What is Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) and what is it used for?

Non-destructive testing (NDT) is a test that allows for the evaluation of the quality of materials used for the fabrication of steel and concrete structures, and to assess the condition of existing buildings. 

 This type of testing is essential to ensure safety and guarantee the safety and reliability of public and private works. In addition, it is convenient to prevent future building repair costs of a building and to determine the actual condition of old constructions (bridges, elevators, pipelines, refineries, etc.).

The methods used in non-destructive are based on the application of physical phenomena on materials and/or structure electromagnetic, acoustic, and/or elastic waves, subatomic particles, among others.  The best attribute of NDT is that it doesn’t alter the surface on which it is performed.

Main advantages of performing NDT on materials and buildings

With non-destructive testing, it is possible to determine the stress level of the beams of a structure and to detect any defects in the steel, weldingpaint, and connections. This allows:

1- Avoiding costly repairs to a steel structure

By detecting defects in the parts and materials to be used to manufacture the reinforcement in advance, the integrity and strength of the structural elements are ensured and avoids subsequent repair costs.  It is also an economical cost-effective way to perform maintenance testing on older infrastructures.

2. NDT allows mitigating the effects of a natural disaster

NDT can be used to determine whether a building or steel structure is particularly vulnerable to a natural catastrophe. For example, there are welding defects that are difficult to detect visually, which can cause joints to break if the structure is exposed to unusual pressure on it, NDT allows detecting this type of defect and repairing them before finishing the reinforcement assembly.

3. Determine the condition of existing buildings

Ultrasonic NDT can be used to determine the stress level of structural elements of old construction and buildings with built-in beams. Based on the results, a diagnosis is made of the type of reinforcements needed for the structure tightening bolts, touching up paint coatings, improving welding, etc. Sometimes, minor repairs can greatly extend the useful life of a building.

4. Evaluate the seismic vulnerability of the reinforcement

During the construction of buildings, bridges, and other large structures, NDT can be performed with radiation techniques to detect faults, such as cracks, which could have a serious impact on the building during an earthquake. It is necessary to carry out this type of testing to eliminate hidden defects in the structure and to comply with the requirements of the Regulation for the Seismic Analysis and Design of Structures of the Ministry of Public Works and Communications of the Dominican Republic.

5. Verify if the construction elements comply with the quality codes.

Codes such as  ASTM  provide technical standards for the quality of materials, products, and systems, serve as a guide when evaluating the design and fabrication of a steel or concrete structure. 

By having a reliable reference to measure the results of nondestructive testing, it is easier to reliably determine whether the materials and construction elements meet the required quality and strength of the structure. 

non-destructive testing in reinforced concrete

How Ingeniería Metálica can help you achieve successful NDT

At Ingeniería Metálica we have the NDT Systems division specialized in non-destructive testing for reinforced concrete and steel structures. Our NDT allows you to ensure the quality and safety level of your civil, industrial, and commercial projects. We have more than 10 years of experience in the realization of NDT in the private and civil fields. We were contracted by the World Bank for the evaluation of buildings affected by the 2010 earthquake in the Republic of Haiti, and we have performed NDT in more than 200 buildings in the Dominican Republic. . Among the non-destructive testing that we perform and the services we offer include: 

  • Visual inspection (FEMA 351-353, AISC)
  • Preparation of structural drawings (AS BUILT)
  • Surface penetrating radar
  • Footing and foundation mapping 
  • Resistance and integrity tests: Sclerometer (ASTM-805), Ultrasonic (ASTM-C-597), WINDSOR Hammer Tests (ASTMC-803), Concrete Core Removal (ACI-318).
  • Dynamic analysis: a seismic vulnerability assessment of existing buildings, analysis and design of seismic-resistant buildings (according to the latest seismic code of the Dominican Republic), tests for special buildings (silos, water tanks, etc.).

Contact us to learn more in more detail about all the NDT services we offer and get a free quote.