to evaluate material properties, components, or entire process units. The techniques can also be utilized to detect, characterize, or measure the presence of damage mechanisms (e.g. corrosion or cracks). NDT is also commonly referred to as nondestructive examination (NDE), nondestructive evaluation (NDE), and nondestructive inspection (NDI). Many NDT techniques are capable of locating defects and determining the features of the defects such as size, shape, and orientation. The purpose of NDT is to inspect a component in a safe, reliable, and cost effective manner without causing damage to the equipment or shutting down plant operations. This is in contrast to destructive testing where the part being tested is damaged or destroyed during the inspection process.

NDT can be performed during or after manufacture, or even on equipment that is in service. In manufacturing, NDT inspections determine if parts are fit for a desired function. In other words, parts are inspected to ensure they will last a certain amount of time or cycles before failure. During operation, NDT inspections can be used to asses the current damage state of equipment, monitor damage mechanisms, and make informed decisions for remaining equipment life evaluations (e.g., RBI, FFS).

Overview of NDT Methods

NDT methods can generally be classified into two categories: conventional and advanced. Each method has its own characteristic advantages and limitations. More information on each test can be found in their respective Integripedia definitions.

Conventional NDT Techniques

Conventional methods are techniques that have matured over the course of decades and in this time, have become well-documented in codes, standards, and best practices. The setup and procedure of a conventional technique is typically simpler in comparison to advanced methods.

Advanced NDT Techniques

Advanced methods tend to be less understood as they progress as emerging technologies, e.g. uncertain advantages or limitations, lack of technician qualification criteria, or little to no industry codification. Generally, the setup, procedure, and data interpretation of advanced methods is more complicated and can require specialized understanding and experience from a properly trained technician.

Furthermore, some methods can be further broken down into conventional and advanced techniques. Take two forms of ultrasonic testing for example, straight beam ultrasonic testing (UT) is a conventional technique used in simple applications whereas phased array ultrasonic testing (PAUT) is an advanced UT technique. As advanced techniques mature, new and more advanced versions of each emerge to start a new cycle of technical understanding and technician training.

Overall, NDT offers many advantages compared to destructive testing. The testing equipment is often portable and can be performed numerous times on a single component. The component itself can be thoroughly evaluated externally and internally for harmful flaws. The disadvantage is that the results are often qualitative and may be repeated and interpreted differently by various inspectors.

Industry Applications of NDT

NDT inspections are an integral part of the oil and gas and petrochemical industries, along with several other industries, including chemicals, aerospace, automotive, and defense. The overall goal of all these industries is to detect flaws in components to reduce failure and increase reliability.

In the petrochemical industry, NDT inspections are utilized throughout a facility’s lifecycle. This cradle-to-grave approach is an important element of asset integrity management. Furthermore, NDT inspections provide historical data about the facility’s process units and provide information on how often a component should be inspected, repaired, or replaced. Inspection intervals and tests may be changed depending on where the equipment is in its life-cycle (e.g. newly manufactured equipment vs. aging equipment). Performing multiple assessments throughout the equipment’s life-cycle may seem expensive. However, inspections conducted at specific intervals may end up saving an organization millions of dollars if testing reveals threats and equipment is repaired before shutting down the facility or experiencing a catastrophic failure.

The most common pieces of equipment that undergo inspection in the petrochemical industry are storage tanks, heat exchangers, pressure vessels, and piping systems. When planning an NDT inspection, there are four considerations one should account for:

  1. The type of damage mechanism to be inspected for
  2. The minimum detectable flaw size, shape, and orientation of the defect
  3. Where the defect is located (surface or internal)
  4. The sensitivities and limitations of the NDT method

With the above factors considered, operators can optimize facility production and increase personnel and environmental safety.

Codes and Standards

NDT is often prescribed by codes and standards for the fabrication of components, safety critical parts, and in-service equipment. Therefore, it is critical for all refinery, chemical plant, gas plant, and pipeline owners to have thorough understanding and experience in the interdisciplinary field of NDT. In addition to the factors listed above (Industry Application section) personnel should continuously develop knowledge about evolving technology and performing up-to-date procedures.

Specific codes, standards, specifications, regulations, and recommended practices may depend on the country and industry performing NDT. The following is a list of organizations (standards bodies) that develop and publish industrial codes, standards, and recommended practices for NDT methods relating to the oil and gas and chemical processing industries:

A complete list of regulations created by the U.S. government may be found in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Regulations critical to the petrochemical and chemical processing industries can be found under Title 10, Energy, and Title 49, Transportation.1

Training and Certification

Levels of Certification

Many NDT programs have three levels of qualification. A brief description of Level I, Level II, and Level III qualifications are outlined below and found in the ASNT Recommended Practice No. SNT-TC-1A document.2

Level I: At the end of a Level I certification program, individuals should be able to perform specific calibrations, specific NDT, and specific evaluations to determine if a component should be accepted or rejected for service.

Level II: Level II individuals should have the same abilities as Level I individuals and additionally, should be able to set-up, calibrate, perform, and evaluate NDT results with respect to applicable codes, standards, and specifications.

Level III: The highest qualified level of NDT personnel should have the same abilities as Level II individuals and additionally, be able to develop and qualify procedures, establish and approve techniques, interpret codes, standards, specifications and procedures, and assign particular NDT methods to use in specific applications.

