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Failure Analysis and Metallography at TCR Engineering Laboratory, India. Failure Analysis, Metallography, Failure Investigation, India and Middle East
Analyzing Graphs
TCR PP Simtech (India) has a reliable and proven Risk based Inspection (RBI) technology process incorporating key guidance from API 580/581 and UK HSE and has been accepted globally as good engineering practice by leading international companies. RBI, Fitness for Service, API 580, Api 581, API 571, India, Refineries, Oil, Petrochemcials. power
Cracked Earth
Water Drops
Microscope in Laboratory
Fitness for Service (FFS)


Fitness for Service

TCR Arabia undertakes Fitness For Service (FFS) Assessment based on Level 2 BS 7910 standards and API 579. Our fracture mechanics methodology and its application have been successfully proven worldwide across industries, including nuclear pressure vessels to high consequence items in the exploration, refining, petrochemical and construction industry.

A process, plant, and equipment are often exposed to corrosive environments and/or elevated temperatures. Under these conditions, the material used in the equipment can degrade or age with time. Important equipment such as pressure vessels, piping, and storage tanks become older, the plant operator must decide if they can continue to operate safely and reliably to avoid injuries to personnel and public, environmental damage, and unexpected shutdowns. Fitness for service assessment procedures provide a means for helping the plant operator make these decisions on established engineering principles. 

Fitness for service assessment is a multidisciplinary engineering analysis that ensures all process and plant equipment such as pressure vessels, piping, and tanks operate safely and reliably for the desired period of operation and until the next turnaround or planned shutdown occurs in the future. API Recommended Practice 579 provides a general procedure for assessing fitness for service. This assessment procedure evaluates the remaining strength of the equipment in its current state, which may have degraded from its original condition. Common degradation mechanisms include corrosion, localized corrosion, pitting and crevice corrosion, hydrogen attack, embrittlement, fatigue, high-temperature creep and mechanical distortion. Methods for evaluating the strength and remaining service life of equipment containing these types of degradation are presented and reviewed

Common Reasons for Assessing The Fitness for Service of Equipment Include:

  • Discovery Of A Flaw Such As A Locally Thin Area (LTA) or Crack

  • Failure to Meet Current Design Standards

  • Plans for Operating Under More Severe Conditions than Originally Expected

Outcome of Fitness for Service Assessment

  • Decision to Run, Alter, Repair, Monitor, or Replace the Equipment

  • Guidance on Inspection Interval for the Equipment

Fitness for Service Assessment uses Analytical Methods to Evaluate Flaws, Damage and Material Aging Based On:

  • Stress Analysis may be performed using Standard Handbook or Design Code Formulas or by means of Finite Element Analysis (FEA). With modern computer technology, the use of FEA is quite common. 

  • Fitness for Service Assessment requires both, knowledge of past operating conditions and a forecast of future operating conditions. Interaction with operations personnel is required to obtain this data

  • Non-Destructive Examination (NDE): NDE is used to locate, size and characterize flaws

  •  Material Properties: The material properties include information on material damage mechanisms and behavior in the service environment, especially on the effects of corrosion and temperature


High Temperature Inspection 


High-temperature hydrogen attack (HTHA) is observed in steel that is exposed to a temperature of 200 °C or more. At such a high temperature, atomic hydrogen diffuses in steel. This hydrogen reacts with carbon present in the steel and forms CH4. The methane that is formed bubbles and forms voids at the grain boundary.

MC + 4H = M + CH4


These bubbles exert pressure and also coalesce resulting into fissures. The growth of voids and fissures weakens the metal, leading to a major crack. This reaction decarburizes the steel, produces micro cracks/fissures and lowers toughness of steel but not necessarily cause a loss in thickness.


  1. Supports in the Inspection of Large and Wide Areas

  2. Provides Accessibility with Convenience as Only One Side External Access is Required (Opening of Equipment or Removal of Catalyst is not Required)

  3. Depth Of Attack Can Be Estimated


  1. Deep Expertise Required In Interpretation

  2. Very Initial Micro Level Degradation (Decarburization) Cannot be Estimated



HTHA relies on detecting the scattering of ultrasound energy

The technique detects the presence of fissures on the internal side of the low-alloy steel metal surface exposed to hydrogen at high temperature by scanning from the outside surface. 


