Metallurgy Lab

Solving Small Problems with Big Consequences

At its core, Fike is a team of problem solvers—a term that describes no department better than Fike’s Metallurgy Lab. Equipped with nearly two decades of experience and data, and the latest state-of-the-art equipment, the Metallurgy Lab is an integral part of Fike’s product development capabilities.

Metallurgy Lab’s Responsibilities

To better understand rupture disc performance within their facility, a client may inquire about what caused their rupture disc to burst and may return it for analysis. The Metallurgy Lab provides empirical evidence using various test methods including microscopic imaging and explanation of whether the disc:

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burst from one overpressure event or from fatigue due to repeated cycles.

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shows signs of corrosion: general, pitting, crevice, galvanic or other.

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produced a full opening or partial opening.

Established in 2000, Fike’s Metallurgy Lab continues as one of a select few labs of its type in the overpressure solutions manufacturing industry. Our lab provides a number of vital services from early in the production process of a new family of rupture discs through post-production after they’ve been installed in clients’ facilities.

Based on the results of our testing and analysis, the Metallurgy Lab may recommend that the client uses a rupture disc with a higher fatigue life to protect from cyclic conditions, manufacture from an alloy more suitable to process conditions to better protect against corrosion, or suggest alternative handling or storage protocols, to name a few.

Microhardness Testing

For a rupture disc to be NACE (National Association of Corrosion Engineers) compliant, it must meet several requirements, including the maximum allowable hardness specific to the alloy of construction. Hardness determination initially involves sectioning samples from the hardest, typically the most cold-worked, areas of a rupture disc, mounting them in epoxy, curing, grinding/polishing to a mirror finish, then testing with our microhardness tester.

Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) Analysis

Some discs that have burst require special equipment to accurately analyze their fracture faces. We partner as needed with proven, external SEM providers who electron-beam scan the specimen and return high-magnification, detailed images to Fike. Our staff has the SEM experience and expertise that allows us to intelligently examine these images and determine the exact fracture morphology in order to help determine the cause of the burst.

Other Services

The Metallurgy Lab offers a number of additional services as well.

  • Tensile testing for cylinders and other products
  • Microstructural analysis
  • Heat Treat support, e.g., furnace times, temperatures and atmosphere effects on disc materials
  • Rupture disc and explosion vent score depth and shape consistency
  • Special requests from Fike’s production team

A Metallurgy Lab is only as good as the people who operate it. Fike’s lab includes decades of materials and corrosion experience in multiple industries including but not limited to oil and gas, heavy equipment, forging, casting and heat treatment. The questions and requests received by our Metallurgy Lab don’t always have simple solutions. However, with our experience, there is rarely a problem we can’t solve. Quite simply, we’ve seen nearly all of it before.