Certification Requirements

Requirements are based on a combination of training, examination, and experience. Training is based on an accumulation of training course outlines from the NDT Body of Knowledge document. More detail on the ASNT NDT Body of Knowledge can be found in the ANSI/ASNT American National Standard CP-105. The purpose of the Body of Knowledge is to describe the knowledge and skills needed for different levels of certification. Several types of examinations are also necessary to meet minimum requirements and to recertify. Individuals may have to take a written exam, specific exam, or a practical exam depending on the certification desired. Experience in NDT or NDT-related fields as well as on-the-job training programs are also considered for certification.

Accredited Bodies for Training and Certification

American Petroleum Institute (API) — API offers numerous Individual Certification Programs (ICPs) specific to NDT personnel in the petroleum and petrochemical industries.

American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT) — ASNT is a globally recognized organization that offers credentials for NDT personnel in a broad range of industries. Current certification programs include ASNT NDT Level II, ASNT NDT Level III, ASNT Central Certification Program (ACCP), and Industrial Radiography and Radiation Safety Personnel (IRRSP).

British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing (BINDT) — BINDT is an accredited certification body and offers a Personnel Certification in Non-Destructive Testing (PCN).

International Standards Organization (ISO) — ISO 9712 (Non-destructive testing -- Qualification and certification of NDT personnel) is a published standard that details the requirements for qualification and certification of personnel that perform NDT.

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) — NRCan manages the Non-Destructive Testing Certification Body (NDTCB) which offers a Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) certification.

The Welding Institute (TWI) — TWI offers personnel credentials through their accredited CSWIP certification schemes.

References

  1. 2016, “Codes and Standards Bodies Involved in NDT Industry,” ASNT.
  2. 2016, “Recommended Practice No. SNT-TC-1A: Personnel Qualification and Certification in Nondestructive Testing (2016),” ASNT.

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Authors: Borja Lopez
Partner Content

Becht’s industry-leading Corrosion and Metallurgical experts are here to help with significant owner-operator experience covering the refining, petrochemical and chemical industries. This expertise is leveraged to help our clients become more...

November/December 2015 Inspectioneering Journal

Once upon a time in the land of Ooze, there were two processing plants that boiled oil to make fuels and various other valuable petrochemical products. On one side of the river, rests a site called Perfecto Process Plant, while just across the river...

Authors: John Reynolds
November/December 2015 Inspectioneering Journal

Once upon a time in the land of Ooze, there were two processing plants that boiled oil to make fuels and various other valuable petrochemical products. On one side of the river, rests a site called Perfecto Process Plant, while just across the river...

Authors: John Reynolds
September/October 2015 Inspectioneering Journal

While computed tomography (CT) scans are common and well-known as a critical evaluation tool in the medical field, they are becoming increasingly important in industrial settings. Recent automation, speed, and accuracy developments are driving the...

Authors: Shana Telesz
September/October 2015 Inspectioneering Journal

While computed tomography (CT) scans are common and well-known as a critical evaluation tool in the medical field, they are becoming increasingly important in industrial settings. Recent automation, speed, and accuracy developments are driving the...

Authors: Shana Telesz
July/August 2015 Inspectioneering Journal

Readers were previously introduced to some of the practical advantages of EMAT Ultrasonic Testing (UT) in the March/April 2013 and July/August 2013 issues of Inspectioneering Journal. In this article, I will cover the practical advantages of EMAT...

Authors: Borja Lopez
Partner Content

TEAM’s integrated touch point corrosion program manages all aspects of the integrity process from screening for damage to permanent repair assuring integrity – every time. TEAM’s unique turn-key approach to touch point corrosion integrity...

July/August 2015 Inspectioneering Journal

Refinery, petrochemical, and storage tank operators are responsible for properly cleaning facility tanks on a periodic maintenance basis, typically in 20 to 30 year increments. This article provides a suggested “checklist” of inspection...

Authors: Robert Frater
May/June 2015 Inspectioneering Journal

Verifying pipeline integrity is particularly challenging due to the difficulty of pipeline access, as well as the limitations in available technology to perform subsea wall thickness inspections. These challenges require action rather than reaction.

Blog

Nondestructive Testing (NDT) makes up the majority of testing performed in our industry. There many different types of nondestructive testing techniques. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages; each can detect different types of flaws....

Authors: Nick Schmoyer
Blog

These are interesting times when it comes to inspection technology in the process industries. With the advent of big data, mobile and wireless technology, and various other technological advances, we thought it would be a good idea to provide a...

Authors: Nick Schmoyer
Blog

Because radiography involves the use of large amounts ionizing radiation, safety is integral for the technician, the public, and the environment.

Partner Content

TEAM provides full inline, onsite and, shop valve repair services and maintenance programs for virtually all valve types, brands, sizes, materials, pressures, and operating conditions, including actuators and operators. Our valve repair solution is...

March/April 2015 Inspectioneering Journal

Rope access allows for a wide variety of work to be performed at high elevations or other hard to reach areas without the use of scaffolding or heavy equipment. It has evolved from techniques used in rock climbing and caving to become an extremely...

Authors: Andy Kates
March/April 2015 Inspectioneering Journal

Rope access allows for a wide variety of work to be performed at high elevations or other hard to reach areas without the use of scaffolding or heavy equipment. It has evolved from techniques used in rock climbing and caving to become an extremely...

Authors: Andy Kates
March/April 2015 Inspectioneering Journal

Refractory materials have significantly evolved during the past 15 years, testing technology is much more sophisticated, and the need for test technicians to be properly trained and experienced to use that technology is much more important than it...

