The objective of a metallurgical failure analysis is to find the primary cause. Decisions must be made during any failure analysis, and the results of each step dictate the next procedure. In Matergenics, our Material and Mechanical experts systematically perform required tests as deemed needed based on our detailed failure analysis investigation. In this instance, the proposed test plan should be modified to reflect these changes. It is a waste of resources to routinely perform a series of tests or analyses that may have no relevance to the particular failure root at hand. The following steps are suggested by Matergenics as guidance.
Photographic documentation of the failed section prior to its departure from the project/accident site and upon its arrival at the Matergenitics laboratory must be available to ensure any damage from mishandling is appropriately noted. Before the shipment of the failed section, proper preservation techniques for the fracture surfaces and the section (including coating), if required, should be identified and a chain of custody should be established for transfer of the failed section to our testing facility.
Before the failed section arrives at our testing facility, it should be determined if destructive testing of the failed section has been approved. Only non-destructive testing is allowed in some instances to preserve the samples (e.g. pipe) intact for evidentiary purposes. In some instances destructive testing can only be performed when all interested parties agree to its necessity and a consensus protocol can be crafted establishing those that can witness the destructive tests.
In corrosion failure analysis of pipe lines and underground assets or process plants, besides a metallurgical analysis of the pipe/component, the internal and external environment of the line pipe must also be considered to arrive at the causal factors that may have caused the line pipe to fail. Therefore, the presence of corrosion products inside and outside the pipe line in the area of the failure must be considered and collected for analysis, as appropriate. For example, soil in the immediate area of the failure, dislodged soil adjacent to the ejected pipe, and soil that had adhered to the line pipe may have to be collected for analysis.
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Although Matergentic’s work is vital to its clients, it is rarely seen by the public. Here are some examples of recent jobs in which Matergentics consultants provided the timely, competent, customer-oriented engineering analysis that made the difference.