Fatigue Failure Analysis

Fatigue failure analysis examines material and/or component failure for root cause determination from cyclic load performance during real-world operating conditions.

ATS’ highly trained engineers design test programs and simulations while conducting various types of fatigue failure analysis.  Either standard ASTM methods or functional cyclic testing on actual components may be utilized for this purpose.  As a full-service materials testing, analytical, and component testing lab, ATS specializes in the physical and chemical behavior of materials which may include, but is not limited to aluminum, copper alloys, steel, stainless steel, super alloys, titanium, ceramics, and plastics.  ATS’ metallurgists and technicians utilize up-to-date technology to perform hardness and tensile testing, chemical analysis, metallography, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), visual examination, and optical fractography.  In addition, our fatigue failure analysis lab performs root cause determination on various other material related problems such as, overload fractures, cracking, formability issues, microstructural degradation, corrosion and wear.

An important aspect of fatigue failure analysis consists of material identification.  Alloy identification is the process of determining the chemical make-up of various metals.  Alloys are a combination of two or more metals, usually to provide greater strength or corrosion resistance.  The process of alloy identification methodically identifies the amalgam which makes up the alloy.  Contaminant identification utilizes scanning electron microscopy (SEM) which produces brilliant images of surfaces at various powers of magnification up to tens of thousands of times for observation and categorizing a material failure.  In conjunction with SEM, energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) is an analytical capability used for the chemical characterization of the sample in a nondestructive manner.

Additional metallurgical services regarding fatigue failure analysis include hardness testing which measures the resistance of a material to deformation.  Types of hardness testing include Brinell, Vickers macro/microhardness, Knoop microhardness, Rockwell and superficial Rockwell. 

SEM/EDS and metallography are used in characterizing corrosion related failures, which  may include weld decay, graphitic, corrosion fatigue, galvanic, pitting, crevice, stress corrosion cracking (SCC), and microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC).

In evaluating the processing history of metals, microstructural analysis is utilized for qualitative observations and quantitative measurements which characterize the effects of various manufacturing or heat treatment processes on a material.  Microstructural analysis includes determination of grain size, grain flow/orientation, grain structure, phase identification, presence of nitriding, case depth, coating thickness, inclusion morphology, inclusion content, intermetallic phases, porosity, and void orientation.

Our fatigue failure analysis lab provides testing to a broad range of industries throughout the United States and around the globe which includes aerospace, automotive, defense/military, consumer product, manufacturing, maritime, nuclear, petrochemical, power generation, pulp and paper, polymer and plastics, and utilities.  ATS experts deliver accurate findings and analysis in our state-of-the-art labs.  We follow quality assurance standards such as ISO 17025 (A2LA), ISO 9001 Quality Management, and Nadcap to meet and/or exceed our client’s needs.
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