Authors: Jeremy Wimberly
March/April 2015 Inspectioneering Journal

The tubes of heat exchangers (HX), whether for a shell and tube bundle or an airfin, are typically subject to some form of nondestructive examination (NDE) to try and quantify the remaining wall thicknesses and corrosion rates to help a plant to...

Authors: A.C. Gysbers
March/April 2015 Inspectioneering Journal

Weld inspection using lasers is not new, but doing it 75 meters inside a pipe or streaming inspection data wirelessly is new. As laser technology has improved, more industries such as oil & gas are beginning to require laser inspection as part of...

Partner Content

TEAM believes that quality inspections are the key to reliability. Our inspection crews are made up of specialty trained, experienced technicians who adhere to the highest quality standards. Our API 653 inspectors deliver thorough, reliable...

March/April 2015 Inspectioneering Journal

The ability to gain this unique perspective has recently become easier and safer with today’s technological advancements. This new technology comes in the form of a miniature flying machine, better known as a drone or small Unmanned Aerial System...

Blog

We talk about heat exchangers quite a bit here on Inspectioneering, most recently in the January/February issue of the Journal. This is because heat exchangers are vital pieces of equipment in nearly every type of plant or facility.

March/April 2015 Inspectioneering Journal

This article provides a discussion of a recent inspection performed at a U.S. refinery. Industry HF lines are experiencing piping failures in increasing numbers due to the presence of residual elements entrained within their carbon steel components.

Blog

The 2015 API Spring Refining and Equipment Standards Meeting will be held at the Seattle Sheraton during the week of April 13-16, with plenty of interesting meetings for Inspectioneers.  You do not need...

Authors: John Reynolds
January/February 2015 Inspectioneering Journal

The future of inspection will be based on predictive and proactive technologies that effectively monitor material properties of structures and systems over their entire service life.

Partner Content

In this interim report, Pinnacle analysts take data from the oil refining industry and dive into how that key sector is being affected by reliability today. Download your free copy!

Blog

The development of advanced NDE techniques/tools is one of the reasons the inspection trade has taken significant steps forward in the last couple decades; and the advancements appear to be accelerating.  One of the many ways to keep up with...

Authors: John Reynolds
November/December 2014 Inspectioneering Journal

Tube and shell heat exchangers are required to operate continuously in tough conditions for years, coping with thermal cycling, corrosive fluids on the tube and shell side, vibration and fouling of many different types, all collaborating towards...

Authors: Dr. Noam Amir
November/December 2014 Inspectioneering Journal

The introduction of PAUT is a challenging effort initially, but can have a very positive impact on your first TAR and become a routine inspection for future TARs. When fully implemented, radiation safety boundaries can be reduced significantly or...

November/December 2014 Inspectioneering Journal

Steam reformers are critical assets for the successful operation of hydrogen, ammonia, and methanol plants. The steam reformer is also one of the most expensive assets in these facilities. Catalyst tubes inside the reformer are one of the most...

Authors: Kelsey Hevner
Blog

Over recent years large strides have been made in application, development, and utilization of Digital Detector Arrays (DDAs) in field radiography environments. The use of industrial digital radiography shows benefits of significantly reduced...

Authors: Nick Schmoyer
Partner Content

How is reliability affecting your bottom line? Download our Economics of Reliability report, where Pinnacle analysts take data from the oil refining industry and dive into how that key sector is being affected by reliability today.

September/October 2014 Inspectioneering Journal

Maintaining mechanical integrity for aging power boilers can be challenging. This article provides a case study on how mitigating one damage mechanism led to the discovery of another, and how refinery engineers collaborated with industry experts to...

September/October 2014 Inspectioneering Journal

For the past 30 years, infrared (IR) thermometry has been used to monitor tube metal temperatures in refining and chemical furnaces. Tracking temperature levels and variations determine performance capability limits and reliable tube life. However,...

Authors: Tim Hill
September/October 2014 Inspectioneering Journal

A small leak from top tubesheet-to-tube welds prompted further inspection of the 1¼Cr- ½Mo Ammonia Converter Boiler Feed Water (BFW) Exchanger during a planned shutdown. Further cracks were identified in the top channel to tubesheet butt weld that...

May/June 2014 Inspectioneering Journal

The following interview with Rich Roberts provides answers to some of the questions our readers have about small, specially designed pigs carrying NDE technologies that can inspect nearly every area of a tube from the coils interior surface.

Authors: Jeremiah Wooten
March/April 2014 Inspectioneering Journal

New inline inspections and integrity management systems allow operators to understand the complexities and economics of terminals’ and station’s complex aging pipeline infrastructure.

Partner Content

Download Pinnacle's Economics of Reliability Report - Refining to see how reliability is affecting profitability.

Blog

A question was posed to me regarding guidelines for routine external inspection of spheres, including procedural approaches along with any nondestructive examination (NDE). Here are two approaches to inspection of spheres, and a mixture of the two,...

Authors: Greg Alvarado
January/February 2014 Inspectioneering Journal

UAS (Unmanned Arial System) drone technology has numerous applications, including anything at elevated heights or where human access and/or occupancy are prohibited, or in the case of confined spaces, limited.

Authors: Jason C. Shankle
January/February 2014 Inspectioneering Journal

Technicians inspecting oil & gas installations and petrochemical plants employ a wide variety of nondestructive testing (NDT) techniques. A new technology has recently been developed that utilizes a real-time portable imaging device which has...

