Metallurgical Failure

Our History

Forensic Services (M) Sdn Bhd was established in Malaysia in 1986 to carry out investigations into the causes of accidents throughout Asia. In the ensuing 19 years we have grown to a full time staff of 25 who carry out in excess of 200 investigations per year. We have in-house ancillary expertise such as non-destructive testing capability and crane repair.


FSM has as its associate Rimkus Consulting Inc of the USA. Rimkus carries out investigations and provides technical advice to the insurance and legal industries world wide. They have over 100 full time technical consultants covering many industry groups and disciplines.

Our Consultants

Fatigue fracture of a diesel engine crankshaft.

Our consultants are professionally qualified in the applied sciences and engineering, and are engaged full time in the work described, with graduates in chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, electronic engineering, metallurgy, process technology and materials science. Every investigation is conducted with the view that the findings may need to be presented and justified in a court of law. Our consultants have appeared as expert witnesses in courts in Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines.

Metallurgical Expertise

FSM carries out metallurgical failure analyses for insurers, loss adjusters, industry and the legal profession. Our investigations can be confined to samples sent to us, or can extend to site visits where we investigate the accident as a whole and take samples where appropriate for laboratory study.

The following indicates the range of our work, which have been carried out in seven countries throughout Asia.

  1. Boiler failures ranging from L.P. boilers at small factories; plantation and refinery boilers; through to failures at power boilers and recovery boilers in the paper pulp industry.
  2. Turbin failures at a number of palm oil mills and power stations throughout Malaysia.
  3. High alloy tube failures including thermal excursions, metal dusting and creep at petrochemical, polymer and detergent factories in a number of countries.
  4. Chemical reactor failures at polymer manufacturers in Malaysia, Thailand and Taiwan.
  5. Mining industry failures of dredge buckets, pulverisers and gyratory crushers.
  6. Pumps and hydrogen and oxygen compressors.
  7. Corrosion and fatigue failures of tube bundles, flat plate and spiral heat exchangers, die blocks and moulds, printing rolls, aluminium cooking ware, aluminium, hot rolled steel, cold rolled steel and galvanised coils. Roofs, golf clubs, clutches, glass lined vessels, cooling towers, silos, tanks, railway lines, elevator ropes, compressors, canned fruit and drinks, aluminium cables, and a wide range of goods in transit. Corrosion failures have included general, pitting, stress corrosion cracking, microbiological attack, galvanic and erosion.
  8. Mercury attack of a gas separation plant in Thailand.

Laboratory Equipment

Our laboratory facilities include the following.

  • Macro-photography.
  • Ovens - room temperature to 300°C.
  • Lindberg furnace and muffle furnace 200°C to 1100°C.
  • Metallurgical power saw and water-cooled cut-off wheel.
  • Metallographic mounting, grinding and diamond polishing.
  • Fisher Vibrometric Polisher.
  • Struers Electropol electropolisher/etching machine.
  • Nikon SMZ10 laboratory stereomicroscope with photographic capability.
  • Field microscope.
  • Nikon Labophot compound microscope with photographic capability.
  • Nikon optical shadograph.
  • Nikon fibre-optic light source.
  • Glossgard II glossmeter.
  • Durometer A and D hardness tester.
  • Barcol (soft metal) hardness tester.
  • Rockwell hardness testers.
  • Brinell field hardness tester.
  • Melting point apparatus.
  • Boekel Pensky-Martin flash point tester.
  • Infrared 'heat stalker' temperature measuring.
  • Programmable remote in-situ temperature and humidity recording downloadable to a computer.

Additional Facilities

  • Digital photography and image enhancement.
  • Computer retrieval from our in-house database of 2000 failure analyses.
  • 600 volume reference library with subscriptions to major materials related publications.
  • Sirim member, providing access to standards.