Our New Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)
ALS has added a state of the art desktop SEM at our east coast engineering facility, allowing:
- Failure analysis;
- Materials analysis & identification;
- Corrosion analysis;
- Asbestos fire assessment; and
- Oil particle analysis;
How does scanning electron microscopy help?
For clients, this means better assessment of important information, such as:
- nature of the fracture of a component (e.g. ductile / brittle / fatigue);
- the composition of a component’s micro-structural phases;
- the nature of any corrosion deposits present;
- the nature of unidentified particles, including asbestos; and
- the nature of particles in oil samples, e.g. the composition of wear debris.
1) Assessment of sigma phase embrittlement in stainless steel
Using the EDS functionality of the SEM, clear confirmation of a microstructural phase is offered (Pic1).
EDS analysis across the particle confirmed high Cr content and low Ni content, indicating the presence of sigma phase. (Pic2)
Sigma phase precipitates in stainless steel at high temperatures. It creates susceptibility to brittle fracture at ambient temperature, a significant risk to component life.
2) Assessment of oxide in heat exchanger tubing
Backscatter analysis shows, through image contrast (dark and light particles), that different compounds are present in this heat exchanger tube sample. (Pic3)
3) Asbestos fibre assessment
The high power imagery of the electron microscope, combined with elemental analysis, allows confident identification of the nature of particles, in this case, asbestos fibre particles. (Pic4)
Our New SEM’s Capability
- SEM ceramic filament – Providing better imaging over traditional tungsten filaments.
- 100 x 100 mm stage
- Ability to examine:
- Dust particles
- Fibres (incl. asbestos assessment)
- Inorganic solids
- Biological materials
- Analysis tools, including:
- Backscatter Electron Detector (BSD)
- Secondary Electron Detector (SED)
- Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS)
- Sputter coating facilities
- Examination up to 100,000x
Engineering team – driving great interpretation using SEM
Combined with ALS expertise in:
- Materials engineering;
- Corrosion engineering;
- High temperature failure mechanisms;
- Condition and life assessment;
- Failure and root cause analysis,
Our new scanning electron microscope is an important tool you can benefit from in understanding the condition of your plant and equipment.