November/December 2013 Inspectioneering Journal

Over recent years large strides have been made in application, development, and utilization of Digital Detector Arrays (DDAs) in field radiography environments (an application previously limited to film and computed radiography [CR] techniques).

November/December 2013 Inspectioneering Journal

To understand the current non-destructive testing (NDT) world, it is perhaps a good idea to look back at things historically. By doing this, changes which have taken place become apparent, and very soon one can conclude that this is actually quite...

Authors: Jan Verkooijen
Partner Content

Traditional pressure vessel inspections often require taking assets out of service. However, MISTRAS’ Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) programs provide data as good or better than internal inspections, while assets remain in service. NII is...

September/October 2013 Inspectioneering Journal

Maintaining the mechanical integrity of above ground storage tanks (AST’s) is the focal point of tank inspection programs. Performing internal inspections is an integral part of a tank integrity program, however, deciding when to take a tank out...

Authors: Sam Ternowchek
July/August 2013 Inspectioneering Journal

Non-contact ultrasonic testing with EMAT was formally introduced in part one of this series found in the March/April issue of Inspectioneering Journal. Readers were introduced to the practical advantages of EMAT Ultrasonic Testing.

Authors: Borja Lopez
July/August 2013 Inspectioneering Journal

Remote metallography, in-place metallography, in-situ metallography, and field replication are all examples of typical trade names of this great tool used for assessing the condition of a metal component.

Authors: Oscar Quintero
May/June 2013 Inspectioneering Journal

Refineries and chemical plants own and operate numerous process heaters (e.g. gas reformers, CCRs, etc.) as part of the standard assets throughout the facilities. Many heater coil configuration designs are flanged at both ends; however, there are...

March/April 2013 Inspectioneering Journal

This is the first in a series of three articles that will introduce Electro Magnetic Acoustic Transducer (EMAT) and its practical applications in the field of nondestructive testing (NDT). EMAT, or Electro Magnetic Acoustic Transducer, is an...

Authors: Borja Lopez
Partner Content

Traditional, paper-based inspection processes can prevent plants from being as effective as they can be. By digitalizing your mechanical integrity process and data with MISTRAS Digital®, plants have realized up to 75% gains in IDMS data entry and...

January/February 2013 Inspectioneering Journal

This article is the third of a series of articles that will focus on one critical sub process within a PEIP that is key in managing the integrity of process piping: thickness monitoring programs for internal corrosion. These articles will discuss...

Authors: A.C. Gysbers
November/December 2012 Inspectioneering Journal

A unique technique for inspecting and cleaning the floors of an Above Ground Storage Tank (AST) emerged in the late 90’s based on In-Service Robotic Technology. The technology has come a long way since then, with new inspection and tank cleaning...

Authors: Gary Penney
September/October 2012 Inspectioneering Journal

The refining industry has applied ultrasonic-based intelligent pigging to inspect serpentine coils in fired heaters since the 1990s. Today, thousands of serpentine coils in fired heaters are inspected annually at process facilities around the globe.

May/June 2012 Inspectioneering Journal

Over the past 100 years, Nondestructive testing has made tremendous advances. New NDT methods have been introduced, while old "tried and true" methods continue to be improved. Although some NDT methods have drastically changed or "evolved" over...

Authors: Jason Butz
March/April 2012 Inspectioneering Journal

The new capabilities being developed through the Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) Modeling and Simulation Center are expect- ed to reduce the time, cost and complexity of approaches used to develop and demonstrate NDE techniques to meet regulatory...

Partner Content

Gecko's TOKA Flex robot is designed to give unprecedented access to piping systems with a robust ultrasonic data-collection capability. The Flex, our most advanced RUG robot, is equipped to find and collect the critical inspection data you need....

January/February 2012 Inspectioneering Journal

Concerns about the reliability of ultrasonic in-service inspections conducted at nuclear power plants led the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to draft a proposed qualification document in October 1984. Representatives from industry, the...

January/February 2012 Inspectioneering Journal

The design and fabrication of nuclear pressure vessels and piping components are governed by the rules of Section III of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code. This Code, which aims to to ensure high...

November/December 2011 Inspectioneering Journal

EPRI is investigating improved inspection technologies as part of a multi-faceted effort to enhance the understanding and management of underground piping and tanks at nuclear power plants. An ultrasonic immersion technique tested on an...

July/August 2011 Inspectioneering Journal

Once again there is a crack found in the inlet tubesheet in your high-pressure high temperature heat exchanger. As head of the maintenance engineering effort, you know that plant management will ask you if it can run safely and reliability until...

May/June 2011 Inspectioneering Journal

As the technology of NDT systems improve, it is important to assure that the people and processes using this technology are adequately prepared in order to take full advantage of the enhancements of the system.

Authors: Joey Poret
Partner Content

The OmniScan X3 flaw detector is a complete phased array toolbox. Powerful tools, like total focusing method (TFM) images and advanced visualization capabilities, enable you to complete your inspection with greater confidence.

January/February 2011 Inspectioneering Journal

Describes a non-destructive sampling procedure which records and preserves the topography of a metallographic specimen as a negative relief on a plastic film (replica).

Authors: Leo Vega
November/December 2010 Inspectioneering Journal

Understanding, predicting, detecting and controlling high-temperature hydrogen attack (HTHA), have been elusive goals of materials engineers and scientists for over 70 years. The destruction of low alloy steel components exposed to hydrogen through...

November/December 2010 Inspectioneering Journal

Rapid industrial and technological growth throughout the world makes it necessary to develop new materials along with advanced Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) Methods to ensure their quality without premature failures. The complex modern system, where...

