Failure Analysis

posted January 2018

“The greatest teacher, failure is.”

Wind Generator Blade Failure

This line from the latest Star Wars movie caught our ear. Any product failure can have serious consequences – from financial loss and/or personal safety perspectives. The expertise of the MEE engineering and technical staff encompasses a fundamental understanding of material behavior and a broad range of experience with different materials and types of failure. Paired with our technical expertise in failure analysis is an understanding that there is often an underlying root cause of failure that may be of greater importance to mitigating or preventing similar failures or improving a product’s future performance.

There is a lot to be learned from failure. MEE is your partner in the determination of the cause of a failure to minimize future risk.

Filed under: failure analysis,

Nanostructures Imaging

posted January 2018

These images are of a selective area of AlGaN (aluminum gallium nitride) nanostructures on graphene. Images were captured using the Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope, FESEM, at MEE in support of a project partnership between CrayoNano AS of Norway and Agnitron Technology of Eden Prairie, MN USA.

AlGaN Nanostructure

AlGaN Nanostructure

AlGaN Nanostructure

The FESEM is an advanced microscope offering increased magnification and the ability to observe very fine features at a lower voltage than the SEM found in most laboratories.  Just as important as having the right tools for the job is having an experienced operator who can use the microscope to reveal the best images. Kudos to Kurt Schenk, MEE Laboratory Manager, for his work on this fascinating project.

Medical Device and Manufacturing

posted October 2017
MEE CEO, Larry Hanke, at previous MD&M event

MEE CEO, Larry Hanke, at previous MD&M event


Medical device development calls for innovation, precision and critical thinking – MEE matches your requirements with advanced materials characterization, analytical methods and experienced and informed materials strategies.

Look for us in the exhibit hall of the upcoming MD&M event November 8-9 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.  Materials Evaluation and Engineering staff will be there to meet and greet and answer any questions you might have about our services.

We will be at Booth #1304 (first booth if you enter through the central doors of the exhibit hall.)

New Engineer Added to MEE Staff

posted August 2017

Jason Larson (2)


Welcome Jason Larson.

Jason, who joined the MEE staff as a Senior Engineer, brings with him 10+ years of experience in failure analysis laboratories, supporting the electronics and medical device industries. His degree in computer engineering combined with project experience analyzing failure modes in microelectronic components expands on MEE’s capabilities and range of engineering expertise.



Filed under: About MEE,

Materials Science Camp 2017

posted June 2017

Last Friday we had 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 education based “Materials Mentors”, students got some real world experience solving a materials failure analysis project. Three of our staff, Larry Hanke, Kurt Schenk and Neal Hanke, and our summer intern, Atte were  camp mentors. This was MEE’s eleventh year sponsoring the camp.

IMG_0036 IMG_0071


Larry Hanke just returned from a visit to the Ottawa Chapter of ASM International. As a member of the ASM Board of Trustees, Larry has been invited to visit many local chapters. These visits are an important way to keep local chapters updated on what is going on in the organization at the national level and for the Board to hear about issues and concerns of the local chapters.  He enjoyed meeting the Ottawa chapter members and hearing about their involvement in Teacher Materials Camp.

ASM Ottawa chapter visit

Nasseh Khodaie and Larry Hanke

Larry presented at the meeting a talk on Forensic Materials Engineering For Product-Reliability Litigation.  In addition, Chapter Chair, Nasseh Khodaie, arranged for Larry to take a tour of the National Research Council (NRC), the Government of Canada’s premier research organization.

Filed under: ASM, forensic engineering,

Welcome to our summer intern, Atte Kadoma. Atte just completed her freshman year at Iowa State University where she is working towards a degree in Materials Engineering. We first met Atte in 2014 when she attended ASM-MN Materials Camp as a high school student.  MEE is a corporate  sponsor of Materials Camp and the students spend a day here getting hands-on experience in a materials testing laboratory.  We even found a photo in the Materials Camp photo archives of Atte at the Rockwell hardness tester!

Atte has long been interested in pursuing an engineering degree but said her experience at Materials Camp definitely influenced her decision to choose materials science engineering as her major. She has expressed a particular interest in failure analysis.

We were very pleased to be able to offer Atte an internship this summer and look forward to working with her.


Rockwell hardness tester at 2014 ASM-MN Materials Camp


Filed under: About MEE,


Senior Materials Engineer, Dan Grice, will be speaking at the Minnesota Microscopy Society Spring Symposium this Friday, May 5th on microbiologically-influenced corrosion.

Although one of the least-known and least-understood corrosion mechanisms, microbiologically-influenced corrosion (MIC) is among the most damaging in terms of total cost to society. Recent estimates indicate that the annual cost of corrosion in the United States is around $300 billion, and as much as 20% of that cost can by attributed to MIC. For the most part, microorganisms do not actually consume the metal, but rather create an environment that fosters the corrosion processes. Microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, and microalgae, can accelerate the rates of corrosion processes or change the dominant corrosion mechanism through their presence and metabolic processes. MIC has been reported for almost all significant metal alloy systems and in applications including seawater, potable water, hydrocarbon fuels, food processing and sewage. This presentation will cover the mechanism for MIC, some of the significant organisms, methods for diagnosing the problem, and some of the mitigation techniques

Filed under: About MEE,

MEE CEO and Principal Engineer, Larry Hanke, will be the keynote speaker at the UK Association of Fire Investigators summer training conference in London, England on July 3, 2017.

Larry and MEE engineer, Neal Hanke, recently presented a similar session at the 2017 International Association of Arson Investigators training conference in Las Vegas.

The following key concepts were covered in their presentation:

  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

Larry  has  assisted with the investigation of hundreds of fires and explosions during his 40 year career as a Metallurgical Engineer.  In 1995 he founded Materials Evaluation and Engineering, Inc.  which has become one of the leading material testing and failure analysis laboratory in the Upper Midwest.

Neal  has been conducting materials evaluation investigations and testing with MEE. since 2011. Recently, he has become involved in the research of materials characterization for arc mapping in structural and automotive fires.

Filed under: About MEE,

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