Magnetic Field Orientation and Flaw Detectability

After reading this section you will be able to do the following:

  • Understand the relationship between magnetic field and flaw orientation.

To properly inspect a component for cracks or other defects, it is important to understand that the relative orientation between the magnetic lines of force and the flaw is critical. There are two general types of magnetic fields that can be established within a component.

A longitudinal magnetic field has magnetic lines of force that run parallel to the long axis of the part. Longitudinal magnetization of a component can be accomplished using the longitudinal field set up by a coil or solenoid. It can also be accomplished using permanent magnets or electromagnets.Longitudinate magnetic field lines run along the length of an object.
A circular magnetic field has magnetic lines of force that run circumferentially around the perimeter of a part. A circular magnetic field is induced in an article by either passing current through the component or by passing current through a conductor surrounded by the component.Circular magnetic field lines are perpendicular to the longitudinal direction of the object.

The type of magnetic field established is determined by the method used to magnetize the specimen. Being able to magnetize the part in two directions is important because the best detection of defects occurs when the lines of magnetic force are established at right angles to the longest dimension of the defect. This orientation creates the largest disruption of the magnetic field within the part and the greatest flux leakage at the surface of the part. As can be seen in the image below, if the magnetic field is parallel to the defect, the field will see little disruption and no flux leakage field will be produced.

A defect that is perpendicular to the magnetic field will disturb the magnetic field more than other angles of defects.

An orientation of 45 to 90 degrees between the magnetic field and the defect is necessary to form an indication. The field intensity must be high enough to cause an indication to form, but not too high to cause nonrelevant indications to mask relevant indications. To cause an indication to form, the field strength in the object must produce a flux leakage field that is strong enough to hold the magnetic particles in place over a discontinuity. Flux measurement devices can provide important information about the field strength. Since defects may occur in various and unknown directions, each part is normally magnetized in two directions at right angles to each other. If the component below is considered, it is known that passing current through the part from end to end will establish a circular magnetic field that will be 90 degrees to the direction of the current. Therefore, defects that have a significant dimension in the direction of the current (longitudinal defects) should be detectable. Alternately, transverse-type defects will not be detectable with circular magnetization.


If a defect is parallel to the magnetic field lines, it will not show in the eddy current results because it disturbs the flaw very little.

Review:

  1. The best detection of defects occurs when the lines of magnetic force are established at right angles to the longest dimension of the defect.
  2. Flux measurement devices can provide important information about the field strength.