July/August 2010 Inspectioneering Journal

CUI (Corrosion Under Insulation) has always been a challenge for plant operators, quality assurance/reliability engineers and equipment owners. It is hard to identify the problem until it has become an emergency situation, often leading to unit shut...

Authors: Santhosh Lukose
July/August 2009 Inspectioneering Journal

We have been introduced to Infrared Thermography (IRT) since World War I and over the last decade the application of this technique has gained impetus. Today, the IRT application is widely used and accepted by many industries such as power...

Authors: M.Z. Umar
Partner Content

Antea delivers highly flexible risk-based asset integrity software with 3D Digital Twin integration to optimize maintenance, reduce risk, and improve mechanical integrity for oil and gas, power generation, and chemical plants and facilities. Whether...

March/April 2009 Inspectioneering Journal

History has taught us that we should trust, but verify! Verification of alloys to ensure they are composed of the correct alloying elements has been the realm of handheld x-ray fluorescence for the past four decades. Industries ranging from...

January/February 2009 Inspectioneering Journal

Ultrasonic thickness gages have progressed a long way since their early development in the 1960's. The first thickness gages were large and bulky although they used the same conventional longitudinal (compressional wave) techniques still in use...

Authors: Dan Carnevale
November/December 2008 Inspectioneering Journal

High energy piping (HEP) systems, main stream lines and hot reheat lines (typically low chrome molybdenum steels), are susceptible to creep damage can lead to leaks, and in extreme cases, catastrophic rupture. To ensure safe and reliable...

November/December 2008 Inspectioneering Journal

A picture is worth a thousand words and thousands of dollars. There are many instances where in-service inspection reports are greatly enhanced by including photographic documentation. Using a conventional high quality 35 mm camera requires...

September/October 2008 Inspectioneering Journal

You're at 32,000 feet in an airplane when you look out the window. You observe the wing of the jet moving up and down with the turbulence, like a child bending a coat hanger over and over again until the wire fractures into two pieces. You wonder...

Authors: Richard Green
Partner Content

Pro-Surve recently invested in the latest portable Higher Order Modes Clusters (HOMC) Guided Wave Testing tool, a new concept for the inspection of inaccessible regions using short-range guided waves. Inspection is carried out from the accessible...

July/August 2008 Inspectioneering Journal

This paper covers most of the common (and some not so common) types of NDE methods for heat exchanger (HX) tubular in-service inspections. In addition to noting some of the various advantages and limitations with these methods, the paper covers heat...

July/August 2008 Inspectioneering Journal

The following is an interview with Scot Haines, (Corrosion Engineering Advisor). The IJ wishes to thank Scot and the Hess Corporation for taking the time to share with the "IJ" community.

Authors: Greg Alvarado
March/April 2008 Inspectioneering Journal

A unique technique for inspecting the floors of aboveground storage tank's (AST) emerged in the late 90's based on in-service robotic technology. The technology has come a long way since then, with new inspection and tank cleaning capabilities,...

Authors: Vincent Summa
January/February 2008 Inspectioneering Journal

Most common radiographic practices for circumferential weld testing are single wall and double wall techniques with certain variations in technique details. Different Codes deal with the number of exposures required and applicability of the...

July/August 2007 Inspectioneering Journal

The integrity of pipelines is a natural concern for pipeline operators, and so the ability to detect corrosion, erosion and mechanical damage in pipes is therefore of significant interest. Traditional methods of detection, such as pigging and...

Partner Content

Superior inspection results, a best-in-class user interface, great ergonomics and rugged design, unrivaled connectivity options, and much more. The Krautkrämer USM 100 is a revolutionary ultrasonic flaw detector that uncomplicates your...

July/August 2007 Inspectioneering Journal

Degradation of materials with time during service is a common phenomenon for all engineering components. Hence periodic inspection is required to ensure structural integrity and availability for service. During in-service inspection (ISI), wall...

May/June 2007 Inspectioneering Journal

Tube Inspection is a vital tool for the refining and petrochemical industries. Heat exchangers and condensers are designed to sustain 100% separation between the products in the tube (tube side) and the products in the vessel (shell side). A...

Authors: Brian Beresford
May/June 2006 Inspectioneering Journal

On 11 December 2005, fuel at the Buncefield storage ter- minal near London exploded. The incident and immediate aftermath were described in the March-April 2006 edition of IJ. The investigation into the disaster began at the end of January. Three...

May/June 2006 Inspectioneering Journal

The term "certification" has been used and abused over the decades since the 1960's when American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT) published its first Recommended Practice, SNT-TC-1A, 2001, our comments are meant to clear up an de-mystify...

Authors: Paul Marks
May/June 2006 Inspectioneering Journal

A new national research centre located in Port Talbot, Wales, is set to play a critical role in ensuring the future safety of materials and components. The Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) Validation Centre was officially opened on 6 February 2006 by...

March/April 2006 Inspectioneering Journal

Ever think there might be a better way to select an NDT services vendor other than fee simple bidding. Sure, you have - especially after getting knee deep into an important project only to discover that the low bidder for NDT services was unable to...

Authors: Paul Marks
January/February 2006 Inspectioneering Journal

This survey did not make metrics the primary focus. More importantly, our focus was on practices that lead to better performance. You still have to link these practices to performance.

Authors: Greg Alvarado
November/December 2005 Inspectioneering Journal

Have you ever thought of a more definitive way to express what we need today from people in all walks of life than INTEGRITY? As engineers and inspectors, have you stopped to think of how much you depend on the integrity of those charged with...

