Magnetic particle inspection processes are non-destructive methods for the detection of surface and sub-surface defects in ferrous materials. They make use of an externally applied magnetic field or electric current through the material, and the principle that the magnetic flux will leave the part at the area of the flaw.

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Magnetic particle inspection processes

The presence of a surface or near surface flaw (void) in the material causes distortion in the magnetic flux through it, which in turn causes leakage of the magnetic fields at the flaw. This deformation of the magnetic field is not limited to the immediate locality of the defect but extends for a considerable distance; even through the surface and into the air if the magnetism is intense enough. Thus the size of the distortion is much larger than that of the defect and is made visible at the surface of the part by means of the tiny particles that are attracted to the leakage fields.

The most common method of magnetic particle inspection uses finely divided iron or magnetic iron oxide particles, held in suspension in a suitable liquid (often kerosene). This fluid is referred to as carrier. The particles are often colored and usually coated with fluorescent dyes that are made visible with a hand-held ultraviolet (UV) light (sometimes referred to as black light). The suspension is sprayed or painted over the magnetized specimen during magnetization with a direct current or with an electromagnet, to localize areas where the magnetic field has protruded from the surface. The magnetic particles are attracted by the surface field in the area of the defect and hold on to the edges of the defect to reveal it as a build up of particles.


This inspection can be applied to raw material in a steel mill (billets or slabs), in the early stages of manufacturing (forgings, castings), or most commonly to machined parts before they are put into service. It is also very commonly used for inspecting structural parts (e.g., landing gear) that have been in-service for some time to find fatigue cracks.

It is a quite economic non-destructive test because it is easy to do and much faster than ultrasonic testing and radiographic testing.


There are many advantages of using a Magnetic particle inspection processes

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