Failure Analysis

Failure analysis serves to determine remedial actions, or design improvements, to prevent recurrence of failure after replacement (or repair) of failed equipment, and thus the prevention of further undesirable safety and economic consequences.

Failure analysis can provide impartial and consistent diagnoses of the sequence of damage. This capacity is typically required when you need to confirm whether failure was induced by equipment service history or by manufacturing defects.

Typical Problem Areas:

  • Weld joint failures of pressure equipment; e.g. pressure vessels, piping, and headers
  • Weld joint failures of dynamically loaded structures; e.g. towers, lifting equipment
  • Shaft and bearing failures of rotating equipment
  • Tube and header failures in boilers and heat recovery units
  • Failures of gas and steam turbine components
  • Failures of heavy duty equipment in mining industry; e.g. joy miner and conveyors
  • Failures of hydrogen containing pressure vessels
  • Corrosion damage of structures and piping

Our Expertise

SVT have significant industrial and research experience in materials issues relevant to welding, corrosion, and fracture mechanics, as well as high temperature applications.

We are regularly exposed to the typical failures encountered in electric power generation, chemical processes, oil and gas, and mining industries.

In combination with SVT's expertise in modelling, vibration and stress/strain assessment, our material engineers are capable of applying research level micro-structural and material characterisation techniques, to achieve balanced and consistent diagnoses at both macro and microscopic level of investigations.

SVT structures the investigation to anticipate the progression of requirement for the detail of analysis, typically through the following stages:

  1. Documentation of service, maintenance and repair history of the equipment
  2. Non-destructive assessments of the equipment and surroundings, usually conducted on-site. Specific non-destructive techniques, including those to assess microstructure and hardness, are used to obtain partial evidence while still preserving critical evidence (e.g. fracture surface) for subsequent detailed examinations
  3. Preliminary analysis based on non-destructive assessment, which may include simple design reconstructions, to identify the prevalent damage mechanism and the most probable causes of failure
  4. Focus of attention will be given to recommendation of practical measures that eliminate the most likely causes of failures, rather than the exact identification of root cause
  5. When accurate determination of root cause of failure is necessary, SVT will conduct further investigation through laboratory (destructive) examinations on the failed components

Laboratory examinations encompassing detailed micro-structural analysis, mechanical testing and strain gauging may also be conducted to help put the pieces of puzzle together.