Materials Testing, Failure Analysis and Engineering

Ronald J. Parrington, M.S., P.E., FASM
Senior Managing Consultant & Director of Industrial Services
Phone: (630) 851-4566

ESI is a decades old leader in the area of materials testing, failure analysis, and materials engineering.  Our Mechanics & Materials Practice Group has more than 30 materials engineers, scientists, and technologists across the nation collectively with hundreds of years of industry experience.  The diverse range of expertise with metals, plastics, rubber, composites, ceramics, electrical devices, and more, combined with state-of-the-art testing facilities, provide ESI with the capabilities to deliver sound solutions to clients' materials problems and challenges, including:

Our materials engineering team is well trained and experienced.  Many hold advanced degrees in their areas of expertise.  Backgrounds encompass such areas as industrial equipment, aerospace, automotive, railroad, medical device, power generation, oil and gas, refineries, nuclear energy, munitions, and consumer products.  Our staff publishes numerous articles in technical journals, teaches classes worldwide, and leads technical committees involved with materials engineering and failure analysis.

The ESI team will go beyond testing and analysis to understand the entire system, so that they can provide expert guidance on how to improve products and/or prevent failures.  Examples of materials testing, failure analysis, and engineering solutions that ESI has delivered to its clients include:

  • ESI performed a damage assessment of a large, steel, rocket-engine test stand that was exposed to fire.   The project included field inspection and assessment, in-field testing, sample removal for laboratory testing, and metallurgical analysis.
  • The manufacturer of a heavy lifting device used for steel coils experienced multiple failures that rendered the equipment unsafe.  ESI identified fatigue cracking of weldments in the lifting device and recommended mechanical and weld design changes to prevent future failures.
  • Plastic gears in high-speed blenders/juicers failed prematurely in product qualification tests.  ESI's polymer and mechanical engineering experts worked closely with the client's product development team to identify the causative misalignment problem and to provide design solutions to eliminate heat buildup and thereby, successfully utilize plastic gears in the drivetrain.
  • In addition to traditional metallurgical failure analysis methods, the failure analysis of a motorcycle engine that threw a rod utilized state-of-the-art FARO 3D laser scanning and animation.  This advanced technology was used to produce a permanent record of the connecting rod prior to destructive testing and to demonstrate thru animation the post-fracture damage to the crankcase caused by the broken rod.
  • ESI analyzed a crane rail miter joint design concept.  The finite element analysis results helped guide design changes that optimized manufacturability and reliability.
  • A medical device manufacturer was having difficulty with the seizing of a cervical spine screw. A computed tomography (CT) scan was performed on the device in both a seized and unseized position. It was determined that a bearing was being restrained in a crevice within the screw, causing the problem. With this information, the manufacturer was able to improve their design to obtain a properly functioning device.
  • ESI performed various mechanical, chemical, and thermal testing of polymeric lube disks and sticks used to deliver lubricant to railroad car wheels.  The results were used by our client to optimize supplier selection.
  • Two large steam turbines used in the production of ethanol failed.  ESI's metallurgists were able to determine that fatigue fractures initiated in a region of intergranular stress corrosion cracking due to weld-induced sensitization in the heat affected zone of the ferritic stainless steel compressor blades.
  • Impact and tensile testing was performed for carbon steel piles (poles) used to brace the breakwater walls protecting the city of New Orleans.
  • ESI performed proof-load testing of decks, railings and steps for platforms used to pick parts at large warehouses.
  • Railroad cars used to transport coal experienced corrosion and cracking damage.  ESI identified the cause of corrosion and completed a remaining life assessment of the car bodies.

Professionals in This Area








Babcock, Jason R., Ph.D.   Senior Consultant  


Cline, Keith G., P.E.   Senior Consultant & Manager of Washington Operations  


Parrington, Ronald J., P.E., FASM   Senior Managing Consultant & Director of Industrial Services  


Smith, Casey   Senior Technologist  

Texas (Dallas)

Sohn, Sangjoon "Jay", Ph.D.   Senior Consultant  


Stegemann, Jacob A.   Associate Consultant  


Wright, Ellen E., Ph.D.   Staff Consultant