Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE)

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Definition - What does Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) mean?

Nondestructive evaluation (NDE) is an interdisciplinary field of study which is concerned with the development of analysis techniques and measurement technologies for the quantitative characterization of materials, tissues and structures by noninvasive means.

Since NDE does not permanently alter the article being inspected, it is a highly valuable technique that can save both money and time in product evaluation, troubleshooting and research.

Traditional NDE areas of applications include:

  • Flaw detection
  • Structural health monitoring
  • Materials characterization

Nondestructive evaluation is also known as nondestructive testing (NDT), nondestructive inspection (NDI) and nondestructive examination (NDE).

Corrosionpedia explains Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE)

Some uses of NDE include:

  • Flaw detection and evaluation
  • Leak detection
  • Location determination
  • Dimensional measurements
  • Structure and microstructure characterization
  • Estimation of mechanical and physical properties
  • Stress (strain) and dynamic response measurements
  • Material sorting and chemical composition determination

Common NDE methods include:

  • Ultrasonic - Used to locate surface and subsurface defects in many materials including metals, plastics and wood
  • Magnetic-particle - Used to inspect ferromagnetic materials (those that can be magnetized) for defects
  • Liquid penetrant - Used to locate cracks, porosity and other defects
  • Radiographic - Used to inspect almost any material for surface and subsurface defects
  • Eddy-current - Used to detect surface and near-surface flaws in conductive materials, such as metals

No single NDE method will work for all flaw detection or measurement applications. Each method has advantages and disadvantages.

There are NDE applications at almost any stage in the production or life cycle of a component, such as:

  • Assisting in product development
  • Screening or sorting incoming materials
  • Monitoring, improving or controlling manufacturing processes
  • Verifying proper processing, such as heat treating
  • Verifying proper assembly
  • Inspecting for in-service damage

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