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The University of Southampton
nC2 An Enterprise Consultancy Unit

Forensic Investigations of Warship Components

nC2 have worked closely with BAE Systems to provide forensic materials engineering services to understand the unexpected failure of several engine and sea water pump components.  Below we have used the impeller examinations to highlight methods and techniques used when conducting fractography and metallography.

Providing forensic materials engineering services
Damaged Impellers
Damaged Impellers from a Khareef-class corvette

nC2 can make use of the full characterisation facilities of Southampton University

This particular work involved examining two damaged impellers. Below highlights the key methods, both non-destructive and destructive, applied with example images from this case study.



Macroscopy - A Zeiss Stemi 2000C, with DSLR provides magnified stereo examination of damaged surfaces.
CT Impeller
Computed Tomography (CT) - The non-destructive CT, allowed the components to be examined in a Virtual environment, prior to any sectioning.
Slideshow image
Sectioning and Micro production - The precision cutting equipment available allows cross-sections to be produced.
Aerofoil damage etched
Etching and microstructure evaluation - Once the micro is produced, the surface may be etched to reveal the microstructure. This is examined using light microscopy or SEM.
Scanning electron microscopy (SEM)
The high magnification and composition identification capabilities (EDAX) allows us to examine the fracture surfaces.
Erosion Testing
Erosion Testing - Slurry erosion testing of extracted materials
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