Laboratory Testing and Equipment

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Serviced and calibrated equipment for spectroscopy, mechanical, metallographic and limited corrosion testing are available at our laboratories, including a state-of-the-art Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), which enables accurate identification of failure mechanisms, metallographic structures and corrosion products.

Joel Scanning Electron Microscope
Joel Scanning Electron Microscope

Metallurgical sample preparation facilities sourced from Leco and Struers are available at both laboratories, allowing for the mounting and polishing of various type of metals and subsequent etching (a technique to reveal the microstructure of materials) using various reagents or, if required, electrolytically. The evaluation of the microstructures is facilitated via Olympus GX51 microscopes with digital cameras and specialist metallurgical imaging software.

In addition to the fixed laboratory equipment, an array of portable equipment for on-site spectroscopy analysis (chemical composition), metallographic replication, hardness, temperature, wall thickness and coating thickness measurement are used by well trained technicians under supervision of experienced site managers.

Portable metallurgical and recording equipment
Portable metallurgical and recording equipment

List of Secmet’s laboratory tests and services:

  • Spark emission spark spectroscopy (analyse the chemical composition of metallic samples through the application of an electric arc or spark)
  • Microscopy assessments (Optical, Stereo and Scanning Electron Microscopy)
  • Machining and cutting facilities
  • Mechanical testing:
    • Creep testing (Omega and accelerated creep rupture testing)
    • Tensile testing
    • Bend testing
    • Impact testing
    • Fracture toughness testing
    • Micro and bulk hardness testing (Brinel, Vickers and Rockwell B and C as well as superficial scales are offered)
    • Flattening and flaring tests
  • Electrochemical testing
  • Metallographic assessment of ferrous and non-ferrous materials including delta ferrite assessments.
  • Cleanliness of steel assessments
  • Grain size determination
  • Macro-etching
  • Gravimetric assessment of metallic coatings
  • Coating thickness assessments
  • Detection of detrimental Intermetallic Phase in Duplex Austenitic/Ferritic Stainless Steels in accordance with ASTM A923
  • Intergranular corrosion assessments in accordance with ASTM A262, practice ‘E’
  • Furnaces for material heat treatment, allowing for the quantification of material degradation with repeated PWHT cycles, Holloman-Jaffe calculations as well as heat treatment trails
  • Replication assessments

Compression and tensile testing

Tensile Testing
Tensile Testing

In addition to two in-house tensile testing machines, one with high load capacity (600kN) and one suitable for testing small samples at relatively low loads, a co-operation agreement with a local research institute provides access to servo-hydraulic testing equipment for advanced fracture mechanics testing.

Compression and 4 point bend testing are also offered by SecMet.

4 point bend testing of bonded glass

 

Creep testing – our specialist expertise

A well-equipped creep testing facility is at the disposal of SecMet, which allows for constant-load creep (rupture) testing, with accurate temperature monitoring and control, as well as continuous strain measurement. Creep samples are machined from service exposed or plate material to ISO 204.

Omega creep properties are determined by exposing the creep samples to a stress marginally greater than the operating stress and temperature to ensure approximately 2% to 5% creep strain accumulation within 1000 hrs. Creep samples are not tested until failure but within the secondary creep stage where a constant strain rate prevails until sufficient creep strain is achieved.

Creep testing facility
Creep testing facility

Accelerated Creep Rupture (ACR) testing can be provided which, at a specific stress, requires testing until failure across various time orders i.e. 10 hours, 100 hours and 1000 hours. During alloy development 10 000 and 100 000 hours tests are also conducted or considered. Different rupture times can be achieved by increasing or decreasing the test temperature.

SecMet recommends Omega creep characterisation for service exposed material for accurate remnant life studies. The advantages of Omega creep testing over conventional creep assessments are that results can be generated much quicker. The Omega creep characterisation also requires significantly less number of samples and theoretically even one sample can provide an outcome to predict creep remaining life. Furthermore, with the assessed Omega and initial strain rate values of service exposed conventional material, the creep life fraction consumed to date can be determined.

Microscopy highlights

SecMet’s metallurgical laboratories have processed and characterised a vast variety of materials and some of the highlights of optical (left column) and electron (right column) images are displayed below.

Grey cast iron etched with Nital
Grey cast iron etched with Nital
Morphology of stress corrosion cracking (SCC)
Morphology of stress corrosion cracking (SCC)
316 Stainless steel etched with Beraha
316 Stainless steel etched with Beraha
Contamination found on a Hafnium lens
Contamination found on a Hafnium lens
P91 material etched with potassium metabisulfite
P91 material etched with potassium metabisulfite
Typical cleavage failure fracture surface
Typical cleavage failure fracture surface