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A Brief Introduction to Neutron Radiography

Neutron radiographic testing (NR) is a unique, powerful nondestructive testing (NDT) technique that identifies discontinuities in materials where radiographic testing (RT), ultrasonic testing, eddy current testing, and other techniques often fall short. However, since the technique’s inception, it has remained a little-used, little-known technique within the realm of materials testing. While similar to RT, NR depends on the unique properties of neutron radiation to provide insights into the composition of materials and detect discontinuities that may be partially or even completely invisible to other forms of NDT. Even so, while many people in the NDT community know almost nothing about NR, it is of vital importance to professionals in certain niche areas, including quality assurance of aircraft turbine blades, munitions, and energetic devices. While NR has been slow to mature as an NDT technique in the past due to its reliance on nuclear fission reactors as a neutron source, making it difficult and inconvenient to use, advances in nuclear technology are making this technique more accessible. In particular, recent advancements in neutron generator technology will widen NR’s array of potential uses to NDT professionals in manufacturing sectors, energy sectors, aerospace, defense, and more.


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