Friday, September 23, 2011 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Room 610, M&M Building
Joel F. Flumerfelt, PhD
Metallurgist Aspen Research Corporation, St. Paul, MN
Materials have been used throughout history for various applications, for example, tools, weapons, buildings, vehicles and ornamentation. Invariably, components used within these products sometimes fail during service before their expected end of life. The past three decades have seen extreme failures that caused human fatalities, for example, the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion shortly after lift-off in 1986, the Space Shuttle Columbia explosion upon re- entry in 2003, and collapse of the Interstate 35W Mississippi River Bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 2007. When failure happens, there is usually a mandate to identify factors that contributed to the failure to make plans for avoiding failure in the future, i.e. design and build a better mouse trap. A failure analysis investigation satisfies the demand such that the work effort identifies: the failure mode; the immediate primary cause(s) for the failure; the root cause(s) for the failure associated with intentional and unintentional human errors. This presentation will illustrate the principles of the failure analysis process using a recent failure investigation related to a socket head cap screw that failed inside a shaker table.
Joel is a metallurgist who began his career at Aspen Research Corporation in 2000. As an analyst, he participates in various short term projects that address client inquiries related to failure analysis, foreign residue and deposit identification, microscopic examinations, mechanical testing, customized test method development, material selection and design, material and product quality control measures, and product process development and improvement. As a project manager, he interacts with Aspen’s clients to understand and respond to questions about material and process issues associated with their products, providing customized quotes that define a project’s objective, scope of work, cost, and timeline. He also oversees the operation and maintenance of the metallurgical lab, optical microscopes and SEM-EDS instrumentation.
Prior to joining Aspen Research Corporation, he spent 18 months at Engel Metallurgical, Ltd. (St. Cloud, MN) working on projects related to metallurgical failure analysis and material selection and design.
Joel holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degree in Metallurgical Engineering from Michigan Technological University, and a Doctorate degree in Metallurgical Engineering from Iowa State University. He is a current member of ASM International and SMTA. A hobby of his is playing alto sax with a 17 person swing band, named “Red Rock Swing Band”, which performs at different locales around the Twin City metropolitan area for private and public gigs.