Materials Testing Laboratory

Materials Testing Laboratory

AMS has a state-of-the-art Materials Testing Laboratory providing services to nuclear power plants and other industrial facilities. Using a suite of visual, thermal, chemical, and mechanical characterization tests and analysis tools, our engineers conduct in-depth evaluation of the chemical composition, molecular structure, mechanical characteristics, and physical properties of a variety of materials. This laboratory is staffed by a group of engineers with B.S. to Ph.D. degrees in materials science, chemical engineering, nuclear engineering, and related disciplines.

CableLab1
One of the major concerns that utilities, manufacturers, and other large industrial facilities face is how to address aging for the vast quantities of cables that power and run these facilities. Large scale cable replacements can be very expensive and prohibitive to continued long term operation. The AMS Materials Testing Laboratory is strategically aligned to help solve these issues using the technologies and knowledge the company has developed for the nuclear power industry, which has had to confront these aging concerns before most industries due to the unique environmental stressors present during plant operation.
AMS has addressed this industry need by developing a comprehensive Materials Testing Laboratory which focuses primarily on evaluating age related degradation of insulation materials in electrical cables. AMS has performed extensive research in the area of cable aging and uses a wide variety of electrical, mechanical, and thermal-chemical condition monitoring tests to determine the aged condition and provide remaining useful life estimates for industrial cables. These laboratory tests are typically performed on cable samples removed from service and sent to our laboratory for analysis. The results of this testing provide important information on the overall health of industrial cables and can be used as justification for continued operability as well as to inform maintenance practices for future cable replacements.

 
CableChart

 
Recently, cable aging assessments were performed for a nuclear power plant that wanted to determine the aged condition of installed cables that had been exposed to elevated temperatures and other environmental stressors during operation. The goal of this project was to determine both the current condition of the cable polymers and estimate how much time the insulation materials could remain exposed to their in-service environmental conditions in the plant before reaching their end of life condition. AMS routinely performs As-Found condition assessments using the following test methods:

 

Materials Testing Laboratory
  • Visual and Optical Microscope Inspections
  • Insulation Resistance
  • Indenter Modulus
  • Elongation at Break
  • Oxidation Induction Time
  • Thermo-gravimetric Analysis
  • Relative Density
  • Scanning Electron Microscopy / Electron Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (SEM/EDS)
  • Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy
  • Electrical Permittivity