ATRONA ARTICLE SERIES

WHAT CAN "SEM" REVEAL ABOUT METAL FAILURE?

Scanning Electron Microscopy

SEM Metal Failure AnalysisScanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) has emerged as an essential tool in metallurgical failure analysis. Using a beam of highly energetic electrons, SEM allows us to acquire live, high-resolution, micro scale, three-dimensional images of the surface of a failed metal part or component. Using these digital images with a magnification of up to 500,000x, we are able to study the fracture topography and morphological characteristics of the failed metal part or component to determine the failure mode and root cause.

SEM is excellent for determining the root cause of metal failures, such as:

  • Ductility or Brittleness
  • Stress Corrosion Cracking
  • Fatigue (high and low cycle)
  • Fretting Corrosion and other forms
  • Erosion
  • Creep
  • Cavitation
  • Galling and Spalling
  • Hydrogen Embrittlement
  • Quench Cracking
  • Porosity
  • Liquid Metal Embrittlement
  • And Other Types of Metal Failures

SEM Digital Images
Sample SEM digital images (above).

SEM with EDS

Energy Dispersive X-Ray SpectroscopyAt ATRONA, our SEM capability is further enhanced through the use of Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (EDS or EDX.) Using SEM in conjunction with EDS allows us to determine the chemical composition of constituents in the microstructure, identify plating types, as well as find and chemically analyze contamination, etc. This dual capability is essential where such factors may have been responsible for, or contributed to, the overall metal part or component failure.

Why Choose ATRONA Test Labs for your Metal Failure Analysis?

ATRONA's state-of-the-art, multi-lab facility puts a full set of failure analysis testing capabilities at your fingertips, including Microstructure Analysis, Hardness Testing, Chemical Analysis, Heat Treat Support, Weld Analysis, and two full SEM/EDS systems. One of these systems is new with cutting edge technology in the field of microscopy giving us an advantage with clear imaging and EDS mapping capabilities. The other SEM was recently upgraded with new software and controls. One of our SEM's is capable of variable pressure allowing us to perform analysis on plastics and all non-conductive materials. Learn more about SEM/EDS at ATRONA →

Atrona - We Deliver Insight

PUT OUR EXPERTISE TO WORK GET STARTED!