The physical properties of magnetic inks
The magnetic particle inspection (MPI) method is a widely used non destructive testing (NDT) technique for ferrous structures. Magnetic inks used in MPI are suspensions of fine ferro/ferrimagnetic particles which, when applied to a magnetized test specimen, delineate surface flaws. This work is an investigation of some of the properties of magnetic ink systems and some aspects of their interaction with defect leakage flux. Reviews of magnetism, the MPI method and leakage flux at defects are given. The construction, characterization and automation of a 1.2 T electromagnet vibrating sample magnetometer, used for magnetic measurements on the inks, is described. The instrument has a resolution of better than l0(^-9) JT(^-1) . A 2D model of indication formation in MPI, based upon the simulation of many particles in the neighbourhood of a defect, is presented. Results of the role of several of the model parameters are given. Results indicate that carrier coefficients of viscosity at the lower end of the range investigated (η = 0.3 mPas) are optimum. The size and contrast of an indication increases with defect size. The contrast and rate of formation of contrast increase with defect aspect ratio. The effect of the contrast paint layer thickness indicates that the recommendation of the British Standard, BS 5044 (1973), is qualitatively correct. Experimental observations of particles in field gradients reveals a discrepancy between theoretical and observed behaviour which is attributed, in particular, to unobservable voids in the particles. Detailed characterization of the particles shows them to be aggregates of 20 - 200 nm crystallites which are probably single domain particles. The morphology of larger aggregates is related to measurements of the low field susceptibility. Evidence from intensive magnetic measurements supports the relationship between magnetic properties and aggregate characteristics. A 'In t' magnetic viscosity effect is reported. At 77 K, the coefficient of magnetic viscosity has a maximum near the coercivity field.