Conventional Radiographic Inspection

A source of X or gamma radiation is utilized in radiographic testing (RT) to create an image of the component on photographic film (by placing the radiation source on one side of the component and the film on the other). After being exposed to radiation, the film is developed and the image is then shown on a screen that is lit. Radiography is frequently used to find volumetric faults since it produces a permanent record (the exposed film), which is a significant benefit of the technique (surface and internal).

The voltage of X-ray equipment varies from 20kV to 20MV (the higher the voltage the greater the penetrating power of the radiation and the greater the thickness of the component that can be tested). Although its sensitivity is typically lower than that of X-ray radiography, gamma radiography is performed utilizing radioactive isotope sources (for example, Cobalt-60, and iridium-192). As a result of its higher portability, it is frequently utilized for fieldwork.

Sharpness and contrast are crucial for the radiographic pictures’ dependability and interpretive value, which is crucial for the inspector to precisely spot defects. To ensure that the part’s image appears on the radiograph and that a standard for sharpness and contrast can be established, an Image Quality Indicator (IQI) is attached to it.

The inherent hazard of employing a radioactive source, which necessitates strict safety precautions and necessitates the closure of a sizable area around the RT testing site before any inspection can begin, is one disadvantage of radiographic testing. Recent technological developments have made it possible to create safer radiation sources that are acceptable for many RT examinations, and MQS now focuses our RT services on providing these options.

The goal of MQS has always been to use technology to enhance inspection services to better meet the demands of our clients, and radiographic testing is no different. Computed radiography and Baby Scar source technologies are combined by MQS to improve inspection efficiency and save downtime at construction sites.

Instead of using a conventional film, computed radiography employs phosphor storage plates to collect and store pictures on a computer. Lower exposure periods and simpler picture processing are made possible as a result. Small Controlled Area Radiography (SCAR) is a less dangerous radioactive source that avoids interference with other activities by reducing the field of exposure.

We are able to undertake RT testing without having to close down a sizable area thanks to computed radiography and SCAR technology, which saves our clients time and money. To learn more about the most recent computer radiography testing procedures, contact MQS.

Why Is A Radiography Test Required?

A highly sensitive image of the material’s interior structure can be obtained through radiographic testing, which leaves a permanent record in the form of an X-ray image. The object’s thickness and density affect how much energy it can hold. The radiography film is exposed by the energy that is not absorbed by the object.

Types Of Radiography

There are many different kinds of RT procedures, including traditional radiography and several kinds of digital radiography testing. Each one functions slightly differently and has distinct benefits and drawbacks.

In traditional radiography, the component to be evaluated is photographed using a sensitive film that responds to the radiation being emitted. Then, damage or flaws might be detected in this image. This method’s main drawbacks are that movies can only be utilized once and that processing and interpretation require a lot of time.

Digital Radiography

Digital radiography doesn’t need a film as traditional radiography does. Instead, radiographic pictures are nearly instantly shown on a computer screen using a digital detector. This makes it possible to use a significantly shorter exposure time, which speeds up image interpretation. In addition, compared to traditional radiography images, digital images are of significantly greater quality.

The technology can be used to detect material flaws and foreign items in a system, examine weld repairs, and check insulation for corrosion thanks to its ability to take high-quality photos.

Computed radiography, direct radiography, real-time radiography, and computed tomography are the four most popular digital radiography methods utilized in the oil and gas and chemical processing industries.

  1. Computed Radiography

In contrast to traditional radiography methods, computed radiography (CR) replaces the film with a phosphor imaging plate. While slower than direct radiography, this method is much faster than film radiography. Compared to direct radiography, CR necessitates a number of extra processes.

A component’s picture is first inadvertently recorded on a phosphor plate, after which it is transformed into a digital signal that can be viewed on a computer monitor. Although it may be enhanced with the right tools and methods, image quality is only fair (e.g. adjusting contrast, brightness, etc. without compromising integrity). It’s critical to comprehend how techniques like contrast adjustment impact the image. Additionally, care should be made to prevent minor flaws from remaining undetected after changes.