The procedure for testing is based on API 941 using different approaches like:

  1. Attenuation Measurement

  2. Velocity Measurement

  3. Spectral Analysis

  4. Analyzing Scattered Signals

  5. Testing Weld Joints and HAZ Using High-Frequency Shear Wave Ultrasound

  6. Advanced Ultrasonic Testing Like Phased Array and TOFD


The extent of damage by HTHA can be assessed using the above techniques as well as other internal techniques such as WFMPI (Wet fluorescent magnetic particle inspection), in-situ metallography and hardness testing. Testing from both sides overcomes the limitations encountered while testing only from outside.


RLA and Condition Assessment of Boilers

TCR has developed expertise in assessing the current condition of boilers and also their remaining life. At TCR, both Level–II assessment and Level-III assessment is undertaken for RLA. Adopting a pragmatic approach, efforts are directed towards collecting data on the component/equipment history in addition to interviewing external experts familiar with the operation details. All the details are evaluated vis-à-vis the testing and studies are conducted at a later stage using either a:

CALCULATION BASED APPROACH: Calculation procedures are often employed to determine the expanded lives of components under creep, fatigue and creep-fatigue conditions. From plant records, information about temperature and cycling history is gathered and by use of standard material properties and damage rules, the fractional life expanded up to a given point in time can be estimated. 


DESIGN APPROACH: Components which operate under creep regime are generally designed on the basis of yield strength, tensile strength and fatigue strength with suitable safety factors. Under normal conditions, deformation and fracture are not time dependent. As long as the applied stresses do not exceed the design stresses, these components should last indefinitely; but in practice, various factors cause the reduction in life.

Approach to Remaining Life Assessment

  1. Understanding the actual degradation mechanism 

    • Fatigue 

    • Thermal Fatigue 

    • Thermo Mechanical Fatigue 

    • Thermal Aging 

    • Creep 

    • Embitterment 

    • Corrosion 

  2. Visual Examination Of Physical Properties

  3. NDT involving In-situ Metallography, Ultrasonic Testing, Magnetic Particle Inspection, DP Test, Ferrite Measurement

  4. Stress analysis: To know the strength of the material and check ruptures

  5. Non-Destructive Testing: To provide a good insight into the component integrity

  6. Laboratory Testing: To provide valuable information about the material soundness

  7. Judgment of Fitness of the Equipment: Based on available data

  8. Suggestions on Repairs: If required, repairing of the equipment is suggested, for life extension

  9. Judgment of Remaining Life Based on Analysis: Estimates for remaining life is carried out. In addition to this, periodic inspection procedures are spelled out to monitor the health of the equipment during the course of operation. If the results reveal an operational mistake, restriction in free movement by thermal expansion or any other prevailing damage mechanism, then preventive maintenance approach is formulated

Definition of Component Life

  • History-based criteria: 30 to 40 years have elapsed, statistics of prior failures indicate impending failure, frequency of repair renders continued operation uneconomical, calculations indicate life exhaustion

  • Performance-based criteria: Severe loss of efficiency indicating component degradation, large crack manifested by leakage, severe vibration or other malfunction, catastrophic burst

  • Inspection- based criteria: Dimensional changes have occurred, leading to distortions and changes in clearances, inspection shows microscopic damage, inspection shows crack initiation, inspection shows large crack approaching critical size

  • Criteria based on Destructive evaluation: Metallography or mechanical testing indicates life exhaustion


A detailed report along with evidence of damage of any and recommendations will be provided by estimation of RLA. Typically, at TCR Arabia we propose the following line of approach to undertake the RLA of package boiler.

1.    Visual Examination
2.    Thickness Measurement of critical areas.
3.    Ultrasonic test on critical joints
4.    Collection of scales/ water from different sections and analysis in the laboratory.
5.    In situ metallography on critical locations.
6.    In situ hardness testing
7.    Literature survey and experience of others in assessing the extent of judgments. 


Correlation of all testing, process parameter history of operation would be undertaken to assess the remaining life of Boiler. Recommendations would be made to attain longer, reliable and safe operation of the boiler. The final report would be submitted with results of testing, explanation of damages observed during testing and observation in document form.


