Failure Analysis & Reporting Options

Failure Analysis & Reporting Options

Level* Investigations Purpose Cost Range** Reporting Options
1 Forensic Investigation Determine the root cause of a failure based on all discoverable information and knowledge with a complete laboratory examination. open Comprehensive Report
2 Field Investigation Determine the root cause of a failure based on laboratory and field investigation. $3,000 to $20,000 Executive Summary

Comprehensive Report

3 Field Examination Take field measurements for wall loss, deposits, water samples for chemical analysis, etc. $500 – $5,000 Summary of Findings
4 Failure Investigation / Assessment Determine the physical cause of a failure based on a laboratory investigation and background information provided by our client.  Type of failure identified, origin of crack/corrosion based on available evidence on sample. $3,500-$7,500  Comprehensive ReportExecutive Summary

Summary of Findings

5 Metallographic Examination Determine the properties, heat treatment, pit morphology, crack path, grain size, etc. of a material. $500 – $1,500  Summary of FindingsEmail Report
 * All levels of investigation can be upgraded per clients request.
 ** Needs vary from client to client, therefore all quotes are custom tailored to clients parameters. Prices given are meant to show typical range.


The scope of work may include
*Review background information, including specifications, service history, relevant reports, etc., to understand the operating conditions before the failure event;
*Field investigation of system in which component failed;
*Analyze the failed component or representative samples for the mechanism of corrosion or mechanical damage;
*Verify the chemical composition of the failed component, including any scale, debris or corrosion product;
*Verify any loss of wall thickness or other dimensions;
*Report findings and express an opinion.
Examinations and analyses to be performed on the failed component may include:
*Visual examination for general condition assessment;
*Examination of the inside and outside component surfaces by stereo-optical microscopy;
*Scanning electron microscope fractography;
*Metallurgical examination of selected cross sections for microstructural characteristics;
*Dimensional measurements;
*Hardness measurements;
*Elemental analysis of deposit or corrosion products associated with failure;
*Chemical analysis of the component to verify compliance to design specifications.
Four (4) basic reporting formats are available:
1)      Informal e-mail
2)      Summary of Findings
3)      Executive Summary
4)      Comprehensive Report
1)      Informal e-mail
Straight to the point, reporting the cause and mode of failure.  For informal use only, no letterhead, signature or structure is used.
2)      Summary of Findings
Presents the findings of the examination, testing, or field work. No interpretation of the results are given.  Good for measurements, chemical analysis or metallographic examination of material.
3)      Executive Summary
This report is typically 3 pages long with text and pictures.  The report is to the point without formal headings. This format is suitable for internal use for cases in which our client only seeks a confirmation of a failure mode that is already strongly indicated by the background information and circumstances of the failure.  Background is summarized in the 1st paragraph, Findings presented in several paragraphs with limited photo-documentation and Conclusions in final paragraph.
4)      Comprehensive Report
This report is typically 6 to 10 pages long with 6 to 10 pictures; the report is rigidly structured with formal headings. This format is suitable for use with third parties or for cases with potential legal implications.  The report format can also be used when the cause of the failure is obscure or the failure has severe economic consequences.  We attempt to be thorough in discussion of the failure and the environment causing the failure.  Frequently, literature is reviewed for aspects of the failure that are unusual.
TITLE PAGE Title, author, etc.
SUMMARY To-the-point-summary of the failure analysis.
BACKGROUND Circumstances of the failure and documentation of the equipment and processes involved.
SCOPE OF WORK  see above
FINDINGS Summarizes the evidence discovered in the investigation.
DISCUSSION Discusses the implications of the findings; attempts to convey a thorough understanding of the failure mechanism to the reader.  From this understanding, the client should be able to better address the plant environment and reduce the risk of future failures.
CONCLUSIONS & OPINIONS Itemizes the findings and expresses the author’s opinion on the root cause(s) of the failure.
REFERENCES Included if appropriate