Published on 08-Sep-2023

Most Common NDT Techniques Utilized in Pipeline Inspections

Most Common NDT Techniques Utilized in Pipeline Inspections

Table of Contents

  • Non-destructive Testing Techniques for Pipeline Inspections

  • Conclusion

Non-destructive testing (NDT) is a popular analysis and inspection method that is used by the oil & gas industry among others, in order to assess the properties of the pipelines without even modifying or destroying the serviceability of the original system.

Mechanical damages, surface corrosion, and cracks are the most ordinary discontinuities detected by visual inspections. 

As non-destructive project engineers or testing managers who are working for a service corporation, you will have to supervise the team of NDT Technicians in charge of amassing vital data at the time of pipeline inspections.

You must also be able to analyze and verify the outcomes to provide the owner of the pipeline with the right type of diagnosis.

Remember that unreliable or inaccurate measurements can result in fault analysis that might have some adverse effects. 

Your job is to maintain the integrity of the aging pipeline networks and the decision to do the repair of a particular section by the service company is basically under your authority.

Therefore, in order to ensure the integrity of the pipeline and reliability, you must be able to land on the perfect decision on the basis of the information that you believe. 

When it comes to, pipelines are quite susceptible to various types of damages that result from manufacturing shortcomings, internal and external corrosion, cracking, etc.

There are numerous pipelines that are being utilized today all across the country carrying water, crude oil, gas, industrial chemicals, and beyond.

Inherently, any leakage or other structural harm to all these pipelines can have fateful effects. This is where non-destructive inspection of pipelines comes in! 

The below-mentioned methods do not cause any injury to the serviceability of the system or portion.

Equipment utilized for non-destructive pipe testing usually utilizes magnetic particles, ultrasonic sound waves, x-rays, etc.

When compared to destructive testing methods, Non-destructive Testing is preferred entirely because they do not harm the equipment that is being tested.

Let us explore the methods now! 

Non-destructive Testing Techniques for Pipeline Inspections

Non-destructive Testing methods are crucial for the inspection of pipelines to make sure that the safety and integrity of the pipelines are maintained.

We have listed five non-destructive testing methods that are utilized generally for the inspections of pipelines: 

1) Magnetic Flux Leakage (MFL)

This method is widely utilized for non-destructive testing for the assessment of ferromagnetic pipelines.

It implicates the utilization of powerful magnets and sensors to identify magnetic leakages that are caused by defects such as cracks, corrosion, and wall loss.

Magnetic flux leakage has the ability to provide accurate and precise information about the location, size, and severity of the shortcomings.

Expand Your Knowledge, Basic Principles of Magnetic Particle Testing

2) Ultrasonic Testing (UT) 

This Non-destructive Testing Methods makes use of high-frequency sound waves in order to inspect pipelines for internal and external deficiencies.

It can discover flaws such as cracks, weld defects, corrosion, and thickness variations.

Ultrasonic Testing is extremely effective for examining the thickness of the pipe walls and learning hidden discontinuities that might not be visible on the material's surface. 

3) Eddy Current Testing (ECT) 

Eddy Current Testing is utilized for the assessment of non-ferromagnetic pipelines.

It functions by inducing an alternating eddy current in the surface of the pipe, which further generates an electromagnetic field.

So, the modifications in the electromagnetic field are brought about by the deformities such as erosion, corrosion, and cracks identified by sensors, which provide valuable data about the pipeline's condition. 

4) Radiographic Testing (RT)

This particular test utilizes gamma rays and X-rays in order to examine the integrity of the pipelines.

It can catch sight of internal flaws such as cracks, inclusions, and weld discontinuities.

Radiographic Testing offers detailed pictures that help in identifying the size, location, and nature of the deficiencies.

This makes it beneficial for onshore and offshore inspections of pipelines. 

There's More to Explore, Radiographic Films: A Complete Guide to Understanding the Basics

5) Visual Inspection (VI) 

Visual Inspection plays a vital role in the inspection of pipelines.

It includes direct visual assessments of the internal and external surfaces of the pipeline in order to identify visible deformities such as leaks, mechanical damage, and corrosion.

Visual inspection is usually incorporated with other Non-destructive Testing Techniques for an extensive assessment of the condition of the pipeline. 


Well, it is crucial to note the selection of Non-destructive Testing Methods when it comes to pipeline inspection.

This might vary depending on different factors such as location, the material of the pipeline, size, and some specific needs of the examination process.

In addition, advanced technologies such as laser scanning and guided wave testing are also being utilized in pipeline assessments as they tend to offer additional abilities for identifying flaws. 

However, to read more articles on non-destructive testing and its methods, visit OnestopNDT today! 


1. Revo Group

2. AZO Materials

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Application Notes