• Thomas R. Hay, Ph.D., P.E

Non-destructive Testing of Hydraulic Fracturing Components


Flow iron is used in hydraulic fracturing and flowback operations. This process is also referred to fracking. Flow iron requires periodic non-destructive testing to assure fitness-for-service. Non-destructive testing methods include ultrasonic thickness testing, phased array testing, radiographic testing, magnetic particle testing and visual testing. This article focuses in particular on magnetic particle testing of flow iron male and female sub ends.

Shown above is a top entry FMC 3” 1502 check valve. Some recommended service options are high pressure well servicing lines, fracturing lines, testing lines, cementing and circulating lines, and other well service and stimulation applications. A check valve is a mechanical device that permits fluid to flow or pressure to act in one direction only. Check valves are used in a variety of oil and gas industry applications as control or safety devices. Check valve designs are tailored to specific fluid types and operating conditions. Some designs are less tolerant of debris, while others may obstruct the bore of the conduit or tubing in which the check valve is fitted. These assets require periodic non-destructive testing which includes hydrostatic pressure testing to 15,000 PSI, visual inspection, ultrasonic thickness testing, and magnetic particle testing. Dimensional gaging may be required in some special circumstances. When you are inspecting check valves focus on any areas on the threaded female side that are dinged or nicked because cracks tend to form behind those places. On the male sub side be sure to focus behind the lip because when the wing is tightened it tends to create cracks along the circumference.