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Nital Etch Technique for the Inspection of High-Strength Low-Alloy Steels

Nital etch inspection is a systematic process that uses acidic and basic chemicals to help detect localized heataffected areas in steel alloy products and components. Recently, nital etch inspection has gained a lot of interest in the aerospace industry. This process is categorized as a chemical process utilizing corrosive chemicals and a test technique according to a detailed specification that brings about reliable and repeatable results. The nature of this process makes it “destructive” to the test object. The removal of metal on the component’s surface aides in the inspection. However, although considered a destructive test, this does not render the part unusable.


ASNT, 2016, Materials and Processes for NDT Technology, 2nd ed., Chapter 2, pp. 42–47, 75, American Society for Nondestructive Testing, Columbus, OH

SAE International, 2018, ARP 1923: Qualification and Certification of Etch Inspectors, SAE International, Warrendale, PA

US DOD, 2019, MIL-STD-867: Standard Practice for Temper Etch Inspection, US Department of Defense (DOD), Washington, DC


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