Alexander Hudgins
Alexander W. Hudgins, Ph.D., P.E.
Senior Managing Engineer
Materials & Corrosion Engineering
  • Menlo Park

Dr. Hudgins specializes in failure analysis, metallurgy, materials science, corrosion, and fracture mechanics. Dr. Hudgins has experience in the automotive, medical device, energy, consumer product, and electronics industries. He has extensive processing, microstructural development, and property development expertise utilizing optical microcopy, scanning electron microscopy, x-ray diffraction, microhardness, nanoindentation, analytical modeling, and novel mechanical testing techniques.

While at Exponent, Dr. Hudgins has investigated numerous failures on components large and small, from heat treatment issues on large steel castings to defects in small medical devices. In addition to failure analysis investigations, Dr. Hudgins has helped clients develop and implement methods to avoid failures in different applications and industries. While versed in a variety of topics, Dr. Hudgins has significant experience in the oil and gas industries, helping clients understand their metallurgical challenges.

Prior to joining Exponent, Dr. Hudgins conducted his Ph.D. dissertation work at Colorado School of Mines where he studied advanced high strength sheet steel formability for automotive applications. Specifically, unanticipated fractures in the high strength, multiphase materials were investigated using a high rate bending under tension test frame which simulated stamping operations in industry. Structure-property relationships of dual phase (DP), transformation induced plasticity (TRIP), and high strength, low alloy (HSLA) steels were evaluated using laboratory heat treatments to carefully control microstructural variables such as grain size, phase volume fraction, and phase strength levels.

In addition to bulk metals, Dr. Hudgins also has experience with electrolytic reduction of titanium dioxide, as well as thin film evaporation and lift-off techniques. As a teaching assistant in both mechanics of materials classes and forging and forming classes, he has interacted with students in the laboratory as well as the classroom.

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, 2010
  • B.S., Materials Science and Engineering, Lehigh University, 2005
  • President and Member, Alpha Sigma Mu Pennsylvania Epsilon Chapter, The International Professional Honor Society for Materials Science and Engineering, 2004–2005

    Recipient, Allen S. Quier Prize, Lehigh University Materials Science and Engineering Department, 2005

    Member, Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Society, 2003–2005

LICENSES & CERTIFICATIONS

Licensed Professional Engineer, California, #1972

Publications

Hudgins AW, Matlock DK. The effects of property differences in multiphase sheet steels on local formability. Materials Science & Engineering A 2016; 654:169–176.

James B, Hudgins A. Failure analysis of oil and gas transmission lines. Handbook of Materials Failure Analysis with Case Studies from the Oil and Gas Industry, Elsevier, 2015.

Hudgins AW, James B. Fatigue of threaded fasteners. Advanced Materials & Processes, ASM International 2014 Aug; 172(8):18–22.

Hudgins AW. Shear failures in bending of advanced high strength steels. Ph.D. dissertation, Colorado School of Mines, 2010.

Hudgins AW, Matlock DK, Speer JG, Van Tyne CJ. Predicting instability at die radii in advanced high strength steels. J Mater Process Technol 2010; 210(5):741–750.

Hudgins AW, Matlock DK, Speer JG, Van Tyne CJ. Predicting instability at die radii in advanced high strength steels. J Mater Process Technol 2010; 210(5):741–750.

Hudgins AW, Matlock DK, Speer JG. Shear failures in bending of advanced high strength steels. Proceedings, International Deep Drawing Research Group Conference, pp. 53–64, Golden, CO, 2009.

Hudgins AW, Matlock DK, Speer JG, Fekete JR, Walp MS. The susceptibility to shear fracture in bending of advanced high strength sheet steels. Proceedings, MS&T Conference, pp. 145–157, Detroit, MI, 2007.

Bykowski M, Hudgins AW, Deacon R, Marder A. Failure analysis of the Space Shuttle Columbia RCC leading edge. J Fail Anal Prev 2006; 6(1):pp. 39–45.

Presentations and Professional Classes


Hudgins A. Pipelines 201: Pipeline basics, common failure mechanisms, integrity management, MAOP establishment, and asset management. EUCI Class Instructor, Houston, TX, March 2016.

Hudgins A. Medical device design and failure analysis, ASM International Class Instructor, Santa Clara CA, August 2016.

Hudgins AW, Matlock DK, Speer JG. International Deep Drawing Research Group, Golden CO, June 1–3, 2009.

Hudgins AW, Matlock DK, Van Tyne CJ. North American Deep Drawing Research Group, Cleveland, OH, November 19, 2008.

Hudgins AW, Matlock DK, Speer JG, Fekete JR, Walp MS. Materials Science and Technology, Detroit, MI, September 16–20, 2007.


Professional Affiliations

ASM International, American Society of Metals, (member)

TMS, The Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society, (member)

Project Experience

Infrastructure and Transportation

Investigated welding defects found on newly installed infrastructure (suspended walkway) in light of current industry welding standards. Investigated welds on in-service and failed equipment with respect to standards.

Determined the cause of a rail axle failure that resulted in derailment. A combination of corrosion, fatigue, and inadequate care was found to be the cause.

Examined cracks in automotive stabilization bars.

Medical Devices 

Performed failure analysis investigations on multiple orthopedic implants including hips prostheses and pedicle screws. 

Performed failure analysis investigations of cardiovascular implants (stents), including devices that experienced wear, corrosion, and fretting. 

Performed failure analysis investigations and testing on multiple medical tools and instruments such as torque wrenches, catheters, cautery tools, shears, etc. Worked with clients on approvals and regulatory compliance issues related to the devices and their testing. 

Oil and Gas 

Performed numerous pipeline failure analysis investigations. Investigated in-service failures and leaks resulting from environmental degradation and manufacturing defects, as well as third party damage. Examined pipelines that had failed during hydrotests and determined the cause of failure, which included long seam defects and mechanical damage. 

Performed burst testing of natural gas pipeline segments to determine joint efficiency factors. 

Investigated metallurgical issues in novel blowout preventer designs including the response of alloy steel to high strain rate deformation. 

Examined the cause of metallurgical defects found in large scale gearing on off shore drilling platforms. 

Data and Asset Management 

Experience with MAOP validation for natural gas piping systems, including detailed review of historical records (strength test pressure reports, as-built drawings, etc.), addressing unknown values or incomplete information, and reporting results. 

Experience with Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and related data. 

Performed health/condition assessments for a natural gas operator, specifically with respect to the corrosion control program and affected assets. Procedures and standards, as well as assets were investigated to determine compliance with code requirements and industry best practices. 

Consumer Goods and Industrial Equipment 

Failure analysis of recreational toys and equipment including bicycles and bicycle components. 

Examined metallurgical issues related to wearable consumer devices. 

Investigated failures in manufacturing equipment such as fasteners and other specialty tooling used in manufacturing operations. 

Reviewed product testing results of sheet steel used in kitchen appliances. The investigation was focused on metal formability issues. 


Knowledge

News & Events

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, 2010
  • B.S., Materials Science and Engineering, Lehigh University, 2005
  • President and Member, Alpha Sigma Mu Pennsylvania Epsilon Chapter, The International Professional Honor Society for Materials Science and Engineering, 2004–2005

    Recipient, Allen S. Quier Prize, Lehigh University Materials Science and Engineering Department, 2005

    Member, Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Society, 2003–2005

LICENSES & CERTIFICATIONS

Licensed Professional Engineer, California, #1972