The image complements the text of the article. It shows damaged wind turbine and solar panel. Imperia Materials Engineering Laboratory tests materials, products, and components for a wide range of industries. Contact Imperia Lab for your renewable power project. Whether your project involves wind turbines or solar panels, speak with us about determining the suitability of a part for a new project, or determining a part's root cause of failure in an existing project.

Materials Engineering for Wind & Solar Power

Our materials engineering lab forensically investigates materials, products, and components to determine why a part failed in the field, or whether a part is suitable for a new product.

Whether you are investigating the failure of a solar panel or determining the best material for use in a new wind farm, Imperia is your one-stop shop.

Failure Investigation

When a part fails, replacement or repair is only a partial solution. Determining the root cause of failure is crucial to preventing it from happening again.

Cracks, corrosion, fatigue, and other forms of material degradation interrupt a facility’s operation. Interrupted operation is lost money.

Imperia evaluates a broad range of material to determine root cause of failure– metals, ceramics, polymers, and composites.

Our investigative methods include optical microscopy, chemical analysis, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDS), quantitative chemical analysis, and more. 

Product Testing

Perhaps you have a product idea, but must determine which material is best suited for it. We test materials to give you the answers you need.

Our simulations expose materials to the forces they will face in the field. We subject the material to tension, compression, bending, electrical forces, hardness testing, and more. 

Trust our proven lab methods to help you determine the best material, mechanism, or design for your new product.

Staff & Portfolio

Imperia’s lab staff includes PhDs, professional engineers, and experienced lab technicians. Our portfolio includes successful projects across a wide range of industries including power generation, aerospace, consumer products, biomedical, and more. 

Contact Us

When a part fails, or a material must be tested prior to use, rely on the lab with a track record of success. Contact Imperia’s Materials Engineering Laboratory today.

Tom Rafferty
Business Development Manager

The image complements the text of the article. This is the Imperia Engineering Partners Logo, used in this case by the Imperia Materials Engineering Laboratory which conducts lab and field investigations for insurance claims.

Materials Engineering Lab
113 Cedar Street, Suite S-6
Milford, MA 01757
(855) 425-8726
tom.rafferty@imperiaep.com

Image complements the text of the article. The image shows a nuclear power plant at night. Imperia Materials Engineering Lab provides forensic investigation of failed parts and components to power plants during outages.

Power Plant Outage Support

Materials Engineering Laboratory


Imperia forensically evaluates power plant components to determine the root cause of failure. Partner with us for your next maintenance outage.

Our lab expertise includes:

  • Metallography
  • Chemistry
  • Polymer Science
  • Mechanical Testing
  • Electrical Testing
  • Coatings
  • Corrosion
  • Failure Analysis
  • Foreign Material Identification
  • And More!

We are licensed to handle radioactive materials.


Rapid response for your time-sensitive needs.


We evaluate a broad range of components, from tiny circuit boards to large piping and valves.


We understand the needs that emerge during a maintenance outage, no matter how you make your electrical power.

  • Nuclear
  • Natural Gas
  • Waste-to-Energy
  • Biomass
  • Coal
  • Solar
  • Wind
  • Geothermal
  • Hydro

We can determine the root cause of failure in your metals, ceramics, polymers, composites, and more.

Contact us now to arrange support for your next outage.

Thank you!

Tom Rafferty
Business Development Manager

The image complements the text of the article. This is the Imperia Engineering Partners Logo, used in this case by the Imperia Materials Engineering Laboratory which conducts lab and field investigations for insurance claims.

Materials Engineering Lab
113 Cedar Street, Suite S-6
Milford, MA 01757
imperialabs.com

Engineering Offices
2 Advantage Court, 2nd Floor
Bordentown, NJ 08505
imperiaep.com

Cell (484) 753-9220
Desk (855) 425-8726
tom.rafferty@imperiaep.com

This image complements the text which explains that Imperia Materials Engineering Laboratory conducts root-cause failure investigations for insurance claims. We work in the lab and in the field. Insurance companies, adjusters, and claimants need not worry about not knowing where to begin when trying to figure out which piece of equipment failed, and why. Site visits are often crucial to our investigations. Imperia visits the site and begins the investigation. We figure out which equipment (if any) needs laboratory examination. When you need a lab with reach, choose Imperia.

Field Investigations For Insurance Claims: A Lab With Reach

by Tom Rafferty, Business Development Manager

A laboratory is usually a stationary place, but at Imperia it is also a deployable force. Our lab investigations are not limited to a room with microscopes. Field work is often crucial to our insurance claim investigations.

Where to Begin?

You may not know which piece of equipment is at fault, let alone which one to ship to a laboratory for root-cause failure investigation. When there is doubt, Imperia’s Materials Engineering Laboratory performs this service for you.

We visit the site and begin our investigation.

Whether the problem is electrical, mechanical, structural, or something else, you need not worry about not knowing where to begin.

Solving the Puzzle

With our site visits, we put the first pieces of the puzzle together.

There is no guess work for the insurance company, the adjuster, or the claimant. We figure out which equipment (if any) needs laboratory examination.

Sometimes our field visits yield enough information for us to solve the entire puzzle, and figure out the root-cause of equipment failure, without any shipment of material to our lab.

A Lab With Reach

Our lab is physically located in Massachusetts. But with personnel in New England, the Mid-Atlantic Region, the South, and the Midwest, Imperia can project expertise to field locations far and wide. When your claim investigation needs a Materials Engineering Laboratory with reach, choose Imperia.

