Fun Fact Friday: Liquid Penetrant Testing

Fun Fact Friday: Liquid Penetrant Testing

This week’s Fun Fact Friday will focus on Liquid Penetrant Testing (LPT) and Examination, one of the Non-Destructive Examination (NDE) inspection services that Encorus Group offers. LPT is used to detect discontinuities that are on the surface of ferromagnetic (materials that are attracted to magnets) or non-ferromagnetic materials. This type of testing is one of the most widely used NDE inspection methods in the construction industry and any other situation where the surface of materials could be subject to discontinuities.

The Liquid Penetration Inspection process involves six main steps:
1.) Pre-cleaning – Any dirt, paint, oil, or loose scale must be removed from the surface of the material
2.) Application of penetrant – Liquid penetrant is applied to the part of the material being tested
3.) Excess penetrant removal – Any excess penetrant is removed from the surface of the part
4.) Application of developer – White developer is applied to the material being tested
5.) Inspection – Visible light with adequate intensity is used for the visible dye penetrant inspection
6.) Post cleaning – After the inspection and recording of results, the material surface should be cleaned

If you have a project that needs Liquid Penetrant Testing and Examination services, please contact Jeremy Lake at (716) 592-3980 ext. 133, or

Fun Fact Friday: Computed Radiography vs Traditional Radiography

Fun Fact Friday: Computed Radiography vs Traditional Radiography

Radiography is one of the several methods of Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) offered by the skilled technicians at Encorus. There are two different methods of conducting a radiography test: computed radiography and traditional radiography. Computed radiography is the more modern of the two processes, and has several advantages over traditional radiography. To understand how computed radiography is better than traditional radiography, it is important to know how radiography works.

Radiographic testing (RT), commonly known as radiography, is a method of non-destructive examination which uses either x-rays or gamma rays to see inside the component or specimen, creating a hard copy image of the item. RT is used to inspect welds, machined parts, pipes, vessels and tanks, concrete, plate metal, and ceramics. Much like a medical x-ray or x-ray security screening at the airport, RT can reveal irregularities or defects within the object being examined without damaging it. A trained radiographer can locate a defect as well as identify its type, size and location based on subtle variations in the film density. Both computed and traditional radiography use X-rays and gamma rays; however, there are several differences in the procedures that follow.

According to DÜRR NDT, “in computed radiography, when imaging plates are exposed to X-rays, or gamma rays, the energy of the incoming radiation is stored in a special phosphor layer. A specialized machine known as a scanner is then used to read out the latent image from the plate by stimulating it with a very finely focused laser beam. When stimulated, the plate emits blue light with intensity proportional to the amount of radiation received during the exposure. The light is then detected by a highly sensitive analog device known as a photomultiplier (PMT) and converted to a digital signal using an analog-to-digital converter (ADC). The generated digital X-ray image can then be viewed on a computer monitor and evaluated. After an image plate is read, it is erased by a high-intensity light source and can immediately be re-used. Imaging plates can typically be used 1000 times or more depending on the application”.

The main advantages of computed radiography are that the imaging plates are reusable, no darkroom or chemicals are needed, the time required for exposure and processing of the image is reduced, digital information can be easily exchanged and archived, it presents a safer working environment for operators, and it is more environmentally friendly.

The computed radiography process is faster and more efficient, and presents a more environmentally friendly work atmosphere. Overall, computed radiography is the superior option when compared to traditional radiography. It offers a safer and more effective method to determining if a piece of material should be repaired or closely monitored. If you require computed radiography services or other NDE testing, please contact Jeremy Lake at (716) 592-3980 ext. 133, or

Fun Fact Friday: Non-Destructive Testing Methods for Steel Pipes

Fun Fact Friday: Non-Destructive Testing Methods for Steel Pipes

Non-destructive testing (NDT), also known as non-destructive examination (NDE), is an extremely useful tool for completing inspections without damaging the equipment being inspected. The purpose of these tests is to detect the location, size, shape, and development trend of internal or external defects. One of the types of equipment that benefits greatly from this kind of testing is steel pipe.

Depending on the variety of steel pipe, a variety of different NDT methods can prove useful.

Ultrasonic testing is one of the most popular methods for testing steel pipe. In this method of testing, ultra-high frequency sound is introduced into the part being inspected. If the sound hits any flaws or discontinuities, some of the sound will be reflected at a unique rate. By knowing the speed of the sound through the part and the time required for the sound to return to the sending unit, the flaw or discontinuity can be located.

Radiography, both film and computerized digital, is another popular testing method. Radiographic tests are performed by placing a test object between a source of penetrating radiation and a recording medium such as silver bromide film.

