The gas-adsorption indicator method (GAIM) is a relatively unknown yet reliable technique for nondestructive testing (NDT) of engineering materials, and component parts. Invented in Russia, GAIM is a spin-off from the BURAN space program in the former Soviet Union. GAIM is inspired on a highly effective method to detect defects on the tiles of the thermal protection system (TPS) of BURAN and leakages through seals in compartment hatches of the spacecraft. This method involved the capture of gas molecules by a chemically treated sheet. Based on this technique, GAIM was derived and developed into an innovative penetrant technique (PT) for NDT and NDE of surfaces. GAIM offers clear advantages over more conventional PT methods and other techniques for surface NDT and NDE. GAIM proves to be more versatile, adaptable, considerably less expensive, safer, and more reliable. It allows fast inspections, detections, and characterization of surface anomalies, such as cracks, corrosion, and micro-porosity. The technique can be used in a wide variety of materials, including metals, ceramics, specialized coatings, and composites. The applicability of GAIM for NDE and NDT is ample, ranging from simple lab tests to field inspections of spacecraft, aircraft, and nuclear and conventional power plants. The underlying physical phenomena and researched theory behind the technique are presented and explained. The technique is also illustrated with graphical documentation, and application examples.
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