Materials Science and Engineering
Our materials science and engineering experts specialize in evaluating systems and components from a materials perspective. With extensive knowledge in materials design and manufacturing, as well as failure analysis and testing, our experts can determine the root cause of material performance and failure issues.
When components or systems no longer operate as they were intended, either because something broke, leaked, warped, corroded, eroded, etc., it is incumbent on the consultant to determine the root cause of the failure.
Rimkus materials science and engineering consultants utilize all the available resources and analytical tools to determine not only what happened and how to prevent recurrences, but we can identify responsible parties for the assignment of damages. Our team has years of experience in failure analysis and corrosion evaluations throughout a broad expanse of industries and types of systems necessary to get the job done.
Rimkus also has a dedicated team of experts specializing in a wide variety of materials testing, analysis, and laboratory services. Visit our Materials Testing and Investigation page to learn more.
Our Materials Science and Engineering Services
Ferrous MetalsIron-based materials still constitute most of the metals used in the world today. Due to their high strength, versatility, and low cost, steel, and iron products are all around us. Rimkus has extensive experience and testing capabilities of ferrous metals, assisting clients in various industries such as construction, oil and gas, automotive, machinery, and commercial and residential buildings. From structural component failure in the building, pressure vessel explosions, broken drive axles, and crane failures, to water leaks in pipes and hoses, Rimkus experts can perform metallurgical testing, determine the cause of the failure, assist the client in materials selection, and propose the proper remediation. Corrosion poses the biggest challenge to ferrous metals. Corrosion damage often results in damage to the properties and environment, loss of equipment, business delay, and even personal injuries. Rimkus experts can investigate the type and origin of the corrosion, determine if the incident was caused by other factors, and provide prevention/control methods.
Non-Ferrous MetalsMetal products not produced from iron are an ever-increasing segment of the materials world. Copper (and copper alloys) and aluminum have been stalwart companions of iron-based alloys for centuries and are used both structurally, decoratively, and for their unique properties such as conductivity, low density, and corrosion resistance. Other non-ferrous metals like nickel-based superalloys, cobalt alloys, zinc alloys, titanium alloys, and magnesium alloys have been developed for special markets and niche uses. The materials experts at Rimkus have extensive experience with a broad range of systems containing non-ferrous metals and how those metals perform in specific environments. With extensive experience, the Rimkus team can work with any non-ferrous metal in any environment.
Polymers and PlasticsPolymers/plastics are encountered every day in our automobiles, households, buildings, electronics, textiles, adhesives, packaging, paints, coatings, etc. When you are faced with a polymeric material issue, turn to Rimkus’ expertise for identifying the root cause and origin of the failure, characterizing critical properties, or determining interactions between the polymer and other substances. By carefully investigating polymeric failure mechanisms, Rimkus experts can identify stress overloads, environmental and chemical degradation, manufacturing (molding) issues, improper service conditions, or misuse. Depending on the situation, our experts may search for voids, blisters, molding defects, contamination, absorbed solvents, oxidation, weathering, poor adhesion, mechanical failure, discoloration, and brittle or ductile fracture.
Ceramics and GlassCeramics and glasses are often the best, or only, material choice for an application. Their combination of high strength, temperature resistance, surface hardness, and transparency-by-design make their use more prevalent than one might expect. Rimkus uses optimum methods to identify modes of failure or characterize these materials for their composition and physical properties. With specialized expertise in window glass and e-glass, we can identify the source and origin of scratches, discoloration, or permanent chemical etching. Rimkus has the analytical competence to measure outgassing, binder loss, or absorbed fluids in ceramics and glass. We offer imaging of fracture surfaces, stains, and surface chemistry; cross-sectioning to evaluate cracks, voids, and intergranular phases; characterization of thin layer coatings; identification of organic contaminants absorbed during service; and measurement of decomposition due to oxygen, fluorine, and chlorine.
CompositesComposites materials are becoming a larger and larger part of our lives from sports equipment to boats; they can be found everywhere. Rimkus experts can help wherever reinforcing agents (glass and carbon and wood fibers) are added to a matrix such as polymers and rubber to produce composite materials. Our investigative experts with the help of our laboratory can identify manufacturing defects: delamination/porosity, poor wetting of the reinforcement by the resin, errors in layup orientation, or simply inappropriate material selection. Field abuse, user errors, and damage beyond normal use can also be investigated by our experts.
Building MaterialsMore than just wood and bricks, modern buildings incorporate complex materials in their construction. Rimkus experts can provide answers to many questions regarding how certain building materials functioned, performed, or degraded. In conjunction with our Property and Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (MEP) practices, Rimkus can investigate complex cases which involve building materials from traditional construction materials such as wood, concrete, brick, and mortars to engineered solutions involving multi-layer construction with polymeric membranes, metals, and even composite materials.