Uniform etch (corrosion is characterized by a general overall reduction in thickness of the metal in which some areas
may be corroded more rapidly than others. This form of corrosion is readily detectable by visual means on exposed
surfaces. Corrosion of inaccessible surfaces of thin metal structures is detectable with eddy currents if access is
available to the uncorroded side. Detection of this type of corrosion then becomes a matter of thickness measurement
with some variations expected because of small areas with increased corrosion or the presence of metallic materials at
the far surface.
Small localized areas of corrosion are termed pitting. Pitting can vary from pinpoint size to relatively large areas. The
detection and measurement of corrosion pits must take these possible variations into account.
In some materials, including many structural aluminum alloys, corrosion occurs preferentially along grain boundaries.
Although slight amounts of corrosion pitting may be observed at the surface, the extent of damage is not readily
observable by visual means because of the small crack-like penetrations. This type of attack is particularly applicable to
Exfoliation corrosion initiates along grain boundaries parallel to the surface and propagates from these initiation sites.
The corrosion products force the metal upward resulting in blistering and flaking of the metal. This corrosion form is
most prevalent in structural aluminum alloys such as 7075-T6.
Stress Corrosion Cracking.
The combination of a constantly applied residual or applied stress and a corrosive (environment can lead to stress
corrosion cracking in many high strength metals. The sustained stress can result from heat treating, machining,
forming, shrink fits, welding, and assembly mismatch. Depending on the type of metal and the corrosive environment,
stress corrosion cracking may or may not be associated with other forms of corrosion. This form of corrosion is
primarily a crack and its detection has been covered under applications related to crack detection.
Test System Requirements for corrosion Detection.
The test system requirements for corrosion detection depends on the type and depth of corrosion for which inspection is
performed. For uniform etch corrosion and for large pits, thickness measuring systems provide optimum delectability.
For small pits and small areas of exfoliation or intergranular attack, the inspection requirements become similar to
those for subsurface flaws. Instrumentation and probes with a broad selection of operating frequencies may be needed
to cover the wide range of material types and thicknesses. Impedance plane analysis equipment can be used for
corrosion detection and has many advantages for these applications. Battery operated impedance plane analysis,
equipment allows this equipment to be used in most field situations.
The choice of frequency depends on the type of corrosion to be detected and the thickness of the material through which
inspection is being performed. Higher frequencies favor resolution of small pits or small areas of intergranular
corrosion or exfoliation. Lower frequencies increase the depth of penetration.
The probe must match the frequency at which the inspection for corrosion is performed. When more than one model of
probe is operable at the inspection frequency, part and probe geometry are the determining factors in probe selection.
For narrow contact areas, a smaller diameter probe may be advantageous. Larger diameter probes provide for greater
averaging of thickness and provide somewhat better sensitivity in thicker areas.
Because of the unique action of each type of corrosion and its effect upon conductivity, calibration standards must be
fabricated form the same alloy, temper, and thickness as the material being inspected. When faying surfaces are
involved in corrosion detection, the standard should be built up to simulate the joint including nonconductive shims for