When a product fails and you want to know what happened, the first thing to do is inspection from the outside. However, the features of interest may be invisible from the outside (internal cracks, delamination, …). In that case, you need to expose the inside by destructive disassembly, cross-sectioning, etching, and so on…, or you can use one of the so-called “non-destructive testing” methods.
The non-destructive methods have the advantage that the sample is unaltered and all further processing or testing is still possible. Non-destructive techniques are very useful to periodically monitor the integrity of a product during operation or during accelerated lifetime testing. They are also used to locate a failure position, so that a cross section right through the defect can be made.
The family of non-destructive testing (NDT) methods consists of
- X-ray transmission and tomography
- Acoustic or ultrasound analysis and microscopy
- Magnetic induction and eddy current probes
- Liquid penetrant inspection
- Magnetic particle imaging
- and many more
Some typical failure modes addressed with NDT are
- delamination of solder bonds, coatings or adhesives
- fracture of bond wires inside an IC package
- layer thickness variation of coatings
- microcrack formation in constructions with mechanical stress concentrations
Whenever you need to analyse a failure, or monitor product integrity, NDT should be your first consideration. Innovation Labs Material Analysis can help you choose a suitable method, perform the analysis and advice on the interpretation and follow-up. Next steps may be destructive analysis, e.g. by cross-sectioning and electron microscopy or by mechanical testing (tensile, peel, scratch). All such tests and analyses are available under one roof at Innovation Labs Material Analysis.