Material Matters: Use Nondestructive Evaluation to Predict and Prevent Material Failures | AIChE

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Material Matters: Use Nondestructive Evaluation to Predict and Prevent Material Failures

Material Matters

Evaluating the integrity of materials when they are in service can be challenging. Advances in materials and technology enable equipment at new and old plants to operate under more aggressive conditions than they were designed for, and materials of construction are now produced and sourced from all over the world by a range of methods. These factors make it extremely difficult to predict how materials will perform in service. Fortunately, advanced nondestructive evaluation (NDE) techniques that use electro­magnetic, acoustic, and ultrasonic tools can help to characterize a material’s microstructure and performance when in service.

Many NDE techniques have been around for over a century and have aided reliable inspections. “The problem with these tried-and-true NDE techniques is that the old techniques have all focused on finding cracks and defects,” explains Angelique Lasseigne, Chief Technical Officer at G2MT Laboratories, LLC. “Fundamentally, this is a reactive approach — because the problem (cracking or failure) has already occurred — and it requires significant manpower to provide sufficient coverage to entire plants. A component with a crack larger than a threshold will have to be monitored, repaired, and/or replaced. There is no chance to prevent the crack with the current NDE technologies. Fortunately, new technologies are available and more are on the way that will...

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