Magnetic Particle Testing is another method of testing, this method is performed by using one or more magnetic fields to locate discontinuities in the surface or near-surface of ferromagnetic materials. The magnetic fields used for testing can be applied by either permanent magnets or electromagnets, and are usually used in conjunction with very fine colored ferromagnetic particles, which are visibly drawn into discontinuities by the magnetic forces acting upon them.

Liquid Penetrant Testing, another popular method of testing, involves the application of a very low viscosity liquid to the surface of the part being tested. Due to the low viscosity of the fluid, it easily penetrates flaws and discontinuities in the pipe, and when the excess penetrant is removed and the penetrant trapped in the imperfections flows back out, and indication has been created that marks the location of the flaw or discontinuity.

Visual testing is frequently used as a method of evaluating imperfections. This method of testing can be performed using unenhanced vision, but also may be performed with the aid of optical instruments such as magnifying glasses, mirrors, boroscopes, charge-coupled devices, and/or computer-assisted viewing systems. Many forms of damage to steel pipes can be detected via visual testing inspections. This form of testing is also used in conjunction with most other forms of testing, as a visual evaluation occurs as a side effect of performing other tests.

If you need non-destructive testing services for steel pipe or other equipment, Encorus can provide the solutions you need. Contact our Director of NDE, Jim Handzlik, at 716.592.3980 ext. 148 or

Fun Fact Friday: Qualifications and Importance of Certified Welding Inspectors

Fun Fact Friday: Qualifications and Importance of Certified Welding Inspectors

A certified welding inspector must have a combination of qualifying education and work experience, with documentation to support. According to the American Welding Society, to become a Certified Welding Inspector (CWI), an individual must have both adequate education and sufficient experience. Various levels of education are interchangeable with some years of experience, but by requiring a combination, the certification process ensures that a welder has the knowledge and capability to provide services without fail.

An individual meeting the education and experience criteria is able to apply for and take a Certified Welding Inspector exam. The application must be mailed at least six weeks before taking the exam, and many candidates choose to complete welding inspector training courses to help them prepare for and pass the exam. The exam itself is divided into 3 parts: fundamental knowledge, practical evaluation, and codebook navigation.

The fundamental knowledge section of the exam includes information on various welding processes, heat control & metallurgy, weld examination, welding performance, terminology, relevant welding and non-destructive examination (NDE) symbols, NDE methods, documentation, safety, destructive testing, cutting, brazing and soldering. Succeeding in this section of the exam proves that a welding inspector has the necessary levels of knowledge.

The exam also includes a practical evaluation section, where a welding inspector must demonstrate skill in procedure and welding, mechanical testing and determining properties, welding inspection and determining flaws, non-destructive examination, and utilization of drawings and specifications.

The third and final section of the exam, codebook navigation and applications, is exactly as it sounds. In this section a potential welding inspector must prove their ability to navigate various code books and apply the various codes as required by a project. This skill is critical to ensuring that welding inspections will be completed in compliance with regulations and will be able to adequately ensure the safety of people in the vicinity of the equipment having been welded.

Additionally, anyone seeking a certification must pass a vision test, to ensure they are able to adequately visually inspect welds.

Becoming a Certified Welding Inspector is a complex and challenging process, but this ensures that welding inspection services are provided to a high standard of quality.

If you have a need for Certified Welding Inspections, please contact Jeremy Lake at (716) 592-3980, ext. 133, or at For more information about our Testing and Inspection Group, please visit

Fun Fact Friday: The Differences Between Radiographic & Ultrasonic Weld Testing

Fun Fact Friday: The Differences Between Radiographic & Ultrasonic Weld Testing

Welds can be tested using three different methods: destructive, in which the weld is destroyed to examine the physical properties of the metal and components; mechanical, which is used to determine the properties of a metal under force; and non-destructive, in which the integrity of the weld can be determined without destroying the weld itself. The primary advantage of non-destructive examinations (NDE) is the ability to examine a component’s surface, sub-surface, and internal makeup for defects while keeping the weld intact. Its two most common types are radiographic testing and ultrasonic testing.

