Materials Science Education

posted November 2018

This week, MEE hosted University of St Thomas Materials Science students in our laboratory. Students toured our metallography and light microscopy labs and were presented a brief introduction to scanning electron microscopy.

Staff engineer, Neal Hanke, arranged a display of some representative failure analysis projects to demonstrate the range of materials and failure modes we have investigated in our lab.

From our previous blog post:

“We are expecting minimal interruption of our work flow during construction.”


Installation of new  flooring in two of our labs required us to temporarily move all testing equipment out of those rooms.  MEE staff has demonstrated a lot of flexibility and innovative thinking to make sure our work continues with minimal interruption.  Senior Engineer, Jason Larson, has set up his office to run Af testing.  Af testing, Austenite Finish testing, is used to determine the transition temperature in nitinol.

MEE Expansion Project – Part II

posted October 2018

This week, phase one of MEE’s facilities expansion is finishing up. We are added another 1800 sq ft for a new reception area, offices, break room and larger artifact storage area. Phase two of the project will be the expansion and redesign of the metallographic laboratory.  We are expecting minimal interruption of our work flow during construction. Project completion is expected by the end of October.


The first change clients and visitors should note is our front entry will be moving one doorway to the north of our current entrance. 


Larry Hanke,P.E. and Neal Hanke, P.E. will be presenting a talk on the role of the metallurgical engineer in fire investigations at an October 12 educational seminar in Lakeville, MN. The seminar is directed at fire investigators, insurance professionals and lawyers to highlight the importance of laboratory testing  of artifacts in a successful investigation.

Larry Hanke, P.E.

Neal Hanke, P.E.

Larry and Neal will provide their expertise on:

  1. A fundamental understanding of how structural and electrical materials behave at elevated temperatures.
  2. How material behaves under stress.
  3. How to evaluate component failures that may contribute to fire and explosion
  4. A better understanding of how to identify electrical arcing
  5. How anomalous material behavior can lead to incorrect conclusions about the conditions during a fire

Corrosion and Failure Analysis

posted August 2018

The NACE International (National Association of Corrosion Engineers) Central Conference in Omaha is just wrapping up.  MEE staff engineers Ryan Haase and Neal Hanke have been taking turns attending technical presentations and talking to colleagues at the MEE booth in the exhibit hall.

This year’s conference location in Omaha, just a few hours drive from our Minneapolis location, was a good opportunity for us to discuss local corrosion issues and how MEE can assist in addressing these issues. One of the key benefits of partnering with MEE is our fundamental understanding of materials behavior, including mechanical and corrosion failure mechanisms.

Neal Hanke, P.E. , Materials Evaluation and Engineering

Corrosion Conference

posted July 2018

MEE engineers, Ryan Haase and Neal Hanke, will be attending the NACE International (National Association of Corrosion Engineers) Central Conference in Omaha on August 6-8. The technical program will include presentations on failure analysis and MIC, Microbiological Influenced Corrosion.  The MEE staff specializes in root-cause failure analysis. Our experience encompasses many types of material behavior and modes of failure including mechanical and corrosion mechanisms.

MEE will have a booth in the exhibit hall. Look for the booth with the cool microscope images of corrosion and MIC.

Profile of pitted area of a pipe wall.



MEE Expansion Project

posted July 2018

This summer we will be starting work on the latest expansion of our laboratory and office space. The design includes a much needed expansion of the metallographic lab, project inspection area and administrative space.

We have designed the new inspection are for easier access between the inspection room, SEM (scanning electron microscope) lab, light microscopy lab, shop and conference room. The expanded metallographic lab will provide a more efficient work space for multiple technicians working at the same time.

“Before picture” of new space.

MEE is expanding into the suite next door.


Last Thursday we hosted thirty high school students at MEE  as part of a week-long Materials Science Camp sponsored by the MN Chapter of ASM International.  Under the direction of  industry and academic based “Materials Mentors”, students learned about the process of running a failure analysis investigation. MEE provided a space for the students to get hands on experience with sample preparation, Rockwell hardness testing, light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy.



Three of our staff, Larry Hanke, Kurt Schenk and Neal Hanke, were  camp mentors. This was MEE’s twelfth year sponsoring the camp.

To allow more consistent metallographic section preparation of very small targets, MEE has added a Leica EM/TXP to our selection of sectioning tools. The Leica EM/TXP is specifically designed for more precise and efficient targeting of points of interest in very small specimens. A combination mill/grinder/polisher and stereomicroscope, the Leica EM/TXP, allows the technician to observe the sample during preparation improving accuracy in locating microscopic targets.

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