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Elastomer Components Failure Analysis

Comprehensive laboratory analysis and testing services to help determine the cause of elastomer component failures in the nuclear industry.
In nuclear power plants, elastomer components are often subjected to very harsh environments, which can lead to unplanned failures. Factors such as heat, radiation, corrosive fluids, and unanticipated stresses can result in accelerated aging of the elastomer compound. Premature failures can result in unscheduled maintenance and may adversely impact plant operations.

Identifying the Causes of Elastomer Component Failure

Kinectrics’ forensics staff provides field and laboratory support to analyze the cause of elastomer components failure. Samples are shipped to Kinectrics laboratory for in-depth analysis and testing to determine the failure mechanism.  Radioactive samples are decontaminated and examined at Kinectrics’ Radioactive Laboratory.
Techniques commonly used at Kinectrics to investigate the formulation of the compound include Fourier Transform Infrared Sprectroscopy, Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectroscopy,
Thermogravimetry, and Ion Chromatography. Mechanical and physical tests are also performed to assess the condition of the material.
In the event of catastrophic failure of the component, fractographic examination of the fracture surface is conducted using optical or scanning electron microscopes.
Long-term corrective actions or solutions are provided as a result of the failure mechanism investigation.

Examples of recent elastomer components failure analysis projects include:

  • D2O catenary hose
  • Primary Heat Transport filter hose
  • Hydrogen seal U-cup
  • Refrigeration unit O-ring
  • Emergency Coolant Injection system heat exchanger plate gasket