Authors: Paul Marks
November/December 2005 Inspectioneering Journal

Part 1 in this 2 parts series laid the technical foundation for the methodology and technology. Part 2 will now demonstrate both through actual applications.

September/October 2005 Inspectioneering Journal

Is calibration of NDT or any other equipment necessary? The answer is certainly Yes! But a question still arises. Why? Because in the case of NDT it is required by national and international standards. Many NDT standards require that a system of...

July/August 2005 Inspectioneering Journal

The ultrasonic Time of Flight Diffraction (TOFD) technique was developed for the UK nuclear industry during the 1970s to provide a method for measuring the height of planar flaws. TOFD is now generally recognized as the most accurate ultrasonic...

July/August 2005 Inspectioneering Journal

Radiography is the most widely used volumetric examination technique for non-destructive evaluation of components, as it offers the advantage of direct viewing of the flaw image, judging the type of flaw and provides a permanent record. Flaw...

Authors: Sanjoy Das, B.K. Shah
July/August 2005 Inspectioneering Journal

Having the ability to substantially extend tube life in Steam Reformers is essential in maximizing use of capital investments in Methanol, Hydrogen, and Ammonia Plants. With the price of nickel at an all time high, the cost of installing a single...

May/June 2005 Inspectioneering Journal

The figures included in this article provide visual evidence of the effectiveness of the microwave NDE technique. Note the clarity of the internal defects and structures of interest apparent in all of the scans.

March/April 2005 Inspectioneering Journal

We are happy to announce the 10-year anniversary of the inaugural issue of the Inspectioneering Journal!

Authors: Greg Alvarado
March/April 2005 Inspectioneering Journal

Once the microwave inspection method was determined to be capable of providing reliable and meaningful inspection results for defects located on the exterior, interior, and interior surfaces of non-metallic components, potential industry...

January/February 2005 Inspectioneering Journal

The number of FFS assessments carried out by inspection engineers is expected to increase in the future, as operators "sweat" their ageing process equipment. The parameters required for assessments can be quite complex and interdependent. Therefore,...

January/February 2005 Inspectioneering Journal

Nearly ten years ago the magnetostrictive sensor (MsS) technology was reported in this journal (July/August 1996 Issue, Volume 2 Issue 4) as a method to detect corrosion in insulated piping. At that time, the MsS Technology consisted primarily of...

January/February 2005 Inspectioneering Journal

Several years ago, a need was identified to develop an improved nondestructive inspection method to volumetrically inspect dielectric materials. Specifically, an inspection method for detecting defects in rubber expansion joints was needed to assist...

November/December 2004 Inspectioneering Journal

Reliable "intelligent pig technology" is now readily available to the refining industry which can provide quick / comprehensive inspection to both "convection" and "radiant" sections in process furnace piping coils. Both tabular data formats along...

September/October 2004 Inspectioneering Journal

The impetus for the development of LRUT is that ultrasonic thickness checks for corrosion, erosion, etc. are localised, in that they only measure the thickness of the area under the UT transducer.

September/October 2004 Inspectioneering Journal

Zetec acquired Power Generation Business assets located in the R/D Tech facilities primarily in Quebec, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Deep River, Ontario, Canada. Assets include the rights to current and planned products developed by the Power...

September/October 2004 Inspectioneering Journal

Exactly two years ago, an interview with John Nyholt appeared in the “IJ”. New ground will be covered in this interchange. We at the IJ thought it might be valuable to spend some time chatting about his background, challenges he has faced...

Authors: Greg Alvarado
March/April 2003 Inspectioneering Journal

During the past two years, a new High Resolution Gamma Ray Detector Array System to detect and measure small corrosion pits in real-time in the inservice piping in process industries, has been in development. This High Resolution Gamma Ray...

September/October 2002 Inspectioneering Journal

John has primary responsibility for NDE consulting and troubleshooting for BP around the world in the refining, chemical and gas processing industries. We at the IJ thought it might be valuable to spend some time chatting about his background,...

Authors: Greg Alvarado
May/June 2002 Inspectioneering Journal

We have discussed various factors that can affect the reliability of NDE techniques (i.e., probability of detection - POD and sizing accuracy) in Part 1. In general, it is difficult to quantify these uncertainties. In fact, it is impossible to fully...

January/February 2002 Inspectioneering Journal

Safety, environmental and economic pressures are motivating process industry (e.g. refineries & petrochemical plants) operators to consistently improve equipment reliability performance, optimize expenses and more accurately target resources where...

November/December 2001 Inspectioneering Journal

A typical risk based inspection (RBI) analysis should include past inspection results, tempered by confidence in those results. For example, API's (American Petroleum Institute) RBI methodology and software when calculating the likelihood of failure...

Authors: Greg Alvarado
September/October 2001 Inspectioneering Journal

Hydrogen-induced cracking is a damage mechanism commonly observed in the petroleum refining industry [1, 2]. The damage appears as laminar cracks and blisters, which can link up in the through-wall direction to form stepwise cracking.

Authors: W. David Wang
July/August 2001 Inspectioneering Journal

Inspectioneering caught up with Dave Wang at the American Petroleum Institute’s (API) Spring 2001 Refining meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. We spent some time, near the pool at a break between meetings, discussing Dave’s background, experiences...

