Materials Integrity and Investigations

RAE Engineering offers a full-service materials investigation service that provides comprehensive failure investigation, mechanical testing, field examinations, and replication/in-situ metallography. When you use our services in the field or in our laboratory, you are assured of the highest quality, integrity, and excellence in service.

Mechanical Testing

At RAE Engineering, we perform mechanical testing to correlate material properties to design specifications. Variations to specifications leads to investigation of manufacturing processes, degradation environments, and material handling/control that impacts these properties.

  • Material hardness testing
    • Vickers
    • Brinell
    • Micro
    • Macro
    • Case Hardness Depth (CHD)
    • Field Hardness (MIC10 / UCI, Telebrinell)
  • Impact testing (CVN)
  • Surface roughness testing
  • Tensile testing

Metallographic Testing

Metallographic testing is performed to determine damage, failure mode and degradation rates.

Metallographic examinations are used in a variety of ways in damage analysis. Classic metallography consists of cutting sections through the sample, embedding it in synthetic resin, grinding and polishing the surface until it is smooth. This allows the observation of very fine structures under the light-microscope with a magnification of up to 1000x. Even larger magnifications can be achieved with the scanning electron microscope.

On-site Metallographic Services:

In-situ / Replication services are offered to examine material microstructures non-destructively.

Creep is a major cause of material degradation and cracking in plant components – steam piping, boiler headers, turbine casings, valves, etc. – that operate at high temperature and pressure. From the initial onset of creep, it progresses into creep crack development and finally creep crack growth. Using the metallographic replication techniques, RAE Engineering can evaluate the material surface microstructure and assess the creep damage that may be developing prior to catastrophic failure. Using history and quantitative evaluation of the creep damage, a life prediction can be made for certain components. The replication technique can also be used to identify other material degradation caused by improper heating – embrittlement, graphitization and microstructural decomposition.

Chemical Composition analysis

Chemical Composition analysis are performed through various methods tailored to our clients needs.

  • Positive Material Identification
    On site chemical analysis using a Niton Apollo LIBS analyzer specializes in carbon analysis for metals and alloys powered by laser induced breakdown spectroscopy.
  • Chemical analysis from metal filings / samples
    An alternative methods for accurate chemical analysis is obtained through:
    • Inductive coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES)
    • Inductive coupled plasma mass spectroscopy (ICP-MS)
    • Energy-Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDX)

Optical Analysis

Optical analysis assists in confirmation and identification of material condition or damage mechanisms.

Services Provided:

  • High quality field and laboratory photography
  • Macroscopic examination
    • Stereo microscopy
  • Microscopy
    • Microscopy
    • Scanning electron microscopy
  • Pit depth surveys and thickness measurements/microscopic image analysis
  • Replication/metallographic analysis
  • Microstructure characterization
  • Damage mechanism identification/quantification

Pipeline Sample Cut-Out Evaluation

During routine construction and modification exercises and in the event of a pipeline failure, an evaluation of a cut-out can provide valuable information about the effectiveness of the corrosion control program.

Services Include:

  • Providing a procedure for the removal and handling of pipeline cut-outs
  • Conducting and documenting a visual evaluation of the pipeline cut-out, including:
  • Capturing solid samples for evaluation
  • Documenting the condition of the pipe sample using photographs:
    • When the sample is received
    • After the sample has been cut
    • After the sample has been cleaned and labelled
  • Labelling and measuring all pits and corrosion
  • Determining the failure mechanism, if possible, from visual examination
  • Providing recommendations for preventing future failures of the same type
  • Documenting the above for reporting to the regulators
  • Managing additional pipe sample evaluation if visual examination is determined to be insufficient