When is ultrasonic testing the best form of NDT?

Ultrasonic Testing

The great thing about non-destructive testing (NDT) is there are many different techniques to choose from. A skilful technician can tell you when one method is more suitable than another. It all comes down to the specifics of each job, as well as how each technique works. Below we want to take a look at the times when ultrasonic testing is the best choice of NDT.

What is it?

Before we go any further though, we want to take a quick look at what UT actually is. The technique utilises high frequency sound waves. When they travel through a component, they will reflect back differently when they encounter a discontinuity. As a result, the readings can show the size and location of various issues, including cracks.

When to use it?

Ultrasonic testing is one of the most useful forms of NDT. It is safe to use in a huge array of different locations and environments. The equipment is also highly portable and quite easy to use. That means it is a great option for testing on site.

In addition, there is no mess to clean up. This is a good option when you consider that some other forms of testing can require messy surface preparation. If you need to avoid a long set up time and mess, UT is the best option.

One of the best things about UT is it can detect defects on both the surface and sub-surface. It is also useful for inspecting welds to check for flaws within them.


There are some limitations with the testing though. Like most types of NDT, the skills of the technician are vital. They must be able to set up and use the equipment properly. In addition, they must be able to decipher the results.

UT is not the best option for thin materials as the sound waves may simply travel straight though. That means it can struggle to detect issues. The geometry of a part can also cause some issues.

Talk to us about ultrasonic testing

If you want arrange testing but are unsure what type you need, Format NDT can help. Simply get in touch and we will advise you.