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Have you heard of magnetic particle testing? The process is a nondestructive testing method that can determine surface and subsurface discontinuities in ferromagnetic materials. These materials include iron, cobalt, and nickel, and some of their alloys. 

Magnetic particle testing is also known as magnetic particle inspection.

Magnetic particle testing is typically carried out to help assess a product’s fitness for use or conformity. The quick and easy to use method is widely used across various industry sectors. Most commonly, it’s used in the aerospace, structural steel, automotive, and power generation industries to assess a range of products and equipment.

These products include engine, suspension, and braking system components, forgings, weldments, and castings.

The Magnetic Particle Testing

During magnetic particle testing, a magnetic field is created in the item being inspected while a highly permeable testing medium is applied. If a discontinuity is present, the magnetic field is interrupted, creating “Flux Leakage”, which attracts the testing medium at location.

The magnetic powder found in the test medium collects at surface faults open to the surface. Because of the color contrast of the component surface and magnetic powder, surface faults are easily visible, detected, and recorded.

Magnetic particle testing renowned as an exceptionally reliable inspection method.

What Are the Advantages of Magnetic Particle Testing?

There are many advantages of magnetic particle testing. The first is that the method is very fast and reliable. Defects become visible instantly.

The process is very sensitive as well. The procedure allows for extremely small surface defects to be made visible.

Magnetic particle testing is used in a wide variety of applications. 

What Are the Disadvantages of Magnetic Particle Testing?

There are also disadvantages and limitations of magnetic particle testing.

The testing method is limited to ferromagnetic materials like iron and steel It cannot be used on diamagnetic or paramagnetic materials.

Likewise, magnetic particle testing is messy. Plus, most methods require a supply of electricity.

Magnetic particle testing also cannot be used to inspect items with a thick coating of paint.

False or non-relevant indications can also occur in some cases. This means that interpretation can be challenging and is an expert task to fulfill.

Some of the suspension fluids or cleaners can also create fumes which is of concern in close and confined areas.

Learning How To Perform Magnetic Particle Testing

If you are interested in learning how to perform magnetic particle testing, we’re here to help.

Learn about our complete NDT methods training here. Our programs will give you the skills you need to start a rewarding career in NDT.