Category Archives: Materials Characterization

ASM Board Appointment

posted June 2020

Larry Hanke, P.E. CEO, Materials Evaluation and Engineering, Inc


MEE’s CEO/Senior Engineer, Larry Hanke, was just appointed to the Board of the ASM International Metallographic Society (IMS).

The Metallographic Society is a professional organization serving those involved in the examination, analysis, characterization, structure and evaluation of materials.  Service on the IMS Board of Directors involves planning and driving the future strategy of the society.

Congratulations Larry!

Nitinol Seminar

posted March 2020
Kurt Schenk and Neal Hanke

Kurt Schenk and Neal Hanke, P.E.

Kurt Schenk and Neal Hanke attended a one day seminar about Nitinol and how its unique properties apply to medical devices and designs. The primary topics for the seminar included structure, processing, mechanical properties, corrosion behavior, and fatigue life of Nitinol. MEE has been helping medical device manufacturers to successfully use Nitinol in their products for almost 25 years. Even with years of experience, MEE staff continually seeks out educational opportunities to keep up with the latest research on this intriguing material.

Larry Hanke and Dan Grice will be presenting a talk on A Historical Perspective of Fracture Analysis at the February 19 ASM Symposium at Hennepin Technical College.  The theme of the symposium is “Materials Retrospect: 100 Years of Advancement” in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the MN chapter of ASM International. Other presentations at the event will cover topics such as advancements in the casting industry, metal additive manufacturing and breakthroughs in nitinol in medical device design.

Larry and Dan’s presention will review the history of fractography, including the historical development of the science, changes in the analytical tools, and some historical case histories.
The effective use of materials in various engineering applications requires an understanding of material properties, including conditions of material failure. Fracture is behavior that must be taken into account. The study of fractures over the years has had an important role in materials engineering to improve product performance and reliability.

Dan Grice, P.E. and Larry Hanke, P.E.

Materials Characterization Seminar

posted February 2018

Neal Hanke, P.E.

Dieter Scholz

Senior Scientist, Dieter Scholz and Materials Engineer, Neal Hanke will be speaking at the Minnesota chapter of ASM 2018 seminar in Brooklyn Park, MN on February 28. The Materials Characterization Seminar is an opportunity to learn about the most recent developments in advanced characterization techniques and their practical applications.

Dieter will be speaking on Broad Beam Ion Milling in Sample Preparation and Neal’s presentation is on the Determination of Nitinol Transformation Temperatures by the Bend and Free Recovery Method.

Graphitic Corrosion Case Study

posted January 2017

We were asked to determine the mechanism and possible causes of corrosion of a cast iron sanitary sewer pipe. Metallurgical testing and EDS analysis pointed to graphitic corrosion. With graphitic corrosion there is no reduction in the size or shape of the pipe but the strength of the material is severely reduced.

Cross section of vent pipe.

Cross section of vent pipe.

The Vent Pipe case study explains in more detail how this type of corrosion mechanism is identified, causes and our recommendations to the client.

All of the case studies on our website come from our files. They have been edited to present a more casual writing style than our formal reports, but generally they follow the structure of our reports and give an overview of the findings and conclusions from an investigation.

Technical Paper Published

posted December 2016

“Broad Beam Ion Milling for Microstructure Characterization,”  a technical paper authored by MEE staff Larry Hanke, Kurt Schenk and Dieter Scholz, was recently published in the online version of Materials Performance and Characterization.  An abstract of the article is available on the ASTM International digital library site.

Ion beam milling is a unique method of sample preparation that complements and significantly extends the capabilities of the traditional microscopy and metallographic laboratories. Our online Handbook of Analytical Methods for Materials (HAMM) offers basic explanations, typical applications and sample requirements for Ion Milling.

New Laboratory Service

posted June 2016

Materials Evaluation and Engineering, Inc. has added testing to ASTM standard  F2082 to its list of laboratory services. This test provides a rapid and economical method for the determination of transformation temperature for Nickel-Titanium shape memory alloy, also known as Nitinol.

Nitinol’s unique shape-memory and superelastic properties lends itself to a wide variety of uses in medical and industrial fields. Results from the test determining the temperature when phase change occurs provide data applicable to the ultimate use and performance of the material.

Contact us for more information.



Not all of our projects come to us in small packages. How do we get that 7′ long, 6″ diameter steel tube or the 4′ diameter industrial fan under a microscope?
Sample preparation often begins in our machine shop. The MEE shop is equipped with a variety of cut-off saws, a Bridgeport mill, plasma cutter, band saws, and other specialty tools necessary to cut out representative sections from large pieces for further preparation before a metallographic and/or microscopic examination.
Before any cutting is done, it is crucial to understand that proper sample preparation methods are necessary for accurate materials analysis. Care must be taken when cutting a sample from a larger piece to not contaminate or alter the area of interest.
If you have questions about sample preparation, preservation or handling, read MEE’s ten commandments of sample handling and preservation in our online Handbook of Analytical Methods for Materials.

Our hands-on expertise extends outside the microscopy lab.

Our hands-on expertise extends outside the microscopy lab.

Two types of modern scanning electron microscopes provide the range of sampling handling and resolution needed for evaluating most samples – the variable pressure SEM (VPSEM) and the high-resolution field emission SEM (FESEM). At  MEE, we offer SEM services with both types of microscopes to meet almost every challenge.

The VPSEM is a workhorse for routine work, but magnification is not adequate for observing the smallest features that we often need to see. With a much brighter electron source and smaller beam size, the FESEM increases the useful magnification range for observation and imaging up to 500,000X.

MEE is one of the few independent materials characterization labs in the Upper Midwest offering both variable pressure and field emission scanning electron microscopy.

These images provide  a comparison of VPSEM and FESEM operating under similar conditions on the same thin film sample.


Variable Pressure Scanning Electron Microscope 34000X


Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope 34000X