Scanning Electron Microscopy

Task: Determine the characteristics of a hole in corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST).

Approach: We examined the CSST visually, then subsequent examination was performed using a stereo microscope and with SEM.

Solution: The examinations showed evidence of melting around the hole edges, edge sharpness, and spatter in areas around the hole.  These features indicate a hole that was formed very rapidly, such as during arcing from a lightning strike.

Task: Use laser scanning to digitally assemble a blowout preventer (BOP) and determine the tightening of the fit between parts.

Approach: We converted laser scan files into solid models using AutoCAD. In CAD, parts were assembled ensuring no interference. A grid was used for systematic measurements.

Solution: We reconstructed the assembly at the time of the incident by matching the erosion patterns on digital pieces. We were then able to quantify gaps between parts.

3D Assembly of a Pipe Ram BOP & Cavity

Laboratory Testing of a Pressure Vessel

Task: Investigate how the teeth of a dirt rotary mixer can generate a longitudinal crack in a pipe by gouging it.

Approach: We utilized Finite Element Analysis (FEA) simulations to recreate the gouging.

Solution: Our failure analysis indicated not only where the crack occurred, but how the pipe wall deformed as well.  We found that reversing back the bow in the pipe wall with internal pressure created severe loading and cracking.

Finite Element Analysis of a Rotary Mixer

Some examples of MEG projects and solutions are shown below:

Project Highlights

Task: Determine the load necessary to bend a riser attachment welded to a cylindrical pressure vessel.

Approach: We constructed a fixture to match the geometry of the incident pressure vessel and provide proper support. We applied and monitored the loads using instrumentation.

Solution: We recreated the incident scenario in a controlled laboratory setting and found  the load necessary to achieve the desired level of rotation.