Eddy current testing is widely used in the aerospace industry and in other manufacturing and service environments that require inspection of thin metal for potential safety-related or quality-related problems. In addition to crack detection in metal sheets and tubing, eddy current can be used for certain metal thickness measurements such as identifying corrosion under aircraft skin, to measure conductivity and monitor the effects of heat treatment, and to determine the thickness of nonconductive coatings over conductive substrates. Both field portable and fixed system instruments are available to meet a wide variety of test needs.
Eddy current NDT can examine large areas very quickly, and it does not require use of coupling liquids. In addition to finding cracks, eddy current can also be used to check metal hardness and conductivity in applications where those properties are of interest, and to measure thin layers of nonconductive coatings like paint on metal parts. At the same time, eddy current testing is limited to materials that conduct electricity and thus cannot be used on plastics. In some cases, eddy current and ultrasonic testing are used together as complementary techniques, with eddy current having an advantage for quick surface testing and ultrasonics having better depth penetration.