Normal Micrograph

Normal Microstructure (good condition tube) which shows a typical ferritic pearlitic structure


Deteriorated Micrograph

Deteriorated Microstructure which shows the decomposition of the pearlitic colonies

Optimal Micrograph

Optical micrograph of non-bluged zones tube wall side showing ferrite –pearlite structure with no internal defects

Damage Mechanism Assessment
RLA of Boilers


Risk Based Inspection

The reliable and proven Risk-Based Inspection (RBI) technology process developed by PP SIMTECH (UK), with guidance from API 580/581 and UK HSE, has been accepted globally by leading international companies as a good engineering practice. PP SIMTECH has successfully implemented RBI at BP, Dow Chemicals, GPIC, ADNOC-Fertil, Norsk Hydro, BASF, INEOS. In India, PP SIMTECH (UK) has partnered with TCR Arabia and this partnership has resulted in the formation of a new joint-venture  – TCR PP SIMTECH Pvt. Ltd.

rbiAsyst™, a fully auditable and transparent software system calculates the risk profile of an item, based on its "active" and "potential" damage mechanism. The technology ensures that the resulting inspection interval for the item is reliably optimized in a safe and cost-effective manner. Operating limits are also defined by the RBI team to prevent an increase in damage rate or initiation of a new damage mechanism.  If business or safety risks are unacceptable, risk-mitigating options are also recommended as a part of the output. TCR’s RBI team study improves both, the team’s working and knowledge sharing at the plant site along with enhancing communication across all departments. Additionally, it captures valuable plant knowledge from senior engineers in the team, encourages the training of junior engineers and augments corporate memory. 

The technology is designed to facilitate the successful implementation of RBI technology processes at plant sites across oil and petrochemical industries, chemical, fertilizer and power plants. The technology causes an increase in plant availability, ensures cost saving, allows for a minimum duration of shutdowns, encourages changes in inspection strategies and intervals, and promotes improved safety compliance.

The TCR PP SIMTECH has an experienced team of professionals that include Mechanical Engineers, Metallurgists, Corrosion Engineers, NDT Experts, RBI Experts and Project Managers, that provide plants with RBI, Fitness-For-Service (API 579), Material Damage Mechanisms Assessment, Metallurgical Investigation & Failure Analysis and In-service Inspection. The RBI team study, facilitated by TCR PP SIMTECH and rbiAsyst™ software, helps all plant management and operations team to identify and resolve complex technical issues associated with static equipment including reactors, furnaces, strippers, distillation columns, heat exchangers, pressure vessels, reformers, boilers, fired heaters with associated items such as interconnected piping and storage tanks. 

Core Benefits of RBI

  • Increased Safety and Equipment Reliability

  • Fewer Planned Shutdowns

  • Fewer Unplanned Shutdowns

  • Longer Inspection Intervals

  • Reduction in Inspection Frequency and Maintenance Costs

  • Effectiveness Evaluation of Inspection Activities

  • Increased Consistency of Inspection Planning

  • Identification of Potential Damage Mechanisms

  • Prioritization of Inspection

  • Identification of Key Process Parameters affecting Degradation Rates

  • Assessment of Proposed Process Changes that could Impact Degradation Rates

  • Documentation of Current Plant Configuration And Materials of Construction

  • Improved Team Working And Communication between all Departments

Plant and equipments covered under TCR’s RBI technology process

  • All Types of Pressure Vessels including Reactors, Furnaces, Strippers, Absorbers, Distillation Columns, Heat Exchangers, Crackers, Crude Heaters and Other Fired Heaters, Reformers, Utility Power Boilers and Associated Equipment

  • Interconnected Piping between these Items Within The Plant Site

  • Over Ground and Buried Cross Country Fluid (Gas Or Liquid) Distribution Pipelines

  •  All Types Of Storage Tanks

TCR's Continued Support for Plant Sites Includes:

  • RBI Technology Implementation Services 

  • Total Asset Integrity Management Technology Support 

  • Fitness-For-Service (API 579, BS 7910) and Remaining Life Assessments 

  • Root Cause Material Damage Assessments, Metallurgical Investigation, and Failure Analysis 

  • Training & Technology Transfer To In-House Engineers to Effectively Manage Plant Integrity

However, it must be recognized that  apart from the reliability of the RBI technology process for delivering the set objectives and desired benefits, several other factors like the inclusion of best practices, the comprehensiveness of the team study method, the competence of the engineers involved from the plant site and the quality of the output are equally responsible. 

