SSam2™ Surface Sampling Systems

Clients often need to determine whether a piece of equipment can continue to be safely operated. To perform these analyses, it is often necessary to know the mechanical material properties of the equipment. These properties are often unknown to the equipment owner. In some cases the original material specifications are lost, and in other cases the material properties may have changed over time. Consequently it is often necessary to measure the properties. Traditional material characterization techniques require removal of large samples of material, which can only be removed from easily-accessible locations. These techniques can result in destruction of the component to be evaluated or they will provide properties away from the region of interest.

To address this challenge, Exponent has developed a technology that allows for the removal of small samples of material from both remote and easily-accessible locations. Exponent’s patented SSam technology removes small slices of material using a cylindrical machine that has a diameter of approximately 2.75 inches and is 16 inches long. Samples are removed using a water-cooled, hemispherically-shaped cutter, rotating at 10,000 rpm, mounted at one end of the machine. The cutter “scoops” through the material to remove the samples, which are approximately 1 inch diameter and 0.1 inches thick. The resulting depression in the component is smooth and typically requires no post-sampling repair.

Figure 1. SSam Sampler

Figure 2. Cutting Action of SSam Sampler

The removed samples can be analyzed for chemistry, material microstructure, and can be further processed for determination of mechanical properties (e.g., fracture toughness, KIC, and stress strain behavior) using a small punch technique. The resulting properties can be incorporated into a condition assessment analysis to assist clients determine the conditions under which the component can continue to be used. 

Figure 3. Sample Removed with SSam Sampler