Materials Characterisation

As experts in the Waste Behaviour and Materials, we provide a wide-ranging materials advice and characterisation services. Our customers are diverse, across the Sellafield site and the wider nuclear industry. And we cover a variety of materials such as metals, ceramics, polymers, composites and coatings.

Our Service

Our services begin at the design stage, where we apply our extensive knowledge of nuclear plant engineering helps to select the right materials. Should qualification tests be needed, we can put research programmes in place to identify the best materials solution.

During the construction, commissioning and operation of a plant, our Positive Materials Identification (PMI) services are the ideal reassurance that the correct materials have been used. They also inform repair-welding strategies where any uncertainties exist. This service is available both at the NNL Central Laboratory and on customer sites, using X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) and Optical Emission (OES) Spectroscopy.

Working in collaboration with the NNL Plant Inspection Teams, our expertise covers in-situ metallographic examination and hardness testing of plant items. This means we can provide engineering critical assessments to recognised international standards (BS 7910).

When things go wrong, we offer forensic materials failure investigation services to determine the cause and recommend a solution.

We also maintain a non-active metallurgical laboratory at the NNL Central Laboratory, including:

  • Metallographic preparation facilities and furnaces
  • Optical macroscopes and microscopes
  • Mechanical testing facilities, comprising of hardness, tensile and scratch testing equipment
  • Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) with X-Ray microanalysis capability

The team even carries out corrosion performance and assessment work, to compliment our materials characterisation expertise. This is all on top of access to active metallographic, electron microscopy (SEM, TEM and STEM) and mechanical testing facilities.

Materials Characterisation