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Nondestructive testing of metals is associated with the analysis of a specimen for particular properties or structural flaws. Before a test can be decided upon, certain factors must be considered. While it is desirable to make a test insensitive to unrelated properties, this idealized condition is not always attainable. Often a test designed to gage one property of a material will be influenced by other properties; therefore it is essential that all facts associated with the fabrication of the specimen be known and taken into consideration when test results are evaluated. A nondestructive test method may be either a qualitative or a quantitative analysis. The former is most often associated with the rapid tests required in production line work. The result of such tests would be a simple indication of “accept” or “reject” based upon a comparison with an acceptable standard. When specimens are to be graded in terms of a multi-valued function, a quantitative analysis is indicated. In the fabrication of steel items, many types of flaws appear in the finished product. Flaws may be produced by structural stresses or inclusions during manufacture. These flaws may be classified as cracks, splits, seams, stringers, and so on, and are often so small as to be undiscernible to the unaided eye.
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