Failure Analysis Equipment

Stereoscope(left) and MM-60 microscope (right)

AP/ES, Inc. has on-site a Nikon optical stereoscope for low magnification (8x-50x) failure analysis and a state-of-the art Nikon MM-60 optical light microscope for high magnification (50x - 1000x) failure analysis.

Both the stereoscope and the microscope are connected to a digital camera and digital image processing/ analysis via the analySIS® software (Soft Imaging Systems).

APES, Inc. has additional hardware and laboratories available in the St. Louis area through operator agreements with local businesses. Such capabilities include Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) with Energy Dispersive X-ray (EDX) analysis, metallography and metrology labs, and corrosion laboratories.

The MM-60 light microscope has a digitally encoded traveling stage with 0.5-micron (0.00002 inch) resolution and an encoded vertical scale with the same resolution. All objective lenses are extra-long working distance, necessary for working with fracture surfaces. The MM-60 is also equipped with differential interference contrast prisms, which are important for reading the fracture faces that result from metal fatigue.

APES has used this equipment for a number of projects aimed at understanding damage mode interaction (such as corrosion and/or fretting and fatigue), characterizing intrinsic material features (e.g., second phase particles), charactering extrinsic damage (such as pit size and shape), determination of crack growth rate and shape by mapping fracture face markings, to constructing 3D topographic maps of fracture surfaces.