Tom Rafferty
Business Development Manager
Imperia Engineering Partners
Materials Engineering Laboratory
113 Cedar Street, Suite S-6
Milford, MA 01757
(855) 425-8726
tom.rafferty@imperiaep.com

Image shows globe body control valve with diaphragm pneumatic actuator, and positioner, and filter regulator gauge.

Failure of PWR Pressurizer Spray Valve to Position Properly

by Richard Martin (Program Manager) & Dr. Hui Lu (Lab Manager)

Problem

The pressurizer spray valve in a pressurized water reactor (PWR) nuclear power plant failed to position as required, ultimately resulting in a plant shutdown. The spray valve was an air operated valve with an actuator that was air to open, spring to close. A pneumatic positioner was used to control operation of the spray valve actuator.

During power testing, the spray valve failed to shut from full open upon sending a control signal to the positioner to close the valve. Isolating control air (0 psi signal) to the positioner had no effect on the position of the spray valve. Trouble shooting indicated that the positioner had failed and continued to pass 85 psi air to the valve actuator, causing the spray valve to remain open.

Failure Analysis

The positioner and the associated control air transducer were shipped to Imperia’s Materials Engineering Laboratory for failure analysis. The components were received by Imperia utilizing Imperia’s radioactive material license. No decontamination of the components was required prior to shipping.

Imperia’s failure analysis was performed on a priority basis with an expedited schedule to support the plant’s root cause determination team. The client also had a concern for applicability of the failure to other units. Another unit’s pressurizer spray system utilized the same configuration.

Results of the failure analysis revealed debris in the 85 psi air supply to the positioner accumulated in the positioner and specifically within a close-tolerance spool valve that directed air flows to cause the spray valve to open or close. Most of the debris particles, which were predominately organic material, were larger than the spool valve tolerance. The debris became wedged between the spool and valve body causing misalignment and resistance to movement of the spool, preventing spool repositioning which allows the spray valve to close.

Conclusion

Imperia’s failure analysis of the positioner allowed the plant to complete a root cause determination and identify a solution to prevent recurrence.

Image shows cooling towers of a nuclear plant next to high voltage transmission and distribution tower and lines.

Engineering Outage Support for BWR Primary Containment

by Raymond M. Pace, P.E. – Director of Nuclear Engineering

The VPs of Engineering and Operations at a nuclear power plant reached out to Imperia Engineering Partners, Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) (i.e., Mark I Program Structural and Coatings) for support because of discovery with respect to the Primary Containment. The plant was recovering from an extended outage hold due to COVID-19. They were in the process of completing planned internal examinations after recoating of the torus shell. The examination of the Vent System identified degradation of the internal coating due to standing water during the operational cycle. The coating degradation resulted in localized wall loss due to corrosion that exceeded the previously calculated minimum thickness requirement. Imperia was contracted to act as a 3rd party reviewer for the Finite Element Model (FEM) structural analysis, coating selection/application and corrosion product review for the Vent System. We were authorized to be in direct contact with both the structural and corrosion consultants previously selected.

The structural consultant prepared a symmetric finite element model of a Vent System bay to perform an ASME Code analysis of the localized thinning areas. Imperia reviewed the preliminary Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and recognized that a boundary condition required adjustment. In addition, Imperia reviewed the Mark I Program Plant Unique Analysis Report for all hydrodynamic loading conditions and validated the analytical approach proposed by the structural consultant. Imperia also identified that the preliminary results for two of the vent bays appeared inconsistent. Follow up by the structural consultant resulted in additional changes to the finite element model.

Imperia recommended that the utility could benefit by performing an ASME SC XI Code reconciliation from the 1977 Edition of ASME III to a later edition with lowered safety factor to gain 14% margin on material allowable stress values. The utility agreed and Imperia reviewed the Code reconciliation and the updated uniform wall thickness requirements for the Vent System. Imperia also reviewed FEA results to the reconciled allowable stress values and confirmed locations requiring an ASME SC XI repair. The number of repair locations was reduced because of the Code reconciliation.

Recoating the Vent System areas with localized degradation was deemed impractical due to the need for a comprehensive plan including as a minimum, confined space and enhanced ventilation requirements. The qualified coatings are also difficult to apply due to Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and application requirements. Therefore, the corrosion consultant prepared a calculation to determine additional accumulated corrosion products if left uncoated for the cycle. The calculation was required to qualify the Emergency Core Cooling System (ECCS) suction strainers for additional debris loading.

Imperia performed a 3rd party review for the following products to support the plant’s successful startup to full power operation:

  • Structural consultant’s Technical Report containing the ASME Code structural evaluation for localized thinning in the Vent System.
  • Corrosion consultant’s calculation of factors refining corrosion rate of carbon steel in water with a nitrogen blanket and the corrosion consultant’s report presenting an estimation of the rust mass caused by corrosion of exposed steel in the vent system over an 18-month cycle.
  • Structural consultant’s calculation of corrosion product generation in the vent system over an 18-month cycle and the structural consultant’s report on the impact of corrosion products on the plant’s ECCS performance.
  • Site’s operability evaluation prepared to support full power operation for one cycle of operation demonstrating acceptability for the degraded/nonconforming condition (e.g., degraded vent system wall thickness and coating with the potential for additional debris generation).

Industries

  • Medical devices
  • Biomedical systems and components
  • Power Plant components
  • Structure and Industrial facilities
  • Aerospace
  • Manufactured equipment

In addition to the multidisciplinary composition of the team, Imperia also offers cross-industry knowledge. We can help you as your needs venture in other technical fields or if you are interested in testing material new to your industry.