MATCO Operates Across the World...
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As an independent, materials testing and engineering firm specializing in failure analysis and corrosion investigations, MATCO Services has been called upon many times over the years to provide on-site technical support to our clients. Often times this means our engineers must catch the next available flight, regardless of destination, to accommodate and provide the technical support our clients need and trust in us to provide.
MATCO's experienced and qualified staff engineers have performed investigations in many different areas of the world, including China, Singapore, Mexico, Italy, France, Germany, Canada and South Korea.
Some interesting examples of our recent international projects:
China Electrochemical evaluation of CoCr stents.
Singapore Offshore welding support for oil pipeline.
Mexico Failure analysis investigation of turbine blades and other components.
Presentation at the Institute of Engineering, Universidad Autonoma de Baha California University:
Corrosion control in thermoelectric plants
Corrosion failure analysis of industrial equipment
Materials & Corrosion Case Histories
Italy - Inspection & failure analysis of machinery designed for oil facilities in the Persian Gulf.
Germany - Failure analysis of compressor turbine blades.
Korea - Failure analysis of apperature grills, a main component used in television displays.
Canada - Failure analysis investigation of railroad cars.
Failure analysis can be very complex, and usually requires multidisciplinary testing and analysis to determine the root cause of failure. Experience is surely the most important ingredient to look for when choosing a materials firm to handle your materials testing, corrosion control and failure analysis needs.
In addition to our professional staff having the required training and experience, several of our engineers are also bilingual. This enables MATCO to provide engineering and technical support for countries such as China, Persia and France, with engineers who are capable of conversing in native languages and are knowledgeable of customers. How does this help our clients?
As an example, one of our staff engineers is from Mainland China. Dr. Huiping Xu, an expert in materials characterization, electrochemical corrosion testing and failure analysis, can converse in both Chinese and English. This enables him to provide assistance to clients to resolve trade conflicts, materials disputes, and litigation issues that may arise between Chinese and American corporations. Dr. Huiping can provide support as an expert witness or as a third party consultant.
A listing of MATCO's bilingual engineers:
- Dr. Mehrooz Zamanzadeh is Middle Eastern by birth. He speaks English and Farsi.
- Dr. Huiping Xu was raised and trained in the People’s Republic of China. He speaks Chinese and English.
- Juan Flores is from Mexico. He speaks Spanish and English.
- Dr. Donald Gibbon was born in Peru and grew up in Indonesia. He speaks English and French.
We also have staff engineers from India and Saudi Arabia, and of course, we have a strong complement of American scientists and engineers. Thus we have the cultural and technical backgrounds to work with companies and governments with an awareness of the needs of the local international situations.
We offer our international clients many of the same services as our US clients, including the following:
- Independent Failure Analysis of Different Materials, Inspection & Engineering Calculations
- Resolving trade conflicts, materials disputes, and litigation issues that may arise between China and American corporations. In this capacity, we would act as an expert witness or as an independent third party consultant.
- Corrosion engineering, corrosion testing and corrosion investigations.
- Metallurgical failure analysis and welding evaluations.
- R&D in product and sensor development.
- Failure investigations and life prediction of utility boilers, pipe lines, lattice/pole structures and underground facilities.
- Cathodic protection, evaluation and design.
- Petrographic analysis and corrosion protection of concrete structures.
- Paint and coating analysis, testing and formulation.
- Plastic part failure analysis.
- Surface analysis (AES/SEM and FTIR).
- Failure analysis of semiconductor and microelectronic circuits.
- On-site metallurgical and nondestructive electrochemical evaluations.
- Expert witness for legal and product liability studies.
- MFG, RGA, and EIS testing.
- Special and custom testing.
- Inspection of large structures.
- Product inspection in Ports and marine locations.
- Technical support for automated welding systems, electron beam welding systems and data acquisitions systems
- Training seminars: Basic Corrosion & Cathodic Protection; Corrosion Monitoring in the Process Industry; Steel Making from Iron Ore to Finished Product; Heat Treating Basic; Heat Treating Advanced; Petrograhic Analysis (Concrete)
We’ve also assisted clients in the Middle East and Libya, for which the following Case Studies are provided:
Case History: Middle Eastern Manufacturer
In the early spring of 2005, MATCO was contacted by a Middle Eastern company specializing in the design and manufacture of finned coils for a wide range of heat transfer and heat exchange applications. We were asked to provide an assessment of candidate corrosion-resistant coatings for their copper tubing/aluminum finned air conditioning coils, which are to serve in a marine sea freight environment and survive for 1,000 hours in an ASTM B 368 copper-accelerated acetic acid–salt spray (CASS) exposure test without observable corrosion.
According to our client, their customer is currently using copper tubing - copper finned e-coated air conditioning coils in a marine sea freight environment. The current testing method of their customer for these air conditioning coils is a 1,000 hour ASTM B 368 CASS exposure test. As metal prices have increased over the past several years, the client was approached by their customer to offer a copper tubing/aluminum finned e-coated air conditioning coil that would obtain equivalent corrosion resistance in the application environment. However, the e-coated copper/aluminum coil held up in the ASTM B 368 CASS environment before corrosion began after only 700 hours, and was rejected on the basis that 1,000 hour survivability was required.
