Editorial Feature

Non-Destructive Testing of Computer Components

This article discusses the methods of non-destructive testing (NDT) applied to computer components, utilized for industrial safety and quality assurance purposes.

non-destructive testing, NDT, computers, computer components, testing, current

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What is Non-Destructive Testing?

Nondestructive testing is a means of evaluating a material or component’s superficial or interior defects or mechanical conditions without compromising the component or the material's fitness for operation. There are several approaches for evaluating components and materials based on their stage of deployment.

Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE) or Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) is the detection and characterization of flaws or defects on the exterior and inside of components without slicing or otherwise modifying the substance.

In other terms, NDT relates to the procedure of assessing, evaluating, and inspecting materials/components to characterize or detect faults and defects in contrast to particular criteria without changing the original features or hurting the thing being examined.

NDT techniques enable or give a cost-effective method of testing a sample for individual research and inspection, or they may be used on the entire molecule for verification in a manufacturing quality management system.

Applications of Non-Destructive Testing

Throughout many circumstances, the way to discover a deficiency necessitates the utilization of more than one NDT method. It may necessitate a series of strategies as well as explorative, invasive openings.

A greater grasp of the origins, benefits, and limitations of each NDT approach is critical to the evaluation's effectiveness. Mastering a single NDT approach may not be sufficient to assure effectiveness in fixing the situation at hand. A wide range of non-destructive testing procedures is crucial in the evaluation of synthetic structures.

Composite NDT has a wide range of applications, including fabrication, computer components, pipeline and cylinder manufacture, storage facilities, aviation, armed services and aerospace, nuclear sector, and composite defect characterization.

Several Methods of Non-Destructive Testing

Damage in composite materials can occur during micromachining, part manufacture, or in-service operations, with fractures, permeability, and debonding being the most prevalent faults.

Radiographic checking, visual testing (VT) or visually inspecting (VI), ultrasonic testing, thermal imaging testing, infrared thermography testing, acoustic wave emission testing (AE), acoustic-ultrasonic, electromagnetic testing, optical testing, liquid penetrant testing, and magnetic particle inspection are all used in the fiberglass NDT field.

Computer Components

Any device that can be tasked with carrying out a collection of programs and mathematical commands is referred to as a computation device or a computer.  

Further Reading: Non-Destructive Testing in the Textile Industry

Whether it's a supercomputer or a basic home PC, the five main elements that make up a typical modern computer are a motherboard, a central processing unit (CPU), a graphics processing unit (GPU) also known as a video card, random access memory (RAM), and a storage device, which could be a solid-state drive (SSD) or a hard disc drive (HDD). Specific functional software is required to operate these hardware parts to perform required computations and functions.

What is Computer-Aided Testing (CAT)?

Computers are used to operate either analog or digital test methodologies to evaluate the effectiveness of parts and products. Computer-aided testing is used to ensure that constituent parts, modules, and entire systems are within defined specifications and work as expected.

It should be noted that meeting specifications may need that the component or network to function under adverse environments that would not be experienced in regular operation. Computer-aided testing parameters (test criteria) are frequently obtained from computer-aided designing and computer-aided fabrication technologies.

NDT of Automotive Computers

Quality control/assurance in the automobile sector has frequently relied on mechanical evaluation and assessment.  Electronic control units (ECU), commonly known as "car computers," conduct the control operations. ECUs are made up of multiple parts that combine data from different sensors throughout the vehicle.

Monitoring the performance of ECUs and other electrical devices is very essential. This requirement is met by non-destructive X-ray testing, which images the internal architecture of computers without dismantling the equipment. Microfocus X-ray computed tomography (CT) devices, in particular, can determine three-dimensional positions of small areas of interest in automotive computers using detailed information.

Eddy Current Testing of Computer Components

Eddy current testing is a typical NDT approach for computer parts that are utilized in both conventional and automatic testing environments. It is based on the electromagnetism concept. When a computer part or material has a flaw, the consumption levels rise.

The eddy current must travel a greater distance, raising resistance and resulting in higher current consumption. The variation in eddy current utilization across various cross-sections of the semiconductor components of computers can be utilized to locate and size the flaw. Eddy current instrumentation, which may include electromagnetic sensors, current fault monitors, ECT conductance meters, and other equipment, is used for this sort of nondestructive evaluation.

Limitations of NDT for IC Packaging of Computers

The speed and capacity of integrated circuit (IC) packaging in computers have increased substantially as the dimensions of circuit boards in computers have been shrunk from m to nm. Even though nanotechnology has evolved as a result of several helpful breakthroughs, some limits of NDT techniques persist.

For the Scanning Acoustic Microscopy technique, perfect sharpness and layer thickness are still not feasible at the same time, and inadequate susceptibility to edge flaws is a big issue. Other NDT techniques have issues as well, such as random fluctuations, surface texture, overheating issues, penetration issues, and prolonged response time.

 Although these problems are very serious, a few recommendations might be able to mitigate a few of these limitations. An effective in-line monitoring system during computer component fabrication might be useful in reducing the lengthy operational procedures.

The most likely answer to the current issues is to use hybrid approaches in conjunction with good modeling. Another suggestion is to integrate mathematical analysis with NDT techniques such as X-ray and SAM, as well as to use sophisticated digital signals (such as f-k filtering) and a phased array approach to access difficult-to-reach places.

In short, a lot of research is still needed to present the novelties of NDT for computer components, as well as to overcome the recent challenges. This would not only lead to efficient operations but also increased lifetime and effective manufacturing.

References and Further Reading 

Limble CMMS, 2021. What Is Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) And How It Is Used?. [Online]
Available at: https://limblecmms.com/blog/non-destructive-testing-ndt/

Quality Magazine, 2022. Nondestructive Inspection of Automotive Computers. [Online]
Available at: https://www.qualitymag.com/articles/96016-nondestructive-inspection-of-automotive-computers

Nüßler, Dirk and Jonuscheit, Joachim. "Terahertz based non-destructive testing (NDT): Making the invisible visible". 2021. tm - Technisches Messen. 88(4). 199-210. Availabe at: https://doi.org/10.1515/teme-2019-0100

Gupta, Mridul, et al. "Advances in applications of Non-Destructive Testing (NDT): A review." 2021.  Advances in Materials and Processing Technologies. 1-22. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/2374068X.2021.1909332

Abdollahi, Farima, et al. "Non-Destructive Testing of Materials by Capacitive Sensing." 2021. Automot. Eng. Available at: https://www.ndt.net/article/shmndt2020/papers/SHM-NDT_2020_paper_30.pdf.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the author expressed in their private capacity and do not necessarily represent the views of AZoM.com Limited T/A AZoNetwork the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and conditions of use of this website.

Ibtisam Abbasi

Written by

Ibtisam Abbasi

Ibtisam graduated from the Institute of Space Technology, Islamabad with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering. During his academic career, he has worked on several research projects and has successfully managed several co-curricular events such as the International World Space Week and the International Conference on Aerospace Engineering. Having won an English prose competition during his undergraduate degree, Ibtisam has always been keenly interested in research, writing, and editing. Soon after his graduation, he joined AzoNetwork as a freelancer to sharpen his skills. Ibtisam loves to travel, especially visiting the countryside. He has always been a sports fan and loves to watch tennis, soccer, and cricket. Born in Pakistan, Ibtisam one day hopes to travel all over the world.

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