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Metallurgy, Inspection & non-destructive Testing

Metallurgy, Inspection & non-destructive Testing

Metallurgy is a branch of science and engineering, relating to the study of metals and materials. By understanding the fundamental behaviour of metals, our metallurgists can determine how a component or structure should react in a given environment or under certain mechanical loads.

Non-destructive testing (NDT) is the scientific process of inspecting, testing, or evaluating materials, components or assemblies for discontinuities, or differences in characteristics without destroying the serviceability of the component.

Brookes Bell offer professional expertise and experience in investigation of quality issues, defects and failure relating to all types of metallic components. We provide specialist support and technical knowledge to all industries and regularly act as expert witnesses in court and arbitration.

Our Expertise

We have a wide range of experience in different cases, including:

  • Newbuild construction, quality and fabrication disputes
  • Technical consultancy in relation to weld repair and inspection techniques
  • Damage to ships structures. Identification of cracks and failure mechanisms (i.e. weld/construction defects)
  • Forensic engineering and failure investigation
  • Corrosion analysis and advice on corrosion prevention/protection
  • Cargo surveys, including damage to steel products and damage to ships structures from aggressive bulk cargoes (sulphur and acids). Investigation of container collapses
  • Wire rope failures
  • Bearing failures, including slewing bearings
  • Industrial-based failure/corrosion assessment. Identification of nature and cause of failure (e.g. fatigue, overload)


Brookes Bell has expertise across multiple disciplines to assist with land based, offshore or marine investigations. Our metallurgists are well versed in failure investigation, including securing and documenting samples and conducting examination to determine the cause of failure.

The scope of investigation can range from the atomic level (determining the chemical composition of materials) all the way up to damage to large superstructures and all aspects in between. Our investigations may be standalone component investigations, but may also involve aspects of naval architecture and marine engineering.

Technical Consultancy

We often provide technical consultancy services to ship yards, manufacturers and vessel owners. This may be in cases when no failure has actually occurred, but a dispute arises over construction quality or further knowledge is needed with regard to handling metals and manufacturing processes. We have extensive experience of international and national manufacturing and quality standards and how they apply to construction.


We work with both our master mariners and scientists on cargo cases, typically relating to damage of cargo or damage to the vessel structure from carriage of aggressive cargoes.

Common damage to cargo carried by sea includes seawater or moisture damage to steel products and mechanical damage. We also advise on damages to project cargoes where metal deck lashings or fittings may have failed. Regarding aggressive cargoes, this usually relates to corrosion as a result of carrying the cargo. Examples include bulk sulphur and acids (such as phosphoric and sulphuric acids.

Metallurgical Analysis

At our inspection centre, we can carry out fractographic analysis on a wide range of samples and components. We have our own microscope suite for close up examination and photography of damaged components and can accommodate large and heavy samples.

We have access to a scanning electron microscope (SEM) which can be used for high magnification inspection and analysis. We are very experienced in the use of SEM as an investigative tool, its advantages and limitations.

Our metallurgical facilities allow samples, including large items such as sections of propulsion shafting, crankshafts/bearings, crane wires, etc., to be stored following formal custody transfer procedures, so that they are available for further examination and testing jointly with other experts.

Non-destructive Testing Services

Non-destructive testing (NDT) is the scientific process of inspecting, testing, or evaluating materials, components or assemblies for discontinuities, or differences in characteristics without destroying the serviceability of the component.

Our capabilities include level 3 non-destructive engineers who can advise on all aspects of condition assessment surveys, forensic investigations and latent defect identification. We offer reporting of the highest standard and can provide consultancy and procedure review for non-destructive services.

Our NDT Services Include:

  • Level 3 Consultancy & Technical Management
  • Dye Penetrant Inspection
  • Magnetic Particle Inspection
  • Ultrasonic Inspection
  • Advanced Non-destructive Techniques (Phased Array and Time-of-Flight Diffraction, Automated and Semiautomated Corrosion Mapping)
  • Advanced eddy current and electromagnetic solutions for the inspection of critical components and assets (heat exchange & small bore tubing)