Materials

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MATERIALS

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Industrial processes can expose materials of construction to harsh environments. Choosing the right material at the design / repair stage, or understanding why an existing material is deteriorating, is essential to running reliable and safe assets.

Our Materials Engineers offer pragmatic solutions with clear and concise reporting. We understand industry and how important it is to give clear advice, especially during shutdowns where time and resources are critical.

In the sample preparation suite, AXIOM hold high specification optical microscopy and photo-microscopy equipment together with semi-automated grinding and polishing units and with extracted fume cupboard facilities for subsequent chemical etching or gold plating of prepared specimens.

Some of the other metallographic tests carried out in support of failure investigations are listed below:

  • Element mapping and elemental compositional analysis
  • Surface replication and replication assessment
  • Austenite spacing and grain size determination of duplex stainless steels
  • Phase volume fraction determination by systematic (e.g. ASTM E562)
  • Inclusion content determination (e.g. ASTM E45)
  • Macro and micro hardness testing
  • Microstructural assessment

AXIOM materials engineers have an extensive range of techniques at their disposal to deliver an effective failure analysis, including:

  • Extensive knowledge and experience of deterioration mechanisms
  • High specification optical microscopy equipment
  • Scanning electron microscope with BSD capability
  • Element mapping and elemental compositional analysis
  • Surface replication and replication assessment
  • Macro and micro hardness testing
  • We also have close links with local test houses for specialised testing and analysis.

Our Materials and Welding Engineers are fully conversant with the many welding processes and standards, making AXIOM well placed to support clients with any fabrication or repair project. We are able to assist you with:

  • Material and welding process selection
  • Welding documentation review including WPS, WPQR and welder qualifications
  • Auditing of Inspection and Test plans and welding quality packs.
  • Compliance with international welding and fabrication standards.

At AXIOM we take a more holistic approach to positive material identification (PMI) and understand that to effectively reverse engineer an item, it is necessary to delve much deeper. We do this by:

  • Using our in-house testing facilities to determine the heat treatment and hardness (from which we can estimate the tensile strength)
  • Ascertaining if the item has been surface engineered and whether it is weldable
  • Reviewing operating and design conditions to determine if consideration needs to be given to low temperature impact toughness.
  • Estimate carbon content using carbon spark testing and sectional metallography, or if critical, submit specimens to one of our partners for accurate chemical analysis.

Our Materials Engineers are able to provide advice across both metallic and non-metallic materials, asset deterioration modes, surface engineering, and interpretation of UK and international industry standards. Our materials department can:

  • Deliver Risk Based Inspection studies with our Inspection and Mechanical teams.
  • Support our consultancy services using our laboratory facilities.
  • Access a comprehensive in-house library of academic and industry technical papers and reference guides.
  • When required, work closely with UKAS-accredited laboratories for more specialised analysis.

Despite modern technological advancements in metallurgy and material science, corrosion remains the single biggest cause of equipment failure. AXIOM can assist you by:

  • Undertaking bench-top corrosion testing, for example in support of a failure investigation.
  • Providing corrosion coupons to install on-site and carrying out corrosion assessments of these after exposure.
  • Accessing a comprehensive in-house corrosion library.

A metallurgical replica is an acetate film that has been applied to the surface of a polished and etched steel pipe or vessel. The acetate film ‘replicates’ the microstructure of the item under scrutiny and when executed correctly, the replica is indistinguishable from an equivalent solid sample.

  • Replication is usually undertaken in connection with creep life determination, and AXIOM Materials Engineers assess a vast number of replicas each year. AXIOM also has the capability of taking metallurgical replicas (on
    site) but for ‘industrial scale quantities’, this work maybe sub-contracted to other partners of AXIOM.
  • Remnant life assessment is completed in collaboration with our Mechanical Engineering Department.

Supporting the Asset Life Cycle