The approach to risk-based inspection is based on developing a strong cooperation between the plant personnel and TCR PP SIMTECH experts. The adopted process of guided expert judgment is based on operational experiences and a strong technical basis for evaluation of possible degradation mechanisms. TCR believes that incorporation of these fundamental requirements in the evolution and development of the RBI technology process has made PP SIMTECH the global leader in this technology and positively different from the others and the evidence lies in published testimonials from various clients.

Risk Based Inspection (RBI)


Failure and Root Cause Analysis

TCR prides itself for its deep knowledge and has garnered best practices from success stories compiled from over 1800 failure investigation assignments, which include major projects in manufacturing and metallurgical failures on ASME boilers, pressure vessels, gas turbine engine components, oil and gas transmission pipelines, food processing equipment, heat exchangers, medical supplies, refineries, petrochemical plants, aircraft/aerospace, offshore structures, industrial machinery, weldments and ships.

The Failure Analysis Team’s strength lies in the evaluation of high temperature and high-pressure failures. The Failure Analysis Team at TCR ARABIA has experience in the materials space, failure analysis, metallurgical, welding, quality assurance, and forensic engineering fields. The analysis is conducted by engineers holding advanced degrees in metallurgy, mechanical, civil, chemical, and electrical engineering.


TCR Arabia works with clients to draw up a plan for failure analysis to efficiently conduct the investigation. A large amount of time and effort is spent in carefully considering the background of failure and studying the general features before the actual investigation begins. The cause of failure is determined using state-of-the-art analytical and mechanical procedures that often includes simulated service testing. Analysis and physical testing, when combined together, locates problems and provides recommendations for effective solutions. 

In the course of the various steps listed below, preliminary conclusions are often formulated. If the probable fundamental cause of the metallurgical failure becomes evident early on in the examination, the rest of the investigation focuses on confirming the probable cause and eliminating other possibilities. The metallurgical failure analyst compiles the results of preliminary conclusions,  carefully considers all aspects of failure including visual examination of a fracture surface, the inspection of a single metallographic specimen and the history of similar failures. The complete evaluation sequence to conduct a Failure Analysis is summarized as under: 

Evaluation Sequence for Conducting Failure analysis

Failure Investigation Report

The investigation team produces detailed written reports to ensure clients fully understand the implications and can independently examine the conclusions:

  1. Description of the Failed Component

  2. Service Condition at the Time of Failure

  3. Prior Service History

  4. Manufacturing and Processing History of Component

  5. Mechanical and Metallurgical Study of Failure

  6. Metallurgical Evaluation of Quality

  7. Summary of Failure Causing Mechanism

  8. Recommendations for Prevention of Similar Failures

  9. Latest Inspection Solutions

Latest Inspection Solutions

  1. Collection of Background Data and Selection of Samples

  2. Preliminary Examination of the Failed Part 

  3. Complete Metallurgical Analysis of Failed Material 

  4. A Thorough Examination of the Failed Part including Macroscopic and Microscopic Examination and Analysis (Electron Microscopy, If Needed) Tests, If necessary may also include Weld Examination, Case Depth, Decarburization Measurement, Coating/Plating Evaluation, Surface Evaluation and/or Grain Size Determination 

  5. Chemical Analysis (Bulk, Local, Surface Corrosion Products, Deposits or Coating and Microprobe Analysis) Tests to Simulate Environmental and Physical Stress That May Have Played A Role In The Failure 

  6. Analysis Of Fracture Mechanics

  7. Selection and Testing of Alternative Products and/or Procedures That Will Significantly Improve Performance

  8. On-Site Evaluation and Consulting Services and Formulation Of Conclusions and Writing the Report (Including Recommendations)

TCR team has in-house all the necessary tools for conducting a modern failure analysis. The complete range of equipment at TCR’s network of laboratories include:

  1. Metallurgical Optical Microscope with Image Analysis system LECO 500(USA) with 300X facility. For studying fracture surface at low magnification and to decide areas to be studied at still higher magnification

  2. Scanning Electron Microscope With EDAX For The Study Of High Magnification Fractography in critical situations. To Study Surface Analysis Of Metal, Corrosion Product Or Localized Areas

  3. Stress Analyzer: To Detect the Level of Stresses in Metal

  4. Complete Mechanical and Chemical Testing Equipment 

  5. Dilatometer: To Measure Volume Change while Heating and Cooling

  6. quipment and Accessories Required for Preparation Of Metallographic Samples including Diamond Saw Cutter, Mounting Press, Rough Grinder, Belt Polisher, Wheel Or Disc Polisher, Electrolytic Etcher Polisher and a Microscope with Attachments like Micro-Hardness Testing

