A Beginner’s Guide to Non-Destructive Testing

Our goal is to make certain your pipes are always in good working order so you can transport your products safely and efficiently. See how NDT can be a valuable asset to your company.


As someone with financial interest in a pipeline system, your goal is to make sure your pipes are always in proper working order. You want your pipes to operate at peak efficiency so you can transport your product safely and efficiently. Leaks or obstructions in your pipes cause you to lose money each second they go without repair. These types of mishaps often require costly repairs and have a negative impact on your output.
These types of pipe damage occur naturally over time as your pipes undergo different stresses. As your pipes transport product for extended periods of time, they begin to corrode from the inside. If you leave these problems unchecked they can weaken your pipes, and eventually lead to structural failure of some type.
Western Canada’s harsh winters also place a particular stress on your pipes. As the seasons transition from warmer weather to extreme cold, your pipes will naturally contract. This contraction affects the structural integrity of your pipes, and over time can cause burst pipes, or other types of damage.
While it impossible to avoid normal day-do-day wear on your pipes, you can inspect and reinforce them to prevent them from facing more severe problems. The best way to inspect your pipes for weaknesses without physically tampering with them is through Non-destructive testing, or NDT. Here is a basic guide to NDT and how it can be a valuable asset to your business’s pipeline operations:

What Is Non-Destructive Testing?

Non-destructive testing refers to the range of non-invasive analyses used to evaluate the properties of a structure without causing damage to it in any way. In the case of pipeline testing, these methods are used to identify weakness within a pipeline without having to alter or remove your pipes. This is done by using natural physical properties such as magnetism (magnetic particle testing), sound (ultrasonic testing), and radiation (radiographic or x-ray inspection) to measure different characteristics of your pipes. Specialized non-destructive pipeline testing companies carry out these tests for businesses.
What Are Some Common Non-Destructive Ways to Inspect a Pipeline?
There are a few types of tests that NDT companies use to evaluate the condition of your pipes. NDT companies use the following three tests in particular because they are easy to perform and cost effective for pipeline businesses:
Non-destructive pipeline testing companies use ultrasonic testing to measure the thickness of different areas of a pipeline and the structural integrity of welded joints. A tester uses a machine to emit ultrasound waves into the piper, and then uses a separate diagnostics machine to analyze the results. These results help them identify parts of the pipe that have corroded and have become too thin and welding joints that were not installed properly or that have become damaged due to stress.
Testing companies use magnetic particle testing to locate cracks on the outside of pipes. To conduct magnetic particle testing, an inspector sprays a ferrous, fluorescent material onto a section of magnetized pipe. The iron in the mixture congregates near small cracks and shines under a black light. This enables the tester to immediately locate weaknesses in the outside of pipes and report them to the business.
NDT companies can also use x-ray technology to create a photo negative of a pipe. This allows the examiner to locate obstructions and corrosion within the pipe. This type of testing creates a physical record of the analysis that can be referred to in the future.

How Can Non-Destructive Testing Add Value to my Investment?

You can use NDT in the construction phase of your pipeline, or to assess the current condition of your existing pipeline. In both cases, NDT helps you ensure that every part of your pipeline is structurally sound, clear of obstructions, and properly welded together. Here are a few basic ways NDT adds value to your pipeline investment:
It Prevents Costly Repairs
20/20 NDT can help you through preventative maintenance. By analyzing weaknesses in your pipeline before they become larger problems, you will save yourself the cost of extensive structural repairs or even pipe section replacements.
It Prevents Leaks and Loss of Product
20/20 NDT helps you maintain the structural integrity of your pipeline so that you won’t lose product because of leaks or corroded pipes. The upfront cost of non-destructive testing acts as an insurance policy for the potential cost of lost product.
It Helps You Maximize the Lifespan of Your Pipes
NDT adds considerable value to your investment by helping you maximize the lifespan of your pipes. By making small, informed repairs on your pipes as you go, you maintain the overall health of your pipes.
As you try to maximize the profits in your pipeline interests, consider the benefits of non-destructive testing. If you add NDT to your maintenance budget, you can end up saving a lot of money and a hassle. Contact our helpful staff at 20/20 NDT for more information or to request a quote today.