PT is one of the oldest and simplest NDT methods where its earliest versions (using kerosene and oil mixture) dates back to the 19th century. Liquid penetrant inspection is used to detect any surface-connected discontinuities such as cracks from fatigue, quenching, and grinding, as well as fractures, porosity, incomplete fusion, and flaws in joints.
PT is based upon capillary action, where low surface tension fluid penetrates into clean and dry surface-breaking discontinuities. Penetrant may be applied to the test component by dipping, spraying, or brushing. After adequate penetration time has been allowed, the excess penetrant is removed, a developer is applied. The developer helps to draw penetrant out of the flaw where an invisible indication becomes visible to the inspector. Inspection is performed under ultraviolet or white light, depending upon the type of dye used - fluorescent or nonfluorescent (visible).
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