  7. Micro Hardness Tester

Failure and Root Cause Analysis

In-Situ Metallography

TCR Arabia under the NDT service performs In-Situ Metallography to determine

in-service degradation of critical components of process and plants operating under high temperature, high-pressure and corrosive atmospheres. The technique enables real-time component condition monitoring and health assessments. TCR Arabia’s Metallurgists have strong experience in the interpretation of microstructures and have more than 18,000 replica microstructure interpretations, logged and captured in its proprietary database. These databases contain extensive information from various plants, captured over the course of four decades of service. The database also includes rare collections of varying microstructure damage levels from various industries such as power, oil and gas, petrochemical, fertilizers among others.

The In-Situ Metallography team at TCR is highly skilled in the art of replica preparation. TCR has custom-developed special purpose in-situ polishing devices that assist in metallographic polishing under difficult locations and allows the field services team to carry out high-quality replication even on warm components.


The In-Situ metallography is performed for the following areas:

TCR also provides microstructure survey for critical components viz., Boilers, Pipelines, Reactors and Vessels for monitoring and health assessments. TCR has developed a databank of critical components of process plant equipment by periodical monitoring for preventive maintenance and planning for inventory control. With this, TCR can provide suggestions on repair and welding of used components of process plants.

In-situ Metallography and replication is used for microstructural analysis while examining large components that cannot be easily moved or destructive sample preparation is difficult or not permissible. The testing allows quick on-site evaluation of a component’s metallurgical and heat treatment condition and assists investigators while carrying out a remaining life assessment study or a failure analysis project.

  • To undertake microstructure survey for critical components viz., Boilers, Pipelines, Reactors and Vessels for condition monitoring/health assessment

  • To provide suggestions about their welding used components of process plants

  • To check the quality of the microstructure of components for intended service, before putting it into use 

  • To find out in-service degradation of critical components of the process plants operating under high temperature/high pressure/corrosive atmosphere

  • To conduct damage Assessment of fire-affected equipment of the plants

  • To develop a databank of critical components of process plant equipment by periodical monitoring for preventive maintenance and planning for inventory control

In-situ Metallography

Core capabilities for Metallurgical Replica Interpretation

TCR, at their material testing laboratories in Dammam, KSA has a state-of-the-art Inverted Metallurgical Microscope, GX51, from Olympus Corporation, Japan. This Inverted Metallurgical Microscope allows expert metallurgists at TCR to perform Volume Fraction Measurement by point count method as per E-562 used for Duplex Steel and Carbide Morphology Distribution as per STAHL-EISEN-PRUFBLATT 1520 (SEP-1520) German chart for checking microstructures.

TCR Arabia has undertaken In-situ Metallography projects at major plants of reputed clients including, Metallurgical Replica Interpretation for NDT Corrosion Control Services (NDT-CCS) in Saudi Arabia, Alstom Projects India Limited, Vadodara (Worked on more than 20 RLA projects), BARC (Mumbai), Heavy Water Board (Mumbai), BARC, Reliance Industries Limited (Jamnagar and Hazira), SPIC-SMO, Gujarat Electricity Board, Ahmedabad Electricity Board, GSFC Limited, GNFC Limited, IOCL (Vadodara), L & T, Hindustan Lever Limited (9 Boiler RLA Work), Narmada Chematur Petrochemicals Limited, Bharuch and many more.


At TCR, the 5 following sets of In-Situ Metallography kits and equipment are available:

  • Insipol 2000 And Advanced Electrolytic Flow Type Polisher And Etcher

  • Portable Rough Grinder With Self-Adhesive Papers

  • Portable Fine Polishing (Mini Grinder)

  • Portable Microscope Capable Up To 400X Magnification

  • Replica Kit: Used With Specialized Plastic Based Slides For Replica Preservation (For Longer Durability And Ease Of Handling On Site)



  • Objective Of In-Situ Metallography - Condition Assessment, Fire/Damage Assessment, Remaining Life Assessment, Or Baseline Data Generation

  • Material of Construction with Exact Specification

  • Location of Replication with Sketch

  • Process Parameters and Design Parameters

  • Service Life of The Component at the Time of Replication

  • Any History Of Previous Failures at the Location of Replication

Micro & Macro Examination
Sigma Phase Analysis


Metallography Tests at TCR



In Macro-etching a specimen is etched and macro-structurally evaluated at low magnifications. It is a frequently-used technique for evaluating steel products such as billets, bars, blooms and forgings. There are several procedures for rating a steel specimen by a graded series of photographs, showing the incidence of certain conditions and is applicable to carbon and low alloy steels. A number of different etching reagents may be used depending upon the type of examination. Steels react differently to etching reagents because of variations in chemical composition, the method of manufacturing, heat treatment, and many other variables. 


