Customer Focus: Failure analysis is an important aspect of product development and process improvement to ultimately help prevent future failures.  Moreover, Failure analysis is a comprehensive approach to determine the root cause of how or why a material or product failed.

Each failure analysis investigation begins with an in-depth discovery of the material or part that failed including its composition, application and environment.  Based on background information, many different testing and inspection services may be used to identify the cause of the failure.  A failure analysis will always include fractographic investigations, but may also include hardness testing, mechanical testing, metallographic evaluation, chemical analysis, NDT or dimensional inspection services.

While identifying the root cause(s) is the primary goal of any failure analysis, with Secat’s advanced interpretive analysis of the data, Secat can identify the key variables in your process to reduce future defects.  Additionally, Secat staff can help you navigate issues by supporting you in the development of fishbone diagrams, 5 why’s, corrective actions and other standard problem-solving methods.

Secat’s daily exposure to advanced aluminum metallurgical challenges gives our team unique expertise in unmasking root cause(s) and solutions based analysis, including:
  • Mechanical including strengths (YS, UTS), elongation in foil, plate and round
  • Ductility/Formability (FLD, earring, Olsen cup – ball and cylinder punchers)
  • Chemical including OES and EDS analysis
  • Optical and Roughness including 3D roughness
  • Thermo-mechanical including DSC, heat-treatment confirmation and high temperature tension
  • Electrical including conductivity
  • Hardness including Rockwell and micro-hardness of Vickers and Knoop
  • Aluminum can end and can body pressure
  • Corrosion confirmation and corrosion product analysis
  • Corrosion initiation site identification
  • Stress Corrosion Crack analysis (SCC)
  • Electrical-Chemical corrosion analysis
  • Corrosion test according to ASTM standards, e.g. ASTM G66, G67
  • Ductile and brittle fracture analysis – cleavage, river marks, dimples, shear lips, voids, inclusions, etc.
  • Fracture origination and propagation analysis-crack migration direction, ripples, serpentine glides, particles, etc.
  • Al can tear-off fracture analysis with cross-section observation
  • Al can end leak analysis with cross-section verification
  • Al can body pinhole analysis with cross-section verification
  • Other fracture analysis under specific requirement from customer
  • Heat-treatment fail analysis – including varied heat rates and cooling rates design and verification
  • Adjust/optimize alloying elements or impurity to increase specific item of product, e.g. elongation of AA8011 via optimizing Fe and Si and ratio of Fe and Si
  • Homogenization quality fail analysis – quantitatively analysis particles and transformation, cast inclusions, porosity class, inverse segregation zone, Bergman’s zone, grain size, hydrogen analysis
  • Inclusion/oxide identification and confirmation in ingot (initial positioned by ultrasonic test) and die cast
  • Cast and rolling defects identification and confirmation with casthouse and rolling shop database buildup
  • Coolants and lubricants analysis
  • Refractory materials analysis
  • Filtration analysis

Investigation Examples

Tear-off is a common defect for can makers. Can makers want to know the true tear-off causes in order to take prevent actions to avoid the defect occurrence. However, many factors can result in the tear-off during can deep drawing, and the confirmation of cause is challenging due to the fact of very thin can wall (~100µm) and seriation fracture cross section.

Secat can identify the cause of tear-off. Below is an example.

The defects in both casting and rolling process can result in a pinhole defect on the cans. Secat can identify the cause of the pinhole. Below is an example.

Rolled in sheet is a big quality issue in sheet/plate/foil manufacturing plants. Secat can help plants confirm what the rolled in material is. Below is an example of a rolled in steel chip verification.