Introduction to Structural Materials

This section will provide a basic introduction to materials and material fabrication processing.  It is important that NDT personnel have some background in material science for a couple of reasons.  First, nondestructive testing almost always involves the interaction of energy of some type (mechanics, sound, electricity, magnetism or radiation) with a material.   To understand how energy interacts with a material, it is necessary to know a little about the material.  Secondly, NDT often involves detecting manufacturing defects and service induced damage and, therefore, it is necessary to understand how defects and damage occur. 

This section will begin with an introduction to the four common types of engineering materials. The structure of materials at the atomic level will then be considered, along with some atomic level features that give materials their characteristic properties. Some of the properties that are important for the structural performance of a material and methods for modifying these properties will also be covered.

In the second half of this text, methods used to shape and form materials into useful shapes will be discussed. Some of the defects that can occur during the manufacturing process, as well as service induced damage will be highlighted. This section will conclude with a summary of the role that NDT plays in ensuring the structural integrity of a component.