Macro-Examinations are also performed on polished and etched cross-sections of welded material. During the examination, a number of features can be determined including the weld run sequence, which is vital for weld procedure qualifications tests. Apart from this, any defects on the sample are assessed for relevant specifications and compliance. Slag, porosity, lack of weld penetration, lack of sidewall fusion and poor weld profile are among the features observed in this type of examination. It is procedural to identify such defects, either by standard visual examination or at magnifications of up to 50X. It is also routine to photograph the section to provide a permanent record and this is known as a photomacrograph. 


Micro Examination

This is performed on samples that are either cut to size or mounted on a resin mould. These samples are polished to a fine finish, typically a one-micron diamond paste and prior to an examination on the metallurgical microscope, it is usually etched in an appropriate chemical solution. Micro-examination is performed for a number of purposes, the most common of which is to assess the structure of the material. It is also customary to examine for metallurgical anomalies such as third phase precipitates, excessive grain growth, etc. Many routine tests such as phase counting or grain size determinations are performed in conjunction with micro-examinations. 


Weld Examination

Metallographic weld evaluations take place in many forms. In its most simple format, weld deposits can be visually examined for large-scale defects such as porosity or lack of fusion defects. On a micro scale, the examination can take the form of phase balance assessments from weld cap, weld root or can even be checked for non-metallic or third phase precipitates. Examination of weld growth patterns is also used to determine the reasons for poor mechanical test results. For example, an extensive central columnar grain pattern can cause a plane of weakness, giving poor charpy results.


Case Depth

Case hardening may be defined as a process for hardening ferrous materials in such a manner that the surface layer (known as the case) is substantially harder than the remaining materials (known as the core). This process is controlled through carburizing, nitriding, carbonitriding, cyaniding, induction, and flame hardening. The chemical composition and mechanical properties are affected by these practices. The methodology utilized for determining case depth can either be chemical, mechanical or visual and the appropriate one is selected based on specific requirements.


Decarburization Measurement

This method is designed to detect changes in the microstructure, hardness or carbon content at the surface of steel sections due to carburization. To determine the depth, a uniform microstructure, hardness or carbon content of the specimen interior is observed. This method detects surface losses in the carbon content due to heating at elevated temperatures


Coating / Plating Evaluation (ASTM B487, ASTM B748)

A coating or plating application is used primarily for the protection of the substrate. Thickness is an important factor in the performance of the coating or plating. A portion of the specimen is cut, mounted transversely and is prepared in accordance with acceptable or suitable techniques. The thickness of the cross section is measured with an optical microscope. When the coating or plating is thinner than .00020, the measurement is taken with the scanning electron microscope. Cross-sectioned metallographic examinations of substrates with plating, surface evaluations, thickness measurements, weight per volume and even salt spray testing can aid in the evaluation of plating.


Surface Evaluation

Surface inspection includes the detection of surface flaws along with the measurement of surface roughness. One of the methods used to perform this test is the use of a laser light. Measurement and analysis is possible when scattered light is reflected off the surface of a sample,  An alternative method is the use of a motorized stylus (profilometer), where the stylus is placed on the surface and the texture of the material is measured in micro-inches or millimeters.


Grain Size Determination

In order to establish a scale for grain size, ASTM E112 shows charts with outline grain structures for various dimensions. These universally accepted standards range from 1 (very coarse) to 10 (very fine). A material's grain size is important as it affects its mechanical properties. In most materials, a refined grain structure gives enhanced toughness, and alloying elements are deliberately added during the steel-making process to assist with grain refinement. Grain size is determined from a polished and etched sample, using optical microscopy at a magnification of 100X


TCR has the latest Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) that is attached to an Energy Dispersive Spectrometer (EDS) system. SEM is a great diagnostic tool for:

