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Non-Destructive Testing Specialists


Early forms of non-destructive testing could be seen when blacksmiths, for example, tapped on metal as they shaped it or on bells after casting them, to listen for imperfections. Even before this, ancient Romans supposedly used oil and flour to find cracks in marble slabs. It was in the late 1800s and early 1900s , however, that non-destructive testing started to take root as an important part of the growing industrial society.

The X-ray machine continues to be important equipment in the NDT field. German professor Wilhelm Röntgen discovered X-rays in 1895, and by the 1920s and 1930s, inventors had developed higher energy X-ray equipment that had practical uses for non-destructive testing. X-rays were initially used by medicine and dentistry, but by the 1930s, the General Electric Company as well as the American Society for Mechanical Engineers had developed X-ray equipment that could be used for industrial purposes.

Other inventors who helped lay the groundwork for the NDT field were Henri Becquerel, a French scientist who discovered natural radioactivity through experiments with uranium, and Marie Curie and her husband, Pierre Curie. They discovered two elements that were even more radioactive than uranium, and named them polonium and radium. Industrial radiography grew during World War II, as X-rays were used to inspect the many parts and components of ships that were being built by the Navy. 

In 1941, the American Industrial Radium and X-Ray Society was founded, in recognition of the burgeoning field of non-destructive testing. The organization was later renamed to the American Society for Nondestructive Testing, providing education and industry standards for NDT professionals who work in a wide variety of industries. 

Today, non-destructive testing specialists conduct radiographic and ultrasonic tests. They also conduct electromagnetic tests, magnetic particle tests, liquid penetrant tests, and visual and acoustic emission tests. Their tests are used in manufacturing, fabrication, construction, and other industries, ensuring that products and materials are of consistent, useful quality and are safe for the public.


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