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December 2013 - About Terminology in Penetrant testing and Magnetic Particle Testing

Written by Laurence
Tuesday, 12 November 2013 16:13

Based on the principle that for a good understanding, we need to speak the same language, it follows that the same terminology shall be used.

This obviously applies to all the non-destructive testing (NDT) methods and it is for this purpose that EN, ISO and ASTM terminology standards were written and published; they are regularly reviewed.

To our knowledge, shearography (ST), which is an NDT method in itself and for which there is a COFREND (French Confederation for Non Destructive Testing) certification does not have its own terminology standard.

In the Normative reference Chapter, you will find the EN, ISO and ASTM terminology standards.

Note that the definitions of other terms, which are not in these standards, are given in some NDT standards.

The terminology of optical holographic testing (HT) is in the ASTM E1316-11b but not in the EN and ISO standards.

Regarding penetrant testing (PT) and magnetic particle testing (MT), there are some differences between the EN/ISO and the ASTM standards.

NDT Method
EN et ISO standards
ASTM E1316-11b standard
English version
French version
PT Colour contrast penetrant Pénétrant coloré Visible penetrant
Dry Developer Révelateur sec Dry powder developer
Penetrant testing Ressuage Liquid penetrant testing
Non-aqueous wet developer

Révélateur humide non aqueux

Non-Aqueous developer

Water-suspendable developer

Révélateur en suspension dans l'eau

Aqueous developer
Development time

Durée de révélation

Developing time
MT Carrier liquid

Liquide porteur

Carrier fuid
Residual field

Champ résiduel

Residual magnetic field
Induced current flow technique

Technique d’aimantation par passage de courant induit

Current induction method
Flux indicator Témoin d’aimantation Magnetic field indicator

Note that in these standards, there is sometimes confusion between “method” and “technique”, as explained in one of our papers(1).

Further, some terms are defined in the EN and ISO standards but not in the ASTM standard and vice versa.

Therefore, it would be desirable to "merge" these standards in order to use only one terminology worldwide.

In the same way, the words “calibration” and “verification” are differently understood by the auditors, especially depending on their countries.

We mentioned the differences between « calibration » and « verification » at the end of one of our papers(2).

The English term « calibration » is equivalent to the French « étalonnage ». Auditors ask for a « calibration », but require in fact a verification…but, please, do NOT use this awful « verification » word, which, for them, would mean a meter checked only for its deviation…which is, indeed…a calibration. Understood???(2)

Moreover, trainees should be first taught the standardized terminology, and multiple choice questions should be added to the common core questionnaires of the certification exam.

This is extremely important because Level IIs will have to write test reports, and Level 3s, specifications. For obvious reasons of clarity, standardized terms shall be used.



(1) Pierre CHEMIN and Patrick DUBOSC, Methods and techniques in NDT: a quite usual confusion, again, Editorial december 2011.

(2) Patrick DUBOSC and Pierre CHEMIN, Quality of some calibration services, DPCNEWSLETTER N° 029, October 2010


Nominatives References

EN 1330-1:1998, Non-destructive testing – Terminology -. List of general terms, European Committee for Standardization, Brussels, Belgium, 1998.

EN 1330-2:1998, Non-destructive testing - Terminology - Part 2: Terms common to the non-destructive testing methods, European Committee for Standardization, Brussels, Belgium, 1998.

EN 1330-3:1997 standard, Non-destructive testing - Terminology - Part 3: Terms used in industrial radiographic testing, European Committee for Standardization, Brussels, Belgium, 1997.

EN 1330-4:2000, Non-destructive testing - Terminology - Part 4: Terms used in ultrasonic testing,
European Committee for Standardization, Brussels, Belgium, 2000.

EN 1330-5:1998, Non-Destructive Testing - Terminology - Part 5: Terms Used in Eddy Current Testing, European Committee for Standardization, Brussels, Belgium, 1998.

EN 1330-7:2005, Non-destructive testing Terminology Part 7: Terms used in magnetic particle testing, European Committee for Standardization, Brussels, Belgium, 2005.

EN 1330-8:1998, Non-destructive testing - Terminology - Part 8: Terms used in leak tightness testing, European Committee for Standardization, Brussels, Belgium, 1998.

EN 1330-9:2009, Non-destructive testing – Terminology - Terms used in acoustic emission testing,
European Committee for Standardization, Brussels, Belgium, 2009.

EN 1330-10:2003, Non-destructive testing — Terminology — Part 10: Terms used in visual testing,
European Committee for Standardization, Brussels, Belgium, 2003.

EN 1330-11:2007, Non-destructive testing. Terminology. Terms used in X-ray diffraction from polycrystalline and amorphous materials,
European Committee for Standardization, Brussels, Belgium, 2007.

ISO 12706:2009, Non-destructive testing - Penetrant testing – Vocabulary, International Organization for Standardization, Geneva, Switzerland, 2009.

ASTM E1316-11b, Standard Terminology for Nondestructive Examinations, ASTM International, 100 Barr Harbor Drive, PO Box C700, West Conshohocken, PA, 19428-2959, USA, 2011.

Last Updated ( Monday, 27 January 2014 20:15 )