Materials Science and Laboratory Services
Rimkus materials science and laboratory experts specialize in many areas of materials science from corrosion investigation to material selection.
Rimkus materials laboratories specialize in product testing, failure analysis, materials characterization, materials selection, and root cause analyses. Our experts specialize in many areas of materials science, including corrosion investigation, defect investigation, heat treatment processes, weld engineering and processes, and material selection.
We can also assist in supplier and material selection by comparison testing of components from different vendors or manufacturing processes.
Learn more about our laboratory services below
James F. Lane, P.E.
Allen R. Conway
Our Materials Science and Laboratory Services
Product TestingProduct Testing is a method of evaluating properties and performance of systems or components within a system. Whether we’re evaluating a poorly performing product to support design modifications or performing first article testing on new products, our team has the expertise and laboratory capability to support any type of evaluation.
Metallurgical Failure AnalysisFailure analysis is performed by systematically examining, testing, and analyzing the components, starting with gathering background information about the evidence, its application, and history. A detailed visual examination, non-destructive testing, digital and electron microscopy (SEM), metallography, and mechanical and chemical testing, all produce data that is synthesized to develop fracture and failure theories as part of the root cause analysis.
Materials CharacterizationAdvanced analytical techniques are used to evaluate the materials properties and describe the microscopic structure. These data are necessary to assess the property/structure relationships and how a material will react to the environment around it. The microstructure, mechanical properties, and chemical properties are necessary to understand the performance of engineered materials.
Mechanical TestingRimkus laboratories have full mechanical testing capabilities to determine the compliance of materials to applicable standards and specifications. We have extensive experience with mechanical testing methodology as well as the interpretation of the results. Our fully equipped machine shop allows us to produce the custom test specimens needed for specific mechanical tests. The mechanical testing and material testing we perform may be part of a quality assurance program, manufacturing engineering program, failure analysis, or for materials research and development. Tests are performed to ASTM (or other industry-recognized) specifications. In-house mechanical testing equipment is used for the following material tests:
- Tensile Testing
- Compression Testing
- Charpy V-Notch Testing
- Rockwell Hardness
- Brinell Hardness
- Microhardness Testing (Knoop, Vickers)
- Impact Testing
- Bend Testing
Chemical AnalysisEnergy Dispersive Spectrometer (EDS): Surface analyses, chemical analysis, and imaging on a variety of materials are performed using a scanning electron microscope (SEM). The SEM is equipped with an Energy Dispersive Spectrometer (EDS), sometimes also referred to as energy dispersive x-ray analysis (EDXA). SEM/EDS provides elemental chemical analysis of the field of view or spot analyses of minute particles. EDS micro-chemical analysis is performed by measuring the energy and intensity of the signals generated by a focused electron beam scanned across the specimen. More than 90 elements can be detected with our low-atomic number detector using the SEM/EDS method. Spectrometry (Bulk material chemical compositional analysis and alloy certification): Optical Emission Spectrometry (OES) technique utilizes a high-energy spark created across an argon-filled gap between an electrode and a sample of the material to be analyzed. The spark creates an emission of radiation from the excited sample surface with wavelengths characteristic of the elemental chemical composition. The spectrum of radiation is separated into the distinct element lines and the intensity of each line is measured. Finally, these are precisely converted into concentration values for each element present.
Metallography/Microstructure EvaluationThe properties of a material and its performance in a specific application depends on its microstructure. Our metallographs (light microscopes) are capable of examinations at magnifications from 15X to 1,000X. Analyses of microstructure and material defects in cross-sectioned samples determine material properties, flaw characteristics, and defect mechanisms. Rimkus laboratories have full metallographic preparation capabilities from sectioning and mounting the specimen through the grinding and polishing stages to proper selection and etching techniques of the tested material.
Specialty Laboratory ServicesSpecialty Laboratory Services includes non-traditional or field-related testing. Salt spray exposure testing is used to evaluate coatings or product performance when exposed to aggressive environments. Non-destructive testing and field replication allow assessment of components and structures in-situ without damage or modification.
Corrosion Testing and EvaluationCorrosion is the interaction between a metal and its environment that results in degradation of material and can lead to serious or catastrophic failures. Corrosion engineering is the process of collecting and analyzing corrosion failures to identify the source (root cause) of the corrosion, determine the severity of the corrosion, and provide expert opinions and recommendations for corrosion remediation and prevention. Corrosion investigations use analytical techniques to identify degradation mechanisms through the products formed over time. Part of the root cause analysis is to determine what exposure led to the current conditions, whether they were anticipated, and potential recommendations to prevent recurrent corrosion issues. In addition to evaluating components and systems that have already experienced degradation, standardized testing, such as salt spray and salt fog testing, is used to evaluate the quality of corrosion protection methods on various parts or components.
Non-Destructive TestingOur full spectrum of metallurgical engineering services includes non-destructive testing methods, which are used to evaluate deficiencies in materials and components without causing damage. We offer magnetic particle testing (MT) and liquid penetrant testing (PT) to identify cracks, seams, voids, and flaws in materials. Rimkus experts can use a scanning electron microscope (SEM) equipped with energy dispersive spectrometry (EDS) to provide chemical compositional microanalysis of small to microscopic samples, determining the chemical composition of materials related to corrosion, staining, and foreign particles. For matters where lab analysis is impossible due to the size or use of the component in question, we offer various replicating medias used to create a portable copy for analyzation.
Defect Investigation – Metal TestingDuring manufacturing, defects can be introduced at several stages of processing. Advanced defect investigation and metal testing can identify the individual step in the process in which the defect occurred and give recommendations to prevent future rejects. With defect investigation and other failure analysis methods, product failures due to defects or flaws produced in the manufacturing process can be identified. Failure due to abnormal use can also be identified.