  1. Direct Radiography

Direct radiography (DR) is a closely related variation of computed radiography and digital radiography. The manner the photo is shot is where the primary distinction lies. In DR, an image is directly captured by a flat panel detector and shown on a computer screen. Despite being quicker and producing images of higher quality, this method is more expensive than computed radiography.

  1. Real-Time Radiography

As the name suggests, real-time radiography (RTR) is a type of digital radiography that utilizes real-time data. Radiation is emitted through an object via RTR. Then, these beams engage with a unique phosphor screen or a flat panel detector with electronic sensors. A digital image that can be viewed and examined in real-time is produced as a result of the panel’s interaction with radiation.

More radiation has touched the screen in those portions of the image that are brighter. This is corresponding to the area of the component that is thinner or less dense. Darker areas, on the other hand, show where the component is thicker and are caused by less radiation interacting with the screen.

RTR has a number of benefits in addition to the potential for quicker image availability and real-time analysis. For starters, unlike films, digital photographs don’t need physical storage space, making them simpler to keep, transfer, and archive.

On the other hand, there are a number of drawbacks to this approach. RTR has a lesser contrast sensitivity and worse image resolution than traditional radiography. RTR images frequently have poor resolution, noise, poor sharpness, and uneven lighting. Image quality is significantly influenced by these variables.

  1. Computed Tomography

A 3D X-ray image is produced by superimposing hundreds to thousands of 2D radiographic scans using computed tomography (CT) technology, depending on the size of the component.

CT can be implemented in an industrial context in one of two ways. In one technique, the component that needs to be inspected stays still while the X-ray detector and radiation source spin around it. This method is more frequently applied to large components. The second technique involves rotating the component 360 degrees while keeping the radiation source and X-ray detector stationary. This second method works better when the component is small or has a complicated geometrical design.

Despite being modern, pricey, and requiring a lot of data storage, CT produces extremely accurate images, is reliable and reproducible, and reduces human error.

Uses of Conventional Radiography

The imaging technique that is most widely accessible is radiography. It is frequently the first imaging technique recommended to assess the limbs, chest, and occasionally the spine and abdomen. Important structures in these regions have densities that are different from those of the surrounding tissues. Radiography is a primary test for identifying, for instance, the following:

  • Fractures: White bone is easily visible due to its proximity to grey soft tissues in 
  • Pneumonia: Because it contrasts with nearby, more radiolucent air spaces, the inflammatory exudate that fills the lungs is easily recognized.
  • Intestinal obstruction: Among the surrounding soft tissue, dilated, air-filled loops of the intestine are clearly visible.

Variations of Conventional Radiography

Contrast studies

A radiopaque contrast agent (see Radiographic Contrast Agents and Contrast Reactions) is frequently applied to one tissue or structure to distinguish it from its surrounds when the density of nearby tissues is similar. Blood vessels (for angiography) and the lumina of the gastrointestinal, biliary, and genitourinary tracts are examples of structures that normally need a contrast agent. The lower gastrointestinal system can be made transparent and stretched with gas.

Contrast studies have been mainly supplanted by other imaging procedures (such as CT and MRI), whose tomographic pictures enable more accurate anatomic localization of a problem. Barium contrast investigations of the esophagus, stomach, and upper intestinal system have mostly been superseded by endoscopic treatments.


Real-time photographs of moving objects or structures are created using a continuous x-ray beam. Most frequently, fluoroscopy is employed.

  • Comparative agents (eg, in swallowing studies or coronary artery catheterization)
  • To direct the insertion of a heart line, catheter, or needle during medical procedures (eg, in electrophysiologic testing or percutaneous coronary interventions)

Additionally, real-time fluoroscopic motion detection of the diaphragm, as well as of bones and joints, is possible (eg, to assess the stability of musculoskeletal injuries).

Disadvantages of Conventional Radiography

In many cases, diagnostic precision is constrained. There may be benefits to using different imaging procedures, such as increased detail, safety, or speed.

If utilized, intestinal contrast agents like barium and gastrografin (an oral contrast agent based on iodine) have drawbacks, and IV contrast agents have dangers.