Our client also indicated that the e-coat company they had used previously would not be able to provide that facility anymore. The client also believed that the establishment of an e-coat line in-house was not within his budget. Therefore, e-coating was not a feasible option in this assessment.
As a substitute for the prior e-coat system, MATCO determined that an appropriate severe service environment organic coating for the copper tubing/aluminum finned air conditioning coils in a marine sea freight environment would include the following system.
1. Pre-treatment with chromate conversion coating.
2. Powder coated epoxy base coat, polyamide or amine adduct cured, with rust inhibitor.
3. Powder coated aliphatic polyurethane top coat, catalyst isocyanate cured.
As a substitute for the e-coating process, the powder coating process offers excellent benefits. These include that fact that no solvents are used in the coating formulation, and essentially all of the coating is applied to the substrate with high transfer efficiency. Therefore, there is little or no hazardous waste to dispose of. The epoxies and polyurethanes used in corrosion-resistant coating systems were all available as thermoset resin powders, which crosslink to form a permanent film that withstands heat and cannot be melted. Because thermoset systems can produce a surface coating that is comparable to liquid coatings, most of the technological advancements in recent years have focused on these resins. In terms of economics, conventional solvent-based systems are most expensive, followed by waterborne, high solids, and finally powder coating. Two companies were identified as potential importers of powder coating products for our client.
Case Study: Middle Eastern Oil Company
In early 2006, MATCO was contacted by a Middle Eastern oil company. They submitted five failed 9th stage compressor blades. The five compressor blades had been removed from the first stage of the high pressure compressor (HPC) section of a natural gas fired turbine. The facility is located in Libya, North Africa, 200 kilometers inland where the weather is generally warm and dry. These blades failed after only 1946 hours of operation under normal conditions. These blades were made from titanium-aluminum-vanadium alloy. The leading faces of the dampers (snubber regions) were high velocity oxygen fuel (HVOF) thermal spray coated with a tungsten carbide/cobalt (WC/Co) wear pad coating. The specified coating thickness was 0.0137 +/- 0.0019 inches. MATCO was requested to determine the cause of failure.
The HVOF applied WC/Co wear pad coating was found to conform to reported specifications for hardness, porosity and thickness. However, there was non-uniformity of thickness in the fillet areas. Nearly all of the failures in the compressor blades were found to have occurred in the damper on the concave side of the blade, where the wear pad faces the leading edge of the blade. Two modes of failure were observed: 1) fatigue failure initiating in the fillet between the damper and the concave surface of the blade; and, 2) spallation of the wear coating at the end of the damper and subsequent cracking of the underlying titanium alloy substrate. The spallation at the end of the dampers was the result of fatigue and appeared to be related to irregularities in the coating thickness and a slight increase in the thickness of the wear pad at the damper end. This thickness increase meant an increase in contact stress at the damper end location.
Several cracks across the thickness of the wear pad material were observed in the cross section, one near the end of the damper and three other cracks in the fillet area. Additional cracking was observed within the wear pad material adjacent to the interface with the substrate and along the flat exterior contact surface. The failures that initiate in the fillet also appeared to be the result of fatigue, although no fatigue striations were observed. These failures were found to have initiated at locations of wear pad overspray in the fillet region.
In conclusion, all indications were that the fatigue failures observed were due to the presence of the brittle WC/Co coating in the highly stressed areas of the fillet region of the compressor blades. The presence of the coating in the fillet area, which is a very high stress area, made this unit prone to failure in service. There is absolutely no reason to coat the fillet regions with a brittle coating and with no compressive surface treatment at the interface to arrest the brittle cracks in the coating. Lack of such a treatment and the presence of cracks in the coating would start fatigue cracks that grow over continued cycles. The presence of extensive cracking in the WC/Co coating in the non-contact fillet confirmed the high stresses in the fillet region and the proposed failure mechanism.
It was recommended that the fillet regions of the compressor blade dampers should be masked to prevent the deposition of the HVOF wear material, or be surface treated prior to coating to arrest cracks at the interface.
Projects vary, but the end result is the same. MATCO is there for you regardless of your location with the knowledge, experience and resources that you can count on. Give us a call at 1-800-221-9090 to discuss your material’s issues today.
We Value Our Customers... Throughout the years, we have noticed that much of our business comes from repeat customers. Our expertise and well-equipped lab can account for much of this, but we believe there is something more to it. We attribute it to the fact that we promote an open and friendly environment that is never too busy to meet your needs. At MATCO, we value your business whether you are a large corporation or a small enterprise. We will provide you with the attention you need and deserve. We invite you to visit us and get to know our staff, and share in the learning experience.
Why Choose MATCO Services? As one of the premier testing and failure analysis firms featuring state of the art equipment, MATCO is able to provide a unique and diverse blend of services. Thousands of investigations have been performed at MATCO, ranging from jet engines and boiler tubes, to computer components and implants. Projects are not only conducted on your schedule from initiation to completion with competent and experienced personnel, and conducted in a discrete manner that ensures confidentiality as well.