Our materials testing laboratories in Pittsburgh provide routine materials testing, chip analysis, filter plug characterization, coating evaluation, corrosion testing and failure analysis for aerospace/aircraft materials



We provide the following services for Commercial Airlines:

  • Failure Analysis Fuselage and Engine Components
  • Materials Testing
  • Corrosion and Coating Investigation
  • Chip Analysis
  • Fuel Contamination and Condition Assessment of Jet Fuel Filters
  • Pant and Coating Accelerated Testing
  • SEM/EDS Analysis, FTIR, Accelerated Testing, Metallurgical Testing, Chemical Analysis by XRF, Full Modern Corrosion Laboratory
  • Training Seminars


We offer a wide variety of services for aerospace materials to fit your needs. If you don’t see a service you require, ask us about it!

Jet Fuel Related Problems, Aircraft Filters, and Chip Analysis

Simply put, fuel starvation occurs when the available fuel is unable to reach the engines. Water, debris and microbes in aircraft fuel tanks clog fuel supply lines and filters and ultimately starve the engines of the necessary fuel.

The high-viscosity fuels have a greater ability to hold water and particulate matter in suspension and are more susceptible to fuel contamination than avgas. If left unmonitored, fuel contaminants can increase to a dangerous level and cause the engines to experience fuel starvation, resulting in power loss.

Common Fuel Contaminants

  1. Water— During flight, the temperature of the fuel in the tanks decreases and causes the water in the fuel to settle to the bottom and freeze. These ice crystals can block fuel inlet pipes.
  2. Surfactants— Surfactants are soap or detergent-like compounds introduced into the fuel from the refinery process, such as pipeline truck cross-contamination and fuel additives.
  3. Microbial Growth— When water is present in the fuel, there is an increased probability of microbial growth and corrosion in the fuel tank. The most commonly found microbial organism is Cladosporium resinae, better known as FUEL BUGS. Fuel bugs produce a sludge-like substance that causes corrosion and fouls critical parts of the fuel system. This sludge can be a number of different colors (brown, green, white, red, black) and will smell like sulfur.

If you suspect microbial fuel contamination, we have a number of fuel kits available to test for results.

Scanning Electron Microscope used for Chip Analysis and Jet Engine Fuel Filter Characterization and Plugging

The projects have brought chemical and engineering perspectives on characterization :

  • Jet fuel – contamination: Water soluble, bacteria..
  • Water contamination of jet fuel
  • Sumps in the in-wing fuel tanks
  • Microbes – generally, and specifically with respect to jet fuel systems and indoor air quality
  • Biofilms in jet fuel systems
  • Microbicides/biocides – proper use, and limitations
  • Fuel filters – laboratory analyses of new and used; design and construction
  • Filter Plugging: Primary Cause


combined skillset that has many layers of expertise in failure analysis, corrosion engineering and materials testing for commercial airlines

Corrosion Testing Of Aerospace Materials

Matergenics Performs Standard Corrosion Tests For Evaluation Of Aerospace Materials. Quality Control Tests Are Also Performed.

Specific attention is given to scientific and technical concepts behind accelerated corrosion tests and their relationship with real-world aerospace service environments. Acceleration factors are based on an accurate scientific description of the corrosion failure process. Several requirements must be addressed in the usefulness of accelerated testing in life expectancy determination. A primary requirement is that the corrosion failure mechanism(s) should be the same as those which occur under normal service conditions. Otherwise, the test lacks validity with regard to simulating the service environment. A second key requirement is that sufficient scientific understanding of the failure mechanism should be available so that the test data can be analyzed and interpreted in a physically meaningful way. We are well aware of shortcomings of the American Society for Testing and Materials’ ASTM B117-11 salt spray (fog) test as a predictor of the service lifetime of aerospace materials. We are one of the few laboratories that perform ASTM B845 mixed flowing gas environmental pollutant test to simulate the actual atmospheric exposure conditions of aerospace components.

Our electrochemical AC/DