Materials Science Services
Materials Science encompasses a broad spectrum of substances. Here at GT Engineering, we provide materials sciences services that include: Glasses – corrosion (e.g. degradation of window lights), fabrication defects (e.g. sulfide inclusions in window lights, residual stresses), failure origin and fracture analysis; Ceramics – failure and fracture analysis, insulator failures, analysis for fabrication defects; Concretes and mortars – compositional and contaminant analysis, curing analysis, appropriate use and effectiveness of coatings, environmental degradation determinations; Woods – analysis of decay/rot due to environmental exposure; Polymers/plastics – compositional/alloy analysis, thermal and mechanical property determinations, deformulation, degradation and failure analysis.
The application of engineering principles to the investigation of materials, products, structures, components, or processes that fail, causing injury or property damage.
The process of collecting and analyzing data to determine the cause of a failure, frequently with the goal of determining corrective actions.
The process of analyzing a product to extract design information for the purpose of reproducing or improving the product.
Patent Litigation Support
The application of engineering principles in support of litigation concerning patent infringement, defense, or patentability.
A Closer Look
Glass and Ceramics
GT Engineering has addressed numerous issues dealing with failures in glasses and ceramics. Examples include failures in window lights attributable to nickel sulfide contaminant inclusions; corrosion of window lights associated with caustic run-off from improperly sealed concrete structures; assessment of acidic cleaning solution for a manufacturer. Failures in glass included projects where containers have caused injury and analyses of glass failures in high temperature lighting, often associated with fires. Investigation involved fracture analyses to determine crack origin and subsequent determination of the source; whether it be a manufacturing defect, impact damage or mechanical damage. Ceramic failure analyses have been conducted on sanitary fixtures (e.g. cracked toilet tanks leading to flooding), consumer goods (faucet handles, electrical switches), and industrial products such as high-voltage insulators and high temperature bearing surfaces.
GT Engineering experts have over 20 years’ experience with composite materials. Our work has encompassed a wide range of materials and processes in Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMC’s) and Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) matrix composites.
A wide variety of polymeric materials including plastics, rubbers, and adhesives have been the subject of forensic investigations at GT Engineering. Plastics investigations have included PVC, CPVC, PE, PP, PC, nylons, acetals, etc. used in a wide range of piping, commercial plumbing, and consumer goods (including fibers and woven products, medical instruments). Rubbers and polymeric materials used as gasket materials, e.g. nitrile, EPDM, butyl rubber, etc. are routinely involved in our investigations. Our in-house chemistry laboratory is specifically equipped to diagnose polymeric issues with instrumentation including DSC, microscopic FTIR, HPLC and GC as well as environmental exposure chambers. Issues we have dealt with include ultraviolet degradation, contact with incompatible solvents, oils and chemicals leading to dissolution or stress corrosion cracking, paint interactions, auto-ignition of batteries, and contamination from fires. We have had major litigation cases dealing with issues of plastics formulation and manufacturing processes and have been retained by manufacturers to assess products in their design stage.
Metallurgical services provided by GT Engineering include: Corrosion – analysis of failures, compatibility of alloys, design for corrosion prevention; Selection of alloys appropriate for designed or intended service environments; Analysis of metallurgical failures whether due to alloy selection, component fabrication, or application (including environmental factors, stress, and fatigue). Weld analysis, finite element stress/strain analysis, fractography, compositional analysis, and materials property testing.
GT Engineering has conducted numerous investigations of corrosion and degradation related failures on systems such as plumbing systems, water mains, oil pipelines, refinery components, steel structures, and aerospace components. These have included steel, weathering or corten steel, stainless steel, cast iron, nickel alloys, aluminum, copper, brass, and polymer pipes including PEX, polyethylene and polypropylene materials. GT Engineering has investigated cases involving corrosion mechanisms such as galvanic or dissimilar metals corrosion, stress corrosion cracking, dezincification, microbiologically influenced corrosion, pitting corrosion, thermal degradation, oxidative degradation, and solvent absorption. GT Engineering has also performed submerged and atmospheric corrosion testing.
GT Engineering has vast experience providing technical support to clients in legal cases. These matters often involve accident site investigations, mechanical, chemical and materials analyses of products and processes, review and interpretation of codes and standards, and technical reporting. We have served as expert witnesses in court providing unbiased and scientifically sound opinions in numerous cases involving product failure, industrial accidents, materials evaluation, structural failure, accident reconstruction, fires, and explosions.
GT Engineering has performed thousands of failure analysis investigations for legal, insurance, industrial, corporate, public, and private organizations. Our work in these matters has involved the analysis of material fractures, mechanical failures, and accidents for all manner of materials, engineered products, machinery and processes.
There are many uses for reverse engineering analysis from determining how to improve an existing product to recreating a product no longer available to analyzing a competitor’s product for comparison. GT Engineering has the capabilities to determine how a component mechanically functions, what it is made from, the mechanical properties of the component, and how it was manufactured. We can also analyze the stresses in the component to determine likely failure modes and locations as well as the design limitations. We can offer advice on improving the strength and durability of a component as well as offering alternative materials and manufacturing methods.
GT Engineering experts have a rare combination of academic research, teaching and industrial experience that make us well qualified to provide opinions and services related to patent law. GT Engineering experts have experience as inventors, supporting patent infringement cases and inter partes reviews.