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Penetrant Testing (PT)

  • Penetrant Testing, or PT, is a nondestructive testing method that builds on the principle of Visual Inspection.
  • PT increases the “seeability” of small discontinuities that the human eye might not be able to detect alone.


How it works:

  • In penetrant testing, a liquid with high surface wetting characteristics is applied to the surface of a component under test.
  • The penetrant “penetrates” into surface breaking discontinuities via capillary action and other mechanisms.
  • Excess penetrant is removed from the surface and a developer is applied topull trapped penetrant back the surface.
  • With good inspection technique, visual indications of any discontinuities present become apparent.


  • Relative ease of use.
  • Can be used on a wide range of material types.
  • Large areas or large volumes of parts/materials can be inspected rapidly and at low cost.
  • Parts with complex geometries are routinely inspected.
  • Indications are produced directly on surface of the part providing a visual image of the discontinuity.
  • Initial equipment investment is low.
  • Aerosol spray cans can make equipment very portable.