Many business owners in Western Canada have heard about the various methods of non-destructive testing but are unsure of the differences between each technique. In this article, we will give you a glimpse into the world of radiographic inspection and walk through some of the advantages that come with this style of testing.
The Basics of Radiography
At its most basic level, radiography is simply an image capturing technique that has the ability to view the internal makeup of a solid object. Radiography is commonly associated with the sources of energy that are used to capture these images- X-rays and gamma rays.
The most common application of X-rays is demonstrated within the medical industry. Radiologists, doctors, and dentists all utilize radiographic imaging to inspect the internal structures of the human body. Aside from searching for broken bones, there is a second popular application of radiography that utilizes X-rays to inspect machinery, equipment and infrastructure for business owners. This field of radiography is commonly referred to as industrial radiography.
This style of radiographic testing focuses on determining the integrity and durability of a solid object during regular preventative maintenance or when there is a suspicion of internal faults. 20/20 NDT Inc specializes in radiographic testing in Western Canada and can service a wide range of industries including but not limited to: natural gas/oil, marine, automotive, aerospace, transport, military and offshore industries. Every type of business can utilize industrial radiographic testing; even the CN Tower in Toronto has been tested using X-rays.
How Does the Technology Work?
X-rays can be produced electronically, by high voltage generators. The penetrating power of an X-ray can be increased or decreased by controlling the amount of voltage that is applied. Gamma rays can also be utilized in place of X-rays and are created from radioactive isotopes, typically Cobalt 60 and Iridium 192. Gamma rays are very similar to X-rays, however they typically have a shorter wavelength which can increase their penetrating power.
When a 20/20 NDT Inc technician is testing an object (such as an oil pipeline) using radiographic methods, they are essentially creating X-rays or gamma rays on site and allowing them to pass through the structure in a controlled manner. As X-rays and gamma rays pass through a solid material, some of the radiation will be absorbed. All materials absorb radiation at different rates depending on the density and thickness of the object.
Our technician can then utilize special sensors that detect gamma/X-rays once they pass through an object, allowing us to create an image (a radiograph) that illustrates any differences in densities or materials inside the structure. These differences allow us to locate and highlight hidden weaknesses, allowing for repairs or updates before it is too late.
Benefits of Radiographic Testing
X-ray inspection creates a permanent picture that can be archived and referred to in the future, or sent to another location to share the findings of the inspection with others. At 20/20 NDT Inc, we often deal with pipelines, however radiographic testing is not limited to metals; it is suitable for a wide range of materials. Radiographic testing is completely non-destructive and non-invasive which allows our technicians to gain crucial insights related to the internals of your operations instantly, without any damages or downtime. Due to the fact that we are creating an image with extremely small rays of energy, it is possible to reveal the most miniscule differences in a material which is extremely important when searching for defaults such as pressure cracks, pitting, or pinholes.
Non-destructive testing, including X-ray inspections, can save your business thousands of dollars, reducing the amount of equipment failures and downtime that occur. If you are in the business of oil, you know how costly and deadly an onsite failure could be. Give us a call today at 20/20 NDT Inc and make radiographic testing part of your regular preventative maintenance to increase your efficiency and keep your employees safe.