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Failure Analysis

Category Materials Testing Lab
Test Failure Analysis

Failure analysis is both one of the most useful, and the most abstract disciplines available to science and engineering professionals. One of the primary problems is that failure analysis covers an incredibly broad range of disciplines, as by necessity it has to involve a suite of tests and procedures to analyze extremely varied materials. Compounding these difficulties is the range of end use needs for FA work. Initial research into new materials or processes can often benefit from FA methods in the R&D phase, mature processes can sometimes have problem manufacturing lots or supply-side issues, and in worst case scenarios, deployed products can suffer catastrophic failure, and a forensic analysis needs to be performed. Thankfully, EMSL is able to meet and exceed the needs of professionals at all stages of development across the spectrum of FA applications.

EMSL has invested in expanding and maintaining a premiere network of laboratories for more than thirty years. EMSL’s network incorporates a vast number of testing methods that include microscopic, chemical, physical, and electrical test methods. In addition to this network of advanced testing methodology, EMSL is committed to ensuring that the scientific staff in their laboratories has the understanding and experience to support advanced analysis in this breadth of disciplines. Not only is our staff expert at comprehensive analysis, but we are used to operating as partners to clients in the challenging, rapidly changing industrial environment. Our unique capabilities and years of experience allow us to adapt to changing goals, fast deadlines, and complex situations with multiple corporate entities.

EMSL has access to a number of non-destructive or minimally destructive analysis methods in order to deliver insight into client needs. Micro-analysis is the core of Failure analysis in many applications. Microscopy techniques can often be combined with attendant chemical analysis, allowing for not only fine features and morphology in a failure sample to be determined, but also the chemical and compositional environment around those features to be documented. From macro to nano scale, from organic polymer mixtures to trace heavy metal analysis, these microanalysis tools allow for extremely specific insight into problems while maintaining the bulk of the sample for further analysis or comparison to known good standard samples. This type of analysis is most helpful in determining causation for failure in a sample. These techniques include:
  • CSAM (Acoustic Microscopy)
  • Real Time X-ray
  • X-ray CT (3D Computed Tomography)
  • FTIR Microscopy/Reflection/ATR
  • XRF
  • XRD/XRD Film Analysis
  • Particle Size Analysis
  • Optical/SEM Imaging
  • EDS Spectroscopy

Often, even if the means of failure in a sample is known, it is just as important to know how likely that failure is to happen again. EMSL offers a number of forced failure tests, as well as weathering, stress and strain systems, as well as having the ability to customize and design specific equipment to test a target sample series. These capabilities give clients flexibility for a number of forced-failure scenarios. Samples can be tested to ensure performance once published specifications are exactly met, samples can be forced into failure using aggressive wear or strain to determine failure mode, or products can be tested incrementally to allow for a failure threshold to be determined. These techniques include:

  • Tensile Testing
  • Normal/Shear Load Measurement
  • Repetitive Strain Forced Failure
  • Corrosion and Metallopgraphy
  • EBSD Analysis
  • Weathering/Humidity Chambers
  • Outgassing Analysis
  • Thermal Decomposition
  • Thermal and Thermal/Mechanical Properties
  • Moisture/Vapor Permeability
  • Freeze Fracture Analysis
  • Cross-sectioning and Dissection
  • Focused Ion Beam Milling/Analysis
  • Auger Electron Depth Milling
  • Optical Emission Spectroscopy
  • ICP, HP-LC, GC Analysis
EMSL is committed to being a partner in assisting our clients in not only acquiring quality data and insight into FA applications, but also working with them to incorporate these findings into their ongoing development efforts. We encourage you to call or email our staff so we can find ways to assist you on your projects.

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