  • Failure Investigation

  • Fractography

  • Quality Control

  • Morphology and Identification of Localized Defects

  • Identifying Corrosion products at Microscopic levels

  • Identifying Surface Coating or Plating

  • Particle Size & Shape Analysis

  • Characterizing Creep in Microstructure

  • Identifying Submicron Features in Microstructure

  • Identification of Inclusions in metals

SEMART SS-100 offers a simple and an extremely user-friendly operating console equipped with a turbo-molecular pumping system to achieve a high vacuum that requires absolutely no time to start-up. ​The EDS Analyzer X-Max 20 is a versatile X-Ray spectrometer system, which does not require liquid nitrogen for its operation. This reduces the start time for EDS-accelerating voltages and lower spot sizes resulting in improved accuracy and quantification of elements that sometimes, can be a limitation of the conventional EDS detectors with 10-mm² areas.

Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) Analysis
Microstructure Characterization

Metallography and Microstructure Examination in Saudi Arabia

The metallurgists at TCR have deep expertise in Metallographic preparation and examination to evaluate the characteristics of metals. They are highly skilled to assess a particular material’s heat treatment condition, microstructure, and forming process. The team undertakes macro and micro examination including Weld Examination, Case Depth and Decarburization Measurement, Micro Hardness Testing and Coating/Plating evaluation.


The Metallography department employs the Inverted Metallurgical microscope, Olympus GX51 and the Leco 500 microscope with an Image Analysis System. The technical team has indigenously developed a microstructure characterizer software that assists with the analysis of images to determine microstructural degradation due to creep. The software can also calculate the graphitization, depth or width of decarburization, phase/volume percentage, grain growth, inclusion rating, particle size, volume percentage, particle count, porosity and coating thickness.


TCR Arabia can undertake also metallurgical evaluation using SEM, EDAX, XRD and TEM as well by utilizing its partner laboratory in India. The ambit of frequently tested services in TCR metallography lab include:

  • Microstructure Examination (Routine) with two photographs

  • NDT microstructure with two photographs

  • Microstructure with Comment on Heat Treatment

  • Microstructure examination for failure related study

  • Grain size distribution chart on Image Analysis (With print out)

  • Prior austenite grain size measurement (including heat treatment charges)

  • Prior austenite grain size measurement by Mc Quid Ehn method (including carburizing)

  • Oxide-scale/Nitriding/Carburizing/Decarburizing/ Coating – Measurements. (Avg. of 3 readings), over and above microstructure examination charge 

  • Grain size Measurement as per ASTM E112 with photograph

  • Linear measurement, up to 3 measurements, over and above macrostructure/microstructure examination charge

  • Each Additional linear measurement

  • Inclusion Rating as per ASTM E45 Method A with photograph

  • Inclusion rating as per ASTM E45 with photograph

  • Color Metallography (With two Photos)

  • Delta ferrite from SS weld microstructure, Sigma phase, volume fraction by microstructure examination (Avg. 3 frames)

  • % Nodularity, Nodule Count as per ASTM A247 and IS 1865

  • Porosity Analysis as per ASTM A 276

  • Decarburization Level as per IS 6396 And ASTM E 1077

  • Phase Distribution as per ASTM E 562 / 1245

  • Powder Particle Size Measurement (Avg. 5 Frames)

  • Coating Thickness Measurement as per ASTM B 487

  • Retained Austenite Measurement with Electro Polish and Copper Deposition Method, And Calculation On Image Analysis Software from Microstructure Examination. (Avg. 3 Frames)

  • Micro-Hardness Testing

  • Micro Hardness Profile For Case Depth Measurement (Max. 10 Readings)

  • Macro Etch Test Up To 100 Mm (Including Photo & Comments)

  • Macro Etch Test Between 100 To 200 Mm (Including Photo & Comments)

  • Macro Etch Test Over 200 Mm (Including Photo & Comments)

  • Fractography by Stereo Microscope

  • Fractography by SEM

  • Coating Thickness by SEM

  • Microstructure Examination Test With Photographs, Grain Size Comment On Carbide Precipitation, Nitrides & Intermetallic Phases In Haz, Parent, Weld As Per A-923 METHOD A, ASTM E-45 for Inclusion Rating

  • Hydrogen Embrittlement on Copper 

  • Ferrite As Per ASTM E562 per Phase per Sample

  • Intermetallic Phase (Chi, Sigma, Laves Nitrate Carbide) per phase per Sample

  • Intermetallic Phases In Weld, Parent Material (PM), Heat Affected Zone (HAZ) per phase per Sample

  • Microstructure Test with Photograph  (For Sigma Phase)

  • icrostructure Test With Photograph  (For Ferrite Content)

  • Analysis Of a Given SEM Image for Particle Size and Particle Size Distribution
    (Max/Min, Size/Frequency Information) Of the Dispersed Phase in a Continuous Phase Matrix.