Radiographic Weld Testing

Also known as x-ray inspection, radiographic testing involves the use of commercial x-ray or gamma units to examine visible discontinuities on the interior of the weld, including:

– Cracks

– Scattered porosity

– Blowholes

– Inclusions

– Undercutting

The process is similar to that used to take x-rays of the human body. Gamma rays are passed through a tube onto photographic film to produce an image of internal components. As in the medical field, special expertise is required to perform radiographic weld testing and interpret the results. Due to its requirement for specific equipment, highly qualified personnel, and extensive safety precautions, its cost tends to run higher than other types of testing. However, radiographic testing is acknowledged as one of the most versatile and widely accepted forms of NDE, as it’s required to meet the welding codes and standards established by many relevant organizations, such as American Welding Society (AWS) and American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

Ultrasonic Weld Testing

Used to check for surface and sub-surface discontinuities, ultrasonic weld testing involves the direction of a high-frequency energy beam through the object. If the beam detects an interruption, sound will reflect back and be collected by the pulse-echo equipment, which then amplifies it and displays it visually in video format. Ultrasonic testing is very sensitive and can determine the exact location of discontinuities, particularly gas pores, lamination, and other defects that are too small to be observed with other methods. While it requires interfacing with computers or equipment with built-in memory to produce a permanent record, it allows for a closer inspection of joints than radiographic testing can provide. Like radiographic testing, only highly trained professionals can perform ultrasonic weld testing.

While radiographic and ultrasonic testing each offer their own advantages and disadvantages, both forms of non-destructive examinations are indispensable to the welding industry. At Encorus Group, we offer these and other NDE options, all of which meet or exceed requirements and are performed by our experienced technicians using advanced equipment. For more information, contact Director of Testing Services Jim Handzlik at 716.592.3980, ext. 148.


Safety Precautions to Take While Visiting a Construction Site

Safety Precautions to Take While Visiting a Construction Site

Encorus Group staff often visits the job sites where concepts are brought to reality. These visits are part of the materials testing and inspection services that Encorus offers. Our Civil Testing and NDE groups are also constantly visiting construction sites to perform testing and inspections.  Members of our design group sometimes visit jobsites as well, to obtain measurements, observe construction, or answer questions.  While visiting a construction site, it is important to remember to take safety precautions to avoid injury and prevent any work disruptions. Here are some things to keep in mind if you ever find yourself on an active construction site:

1.    Wear a hardhat

On an active construction site, workers could be transporting materials above your head, with a crane, for example, or materials may not be secured.  Hardhats will protect your head from any potential injury.  Hardhats do have a shelf life!  The date of manufacture should be printed on the inside of the hardhat, and it should be used for no more than 4-5 years from that date.  OSHA, ANSI, and the hardhat manufacturer can offer specific guidance.  In addition, factors such as excessive temperatures (ie, keeping your hardhat in your vehicle) can cause it to degrade more quickly, and be less effective in the event of an impact.

2.    Wear a high visibility vest

It is important to make sure that can be easily seen on a construction site, so high visibility vests are required. If someone wears clothes that blend in with the materials on the construction site, they can be easily overlooked and subject to injury.  High visibility outerwear makes you more noticeable, and reflective strips are essential to being seen in low light situations.

3.    Wear appropriate footwear

Appropriate footwear includes boots or shoes with hard soles and preferably steel toes. Shoes with open toes, high heels, and soft soles are strongly discouraged as there are sharp objects that can be stepped on or heavy materials that can be dropped on feet.  Construction sites are often unlevel, and appropriate footwear will decrease the chance of slipping or tripping.

4.    Wear safety glasses

Any active construction site is a hazard for your eyes.  Dirt, dust, rocks, and construction materials are constantly moving around, including through the air.  Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from flying objects.

5.    Wear long pants to cover your legs

Sharp object may be sticking up, and your legs may be subject to scratches and cuts. Skirts, shorts, and dresses are discouraged on the construction site. Wearing long pants will protect your legs from any harm

6.    If you have a guide, be sure to stay close to them as you move around the site

It is easy to get lost on construction sites, so if you do not know where you are going, it is best to stick with your guide on the visit.  They are probably more familiar with the site than you are as a visitor, and will be able to guide you on a safe route and avoid hazards

7.    Be aware of your surroundings

It is common sense to have a general awareness of the construction site you are visiting. If there is a place where the materials appear to be unstable or if workers are vigorously working, do not approach that area.  Make eye contact with machinery operators when crossing the machine’s path.  Safety is the first priority, and if you approach an area where people are working, they make have to stop and disrupt progress until you leave

8.    Do not touch anything

It is advised not to touch any materials on the construction site, especially any loose wires. Those wires may be live, and the materials could be sharp or recently painted.

In general, follow all instructions that your guide or the site supervisor may give you. They will know the best way for you to safely navigate the site.  You not only want to be safe, you want to be welcomed back in the future!  Remember that your safety on a jobsite affects the safety of others as well – if you get hurt, others may get hurt as well trying to help you.  Stay safe!