Authors: Greg Alvarado
May/June 2001 Inspectioneering Journal

In a previous edition of IJ, we alerted readers to a proposal to the Texas PE Board that would require NDT inspector certification according to CP-189 (instead of SNT-TC-1A), which would effectively eliminate limited-scope certifications.

Authors: Russel T. Mack
January/February 2001 Inspectioneering Journal

The objective of this joint industry project is to develop and commercialize a non-intrusive system for mapping the thickness of aboveground storage tank (AST) bottoms using Lamb wave tomography.

January/February 2001 Inspectioneering Journal

This article describes a new inspection technology for rapid, on-stream,quantitative examinations of piping under support areas. This portable production system has been in commercial operation in the major U.S. Gulf Coast refineries for the past...

November/December 2000 Inspectioneering Journal

I was certified within days of my entry into the business. Inside three months, I had performed as lead technician on several refinery inspection projects, as well as skid mounted oil and gas compressor units. I had also performed ultrasonic weld...

Authors: Paul Marks
September/October 2000 Inspectioneering Journal

In the petrochemical industry, we have noticed that many separate organizations are attempting to improve the quality of engineering and inspection. For example, many readers are familiar with the efforts of ASME (Post-Construction Code...

Authors: Russel T. Mack
September/October 2000 Inspectioneering Journal

In part 1 of this article we covered the importance of quality assurance of UT data, that is, understanding for each particular application, the accuracy required of the UT data, and new ways/graphical program to analyze and show the...

July/August 2000 Inspectioneering Journal

The American Paper Institute Recovery Boiler Reference Manual Volume 1, October 1979, indicates that the two main goals of conducting ultrasonic thickness (UT) inspections are to determine (1) the current tube wall thickness and (2) the rate of...

March/April 2000 Inspectioneering Journal

Do You Know All You Need To Know About The People Who Perform Your NDT? Could the following scenario be played out in your plant, on your equipment, on your watch? The year is 1968. The time is 3 PM on Friday. Two fairly young men are...

Authors: Paul Marks
January/February 2000 Inspectioneering Journal

This article covers the use of permanently attached ultrasonic transducers for inspection and process plant equipment condition monitoring while in service.

September/October 1999 Inspectioneering Journal

This is part three of a three part article for the IJ describing some of the advanced on-stream inspection (OSI) methods available for use in inspection of pressure equipment in the petroleum and petrochemical industry. These methods can be used,...

Authors: John Reynolds
May/June 1999 Inspectioneering Journal

This three-part article describes some of the advanced on-stream inspection (OSI) methods available for use in inspection of pressure equipment in the petroleum and petrochemical industry. These methods can be used, under the right circumstances, to...

May/June 1999 Inspectioneering Journal

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has developed an innovative method for rapid screening of heat exchanger tubing using Guided Wave technology. This screening method can lead to an improvement in heat exchanger reliability and a reduction in the...

March/April 1999 Inspectioneering Journal

Some Middle Eastern and European operators are now using AE successfully to screen tanks for internal inspection by listening for active tank bottom corrosion, and then grading the tank as high, medium or low need for internal inspection.

Authors: John Reynolds
September/October 1998 Inspectioneering Journal

Faced with stricter OSHA regulations and increased competitiveness in the global market, process facilities have looked toward a technical solution, including man-less entry into vessels, pressure vessels, and tanks for their internal inspections.

July/August 1998 Inspectioneering Journal

Visual inspection is the most common nondestructive testing method. For critical applications, machine vision technology provides advantages over visual inspection.

July/August 1998 Inspectioneering Journal

The debate about advantages and drawbacks of the application of the TOFD (time of flight diffraction) approach for ultrasonic weld inspection should not forget the original reasons for its introduction in the 1960s. The major advantage at that time...

Authors: H. Wuestenberg
May/June 1998 Inspectioneering Journal

During the past year, WIS has presented a number of papers about EMATs. The type of discussions that have followed the presentations has surprised us. The overall view of industry to EMATs has been: "Aren't EMATs still just a good lab tool? There...

Authors: Paul K. Davidson
March/April 1998 Inspectioneering Journal

Furnace tubes in the petrochemical and refining industries lengths' can exceed 2,000 ft., often with multiple serpentine bends. This can make them extremely difficult to inspect using conventional NDE methods. The following inspection tool (FTIS)...

January/February 1998 Inspectioneering Journal

The use of Infrared Thermal Imagers, particularly for temperature measurement within an operating furnace environment, is reliant on the accurate evaluation of specific parameters, which the pyrometer requires in order to produce true temperature...

Authors: Mark Badrick
November/December 1997 Inspectioneering Journal

Radiographic film provides an inexpensive method of ensuring the quality and structural integrity of construction over time. Much of today's analysis being performed with Non Destructive Test (NDT) radiographic film is done visually using light...

Authors: Dave Palmbach
November/December 1997 Inspectioneering Journal

This is an update on NDE research and development activities previously reported on in the Inspectioneering Journal. Companies wishing to join/contribute to these groups' activities, provide input and direction, and reap the benefits should contact...

September/October 1997 Inspectioneering Journal

This is the fourth in a series of articles on piping inspection that I'm writing for the Journal. One of the previous ones dealt with improving thickness data taking accuracy with digital ultrasonic methods. This article is a "sister article" that...

Authors: John Reynolds
January/February 1997 Inspectioneering Journal

AWS, in conjunction with the Edison Welding Institute and The Welding Institute, are offering a program for the certification of NDE operators. The certification follows the operators. Areas for certification are PT (penetrant testing), MT...