  • Cost To Prepare the Sample for Placement In SEM Sample Chamber 

  • SEM Analysis with Single Image

  • Delta Ferrite Measurement by Ferritscope

  • Pit Dimension Measurement

  • EDAX / EDS Analysis

  • XRD Analysis

  • In-Situ Replica Interpretation only On a Client Supplied Replica. (Please Note: TCR will not be held responsible for accurate data interpretation in areas where a TCR technician has not taken the replicas

  • Structural Examination Charges (As Per 6.1)

  • Structural Examination (Each Additional Measurement)

  • Inclusion Rating as ASTM E45 – Method D (Set Of Six Specimen) 

  • Volume Fraction Measurement (30 Frames) as per ASTM E 562  

  • Microstructure as per A 923 Method A

  • Microstructure Carbide Network as per SEP 52100 Chart (Heat Treatment Charges Are Extra)

  • In-Situ Metallography

  • Step Macro without Photograph – Each Step

  • Step Macro with Photograph – Each Step

  • Macro Measurement (MLP/Penetration) -Each

  • Depth Of Attack

  • Banding Index

  • Intermetallic Phases – Charges On Request
    Coating/ Plating Thickness/Mesh Size

  • Austenitic Grain Size with Photographs (Up To 3 Samples)

Microstructure Characterizer Software

Metallurgical Image Analysis Software

TCR Arabia has developed Microstructure Characterizer Software, an image analysis tool. Using this software, a Metallurgist or a Material Science engineer can characterize different types of microstructural images for grain size, coating thickness, and phases; get images from one or more files, and intensify the image using the filtering and enhancement features.


Microstructure Characterizer Software 3.0 (MiC) characterizes microstructural features using standard methods of material characterization such as ASTM grain size measurements, coating thickness, linear and angular measurements, comparison of superimposed grain size reticules, inclusion rating as per IS and ASTM standards, nodularity measurements, powder particle size distribution and so on. It helps generate custom-made formatted reports of live and stored images and offers results as the computer display as well as hard copy multi-color printouts.


Extensive deployment experience; the software has been deployed at more than 295 commercial laboratories and universities till date. 
Custom modifications to this software can be done in conjunction with the engineering consulting team at TCR

Advanced Consulting Asisstance

TCR's consulting team has deep engineering expertise and has access to a state-of-the-art material testing laboratory that enables them to uncover the root cause of failure and recommend the best solution to prevent recurrence. TCR Engineering provides consulting assistance in several areas that include:

  • Determining the Right Material for a Product

  • Corrosion Engineering, Corrosion Testing and Corrosion Investigations

  • Metallurgical Failure Analysis and Welding Evaluations

  • Investigate the Effect of Environmental Conditions on a Product or Material

  • Manage Quality Control Projects

  • Prepare Material and Process Specifications for In-House Quality Control

  • Compare Vendor or Competitive Products

  • Estimate the Remaining Service Life of a Product or Machine Component

  • Develop Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) Plan and TOFD/ Phased Array Procedures

  • Identify Equivalents between Indian and Foreign Specifications

  • Assist to Solve Product Quality Problems

  • Assist in Cost-Benefit Analysis Post Failure Analysis

  • Expert Witness and Opinion Assistance in Case of Trade Conflicts, Materials Disputes and Litigation Issues

  • Creating a Custom Metallurgical Image Analysis Software

  • Ensure Product Compliance with Rohs and WEEE

The consulting practice additionally offers advanced services that include:

  • Finite Element Analysis and Stress Analysis

  • Advanced Materials and Processes

  • Fractography

  • Surface Engineering 

  • Tribology

  • Welding esp. repair welding and cast iron welding

  • Atomized Powder Production (Technology, QA, Application wise Requirements of Powders)

  • Life Cycle Analysis and Engineering Asset Management

  • Global Warming-Role of Tribology & Surface Engineering

  • Thermal Spraying

  • CAD/CAM Modeling

Advanced Consulting Asisstance
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