Failure Analysis

The Precision Engineering Solutions Failure Analysis department is composed of a team of scientists with extensive experience in metallurgical failure analysis.  Our team has over 75 cumulative years of experience performing forensic failure analyses on components ranging from downhole tools, drill strings, top drives, valves, hoisting equipment, blow-out preventers, production piping, line pipe, rail car components, boilers, and mining equipment, to name a few.

Our laboratory has capabilities including macro photography, low-magnification photography, optical light microscopy (up to 1,000x), scanning electron microscopy (SEM, up to 100,000x), and energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS, for semi-quantitative chemical analysis of deposits, inclusions, or other unknown elements found during SEM examination).  As part of our laboratory capabilities, we can perform microstructural analyses in the form of porosity quantification, ferrite counts, heat affected zone evaluations, and more.

The mechanical testing and chemical analyses associated with the failure analysis process are performed by our in-house material testing laboratory.

In addition, we have the capabilities to perform corrosion analysis using visual, dimensional, and analytical (XRD & EDX) methods to identify the cause of your corrosion issues.

Our failure analysis process provides clients with the following information:

Dimensional Evaluation

Does the component conform to specified manufacturing dimensions?

Visual Examination

Are there any abnormalities in the appearance of the failed component that can guide further evaluation?

Non-destructive Testing (NDT)

Are there any crack indications that are not apparent with the naked eye?

Material Chemical Composition Verification

Does the material meet the chemical composition requirements specified?

Mechanical Property and Microstructural Evaluation

Is the material in the correct heat treated condition and does it meet client/industry specification requirements?


What is the crack morphology (shape), microstructure, & cleanliness of material; are there any microscopic or subsurface defects in the material; has the material experienced localized heat affect?


What can the fracture surface tell us (ductile overload, brittle overload, fatigue, embrittlement, corrosion, etc.), how did the failure initiate, and what is the chemical composition of surface deposits?

Evaluation of All Analysis Results

Using the findings of all of the above analyses, we can draw conclusions about the cause of the failure, methods for early detection, and methods of prevention.

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