January/February 1997 Inspectioneering Journal

Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EP&C) companies have a monumental task to maintain accurate NDE records on major new construction projects. Fluor Daniel has developed and put in use over the last several years a database program for...

November/December 1996 Inspectioneering Journal

The basic approach to the inspection and repair procedure for welding has barely altered for three decades. The normal practice has continued to be to inspect a weld only after the welding programme is complete. Thus by the time a defect is...

Authors: Shaun W. Lawson
September/October 1996 Inspectioneering Journal

This article is a practical review of Nondestructive Examination (NDE) methods that can be used to find Erosion/Corrosion (E/C) and/or Corrosion wear in fossil fuel power piping systems. The article is based on experience with PG&E's E/C detection...

Authors: Joseph M. Mazzeo
July/August 1996 Inspectioneering Journal

Engineers and scientists at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in San Antonio, Texas, may have found a cost-effective and practical method of detecting ID and OD corrosion of insulated piping systems.

March/April 1996 Inspectioneering Journal

We all have a responsibility to perform the best job we can for our employers/customers. That is why I am sharing my thoughts with you, my clients, the Inspectioneering Journal readers. In 12 years of being on the owner/user side of the fence, as...

Authors: Greg Alvarado
January/February 1996 Inspectioneering Journal

A recent in-depth analysis of nondestructive Testing Services Markets indicates that after very slow overall growth in 1993 and 1994, these markets have resumed growing in 1995. The combined U.S. and Canadian market for nondestructive testing...

Authors: Dr. G. Fulop
January/February 1996 Inspectioneering Journal

The Remote Field Electromagnetic Technique, often referred to as RFEC (remote field eddy current), is used to identify corrosion in ferromagnetic tubes. Available for less than ten years, many people are not familiar with its applications.

Authors: Jim Yukes
November/December 1995 Inspectioneering Journal

In our inspection organizations, we have identified a number of critical success factors (CSF's) which are vitally important if we are to achieve the level of pressure equipment reliability and integrity to which we aspire. One of our CSF's is the...

Authors: John Reynolds
November/December 1995 Inspectioneering Journal

Nelson Curve changes in the late 1980's provided cause for Shell Oil Company to look at more reliable NDE non-destructive evaluation methods for assessment of materials/equipment in high temperature hydrogen service. The primary change motivating...

September/October 1995 Inspectioneering Journal

In May 1995, Omega International Technology, Inc., began testing a new system to measure pipe wall thicknesses using digital radiography (RT) scanning. This new system has the potential for being faster, less labor intensive, and shown improved...

September/October 1995 Inspectioneering Journal

PERF (Petroleum Environmental Research Forum), a mechanism used successfully for joint industry environmental projects, is being considered for NDE related research. Many of the same companies using the approach for environmental challenges make up...

September/October 1995 Inspectioneering Journal

The U.S. Department of Energy's Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL) is leading an industry/university/national laboratory team to develop two NDE technologies that will economically extend refinery plant lifetime while continuing to protect...

September/October 1995 Inspectioneering Journal

Low-energy piping system failures in power-generating facilities are often the result of fouling and corrosion. These degradation mechanisms can affect the capacity of piping for fluid-carrying, the heat transfer rates of heat exchangers, and the...

July/August 1995 Inspectioneering Journal

Petrochemical and energy utility industries require a methodology which will allow them and the governing regulatory authorities to make technical and financially sound decisions for the repair or replacement of pressure vessels which suffer damage...

May/June 1995 Inspectioneering Journal

Over the past ten years a broad family of laser-based nondestructive testing systems has been in development. These tools are used for the inspection and measurement of internal surfaces of tubes ranging in size from 5/8-inch to 3-inches in...

Authors: James L. Doyle
May/June 1995 Inspectioneering Journal

For reason of economy, the hot reheat pipework in many US power plants is fabricated from seam-welded low chrome-moly carbon steel spools. Unlike girth butt welds, where the critical weldment microstructures can off-load stress to the stronger...

Authors: Bob Browne
March/April 1995 Inspectioneering Journal

High energy piping (HEP) systems, main steam lines and hot reheat lines (typically low chrome molydbdenum steels), are susceptible to creep damage. Such damage can lead to leaks, and in extreme cases, catastrophic failure.

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        This white paper from Olympus discusses new solutions for long seam weld inspections, which have historically been challenging to inspect because of their thin wall thicknesses, the vertical weld bevel orientation, and the pipe curvature.

        Downloads & Resources related to Nondestructive Testing (NDT)
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          This eBook offers practical guidance for, and real examples of, in-service degradation attributed to corrosion under insulation. It provides a detailed discussion on CUI detection, characterization and evaluation, and mitigation or remediation.

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          Asset Intelligence Report

          This Asset Intelligence Report provides an introduction to Conventional NDE and its applications across industries and equipment lifecycles.

          Asset Intelligence Report

          This Asset Intelligence Report on Ultrasonic Testing provides an introduction to the NDE method as well as further information on the various ultrasonic testing methods and industry applications.

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          This Asset Intelligence Report on Radiographic Testing provides an introduction to the NDE technique, as well as further information on the various types of radiography and industry applications.

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          This Asset Intelligence Report on Magnetic Particle Testing (MPT) serves as a primer to increase your familiarity with this well-established nondestructive evaluation technique.

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          This publication outlines 101 Essential Elements that need to be in place and functioning well in order to effectively and efficiently preserve and protect the reliability and integrity of pressure equipment (i.e. vessels, exchangers, furnaces,...

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