Sep 8, 2012

Surface Eddy Current Testing

Surface Eddy Current Testing is used for the detection of surface cracks in both nonferromagnetic and ferromagnetic materials. The method is very sensitive in detecting tight cracks. Calibration is performed on electrical discharge machined notches. In addition to detection, the method can accurately measure crack depth in nonferromagnetic materials. These materials include stainless steels and high temperature nickel chromium alloys. When sizing cracks, the eddy current test frequency is selected so that the depth of penetration is greater than the expected crack depth. Some common probes used for surface eddy current testing are spot probes, X-point probes and pencil probes.
Both surface eddy current testing and liquid penetrant testing are surface test techniques used for the detection of surface breaking cracks. Eddy current testing has advantages over liquid penetrant testing in certain applications:
  • eddy current testing is significantly more sensitive than liquid penetrant testing in the detection of tight cracks (for example, stress corrosion cracks in stainless steels)
  • eddy current testing can measure crack depth in nonferromagnetic materials, whereas liquid penetrant testing does not have this capability
  • eddy current testing can test through paint coatings
  • for testing in small areas, eddy current testing is much faster; liquid penetrant testing is slow because of the long dwell times.


  1. Interesting article, good introduction to eddy current for those not in the know.

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