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Failure Prevention

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HOW CAN WE HELP YOU?

Failure investigations help clients prevent failures, extend component service life, and establish inspection intervals. SwRI conducts analyses to:

  • Determine the causes of failure
  • Identify design and operating deficiencies
  • Improve reliability and safety
  • Lower operating costs
  • Provide impartial evaluations

Primary Failure Analysis

SwRI engineers have extensive experience in identifying failure mechanisms including:

  • High- and low-cycle fatigue
  • Stress corrosion cracking
  • High-temperature degradation
  • Brittle failure mechanisms
  • Fretting and wear mechanisms
  • Welding defects
  • Petrochemical corrosion mechanisms

Failure Prevention Facilities & Equipment

SwRI's mechanical engineering laboratories include:

  • Three scanning electron microscope (SEM) systems for fractographic and metallographic analysis
  • Servo-hydraulic loading stage for SEM to enable in situ analysis of controlled fractures under high magnifications
  • Powder X-ray diffractometer for crystallographic analysis of materials and deposit analysis
  • Two profilometers for surface roughness measurements
  • Three energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometer (EDS) systems, coupled to each SEM, to identify elemental composition of materials, such as aggressive corrosion products
  • Scanning auger microprobe spectrometer to identify elemental composition of contaminants and microstructural phases
  • Scanning-tunneling and atomic force microscopes (STM/AFM) for analysis of nanoscale surface topography
  • Metallographs for heat treat verification, microstructural examination, and material characterization
  • Portable microscope, hardness testing unit, and replication kit for field investigations
  • Fully equipped mechanical testing laboratory, including 40 closed-loop, servo-hydraulically controlled mechanical test systems
  • Autoclaves for high-pressure and high-temperature corrosion investigations
  • Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrophotometer for molecular-level compositional analysis of non-metallics
  • Raman spectroscopic imaging and microanalysis system for spatially mapped compositional analysis of various materials
  • HEPA filtrated metals lab and hot cells capable of handling multicurie specimens

Additional Failure Analysis Services

When investigations require in-depth studies of failure mechanisms, SwRI applies:

  • Finite element analysis
  • Damage tolerance analysis
  • Life extension predictions
  • Mechanical testing
  • In-service condition assessment
  • Nondestructive evaluation
  • Maintenance optimization
  • Design or redesign

Other failure analysis capabilities at SwRI