At ATRONA Test Labs, we're metallurgical failure analysis experts with well over 2,000 failure investigation assignments under our belt including failure analysis for root cause investigations, plastics and polymers failure analysis, failure analysis to establish liability, and simple failure analysis for future failure prevention. Our failure analysis projects include close to 500 major and very large projects related to manufacturing or metallurgical issues including ASME pressure vessels, aircraft/aerospace systems and components, turbine engine components, oil and gas transmission pipelines and components, off highway components (driveline and clutch), food processing equipment, contamination and components, heat exchangers, fastener industry components, medical supplies, racing industry systems and components, gear industry components, and automotive components.


President and Principal Metallurgist

Atif Ott Odeh - Principal MetallurgistOur President and Principal Metallurgist, Atif "Ott" Odeh (pictured), has consulted with companies in North and South America, as well as Europe, China, Japan, Korea, India, and elsewhere on metallurgical, materials, processing, failure analysis, and heat treat issues. An acknowledged expert in his field, Mr. Odeh was named the Alumnus of the Year in 2004 by the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Department of Material Science & Engineering. He is a member of the Material Science and Engineering Alumni Board at the University of Illinois and the author of "Metallurgy and Heat Treatment, the Pocket Book," a best-selling handbook that summarizes the essentials of metallurgy and materials, and their heat treatment along with personal experiences for what works.

ATRONA's talented and experienced staff consists of degreed engineers and scientists along with technicians and administrative staff. Four of our engineers are degreed metallurgists. We can help you solve engineering issues, manufacturing issues, heat treat issues, materials issues, and root cause investigation of failed components and assemblies.

Failure Analysis Team
ATRONA's Failure Analysis Team
are metal failure analysis experts.

Met Lab Microstructure Test Procedure Mechanical Lab - Tensile Testing


ATRONA Test Labs utilizes the latest, state of the art technology for scanning electron microscopy and image analysis with two full SEM systems in house fully equipped with low and variable pressure capabilities and EDS systems, various optical and metallurgical microscopes, stereomicroscopes with Keyence 3-D imaging, hardness testers, microhardness testers fully automatic with one capable of testing 8 specimens at one time, optical emission spectrometers, sample prep equipment and a full mechanical testing lab with its own machines shop and latest charpy impact testers and five tensile testers. Our fully-equipped labs offer metallurgical, chemical, polymer, mechanical, microscopy, dimensional, and non-destructive (NDT) examination. It is all here under one roof to aid us in failure analysis and root cause investigation as well as routine metallurgical and mechanical testing. We outsource little to nothing to other labs. We actually do testing for other labs. We firmly believe that in order to solve a problem one should be in control of all aspects of the investigation and have access to all the tools needed.


ATRONA's failure analysis strength is in evaluating metallic components and systems. We have assembled a team of experts in metallurgy, heat treat, materials, fasteners, high temperature and high-pressure failures, stress calculations and finite element analysis (FEA). The Failure Analysis Team at ATRONA has experience in materials, failure analysis, metallurgical, welding, various microstructures, various failure modes, quality assurance, and heat treat fields.

ATRONA works with its clients to plan the failure analysis before conducting the investigation. A large amount of time and effort is spent carefully considering the background of failure and studying the general features before the actual investigation begins. However, you will also find us fairly practical and fast with noticeable efficiency. We have been known to hand customers a 100 page report on a complex failure analysis in as little as 2 to 3 days. Most standard failure analysis take 5 to 7 days.


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Metal Shaft Fatigue Fracture Rail Car Support Structure Fracture
Shaft Fatigue Fracture Shaft Fracture

In the course of the failure analysis, preliminary hypotheses are often formulated. If the probable fundamental cause of the metallurgical failure becomes evident early in the examination, the rest of the investigation would focus on confirming the probable cause and eliminating other possibilities. The metallurgical failure analyst compiles the results of preliminary conclusions carefully considering all aspects of the failure including visual examination of the fracture surface, full SEM fracture topography to determine failure mode and initiation, the inspection of metallographic specimens to understand the raw material condition, the heat treat condition, and conducts tests such as microhardness, and EDS analysis.


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Solidification Shrinkage Porosity

Failure Mode is conducted at ATRONA to aid in determining the root cause of failures. Above photomicrographs are taken at ATRONA at various magnifications using our scanning electron microscopes showing four different types of failure modes. Generally, failure modes are either ductile or brittle. Ductile failures are typically accompanied by significant plastic deformation. Brittle failures are normally accompanied by no elongation or plastic deformation. They produce catastrophic failures with little to no strain. Ductile fractures are more desirable than brittle fractures because generally ductile fractures give warnings prior to a catastrophic event.

Failure Mode is how a failure is observed; it generally describes the way the failure occurs. At ATRONA this is conducted through visual analysis, stereoscopic analysis, and scanning electron microscopy examination. Brittle failures usually occur with little to no plastic deformation or strain while ductile failures give warnings by the form of elongation, deformation and necking prior to catastrophic failure.

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Dimple Rupture 800x Fatigue Striations
Intergranular Failure Mode Cleavage 500x


SEM EDS for Metal Failure AnalysisScanning Electron Microscopy - SEM for Failure Mode With our state-of-the-art Scanning Electron Microscopy capabilities these failure modes are easily revealed and identified. Even if the fracture face is corroded, we have ways to clean the fracture surface to reveal the mode of failure. Fracture initiation can also be revealed.

If all you need is failure mode analysis let us know and we can determine the failure mode and report it with evidence in a formal report.


THERE ARE MANY TYPES OF FAILURE MODES INCLUDING: Ductile and Brittle, Dimple Rupture overload, microvoid coalescence, Intergranular and transgranular, Stress Corrosion Cracking, Hydrogen Embrittlement, Gaping Grain Boundaries, Cleavage Rupture, Creep and Elongation, Tensile and Compressive modes, Corrosion (various types), Fatigue (high and low cycles & high and low loads), Lamination and Streaking, Embrittlement, and others.



Sample integrity is a critical factor in any forensic examination for the purpose of Failure Analysis. This includes not only preserving the sample and submitting it in a timely manner to preclude further damage or corrosion; but also minimizing unnecessary handling or shipping to multiple labs. For this latter reason, it's important to choose a failure analysis laboratory that offers all the testing capabilities that will be required "under one roof," since many smaller labs will outsource certain tests if they do not have the proper equipment or testing expertise inhouse.

As already stated, at ATRONA, we outsource nothing to other labs. As one of the largest, best equipped and staffed, independent testing laboratories in the country, ATRONA is uniquely positioned to conduct comprehensive root cause investigations and formal failure analysis for any failed metal part, component or assembly. Our state-of-the art, multi-lab facility offers metallurgical, chemical, polymer, mechanical, microscopy, dimensional, and non-destructive examination on-site. This allows us to control all aspects of the investigation and maintain the integrity of your failure analysis sample(s).

Before testing we recommend the following steps to help preserve sample integrity:

1. Be sure to handle the failure with care and as little as possible preserving all fracture surfaces and keeping components and fragments from touching each other.

2. Be sure to wrap the fractures with plastic or cloth without introducing contamination.

3. Ship ALL components and fragments to ATRONA and inform us if any testing or preparation was conducted on the samples prior to shipment.

4. Ship the failed components to ATRONA as soon as feasible to prevent further damage or corrosion.

5. Please be sure to include engineering prints or specifications and proper sample identification. Any history of "what happened" before, during, and after including service hours and operator testimony would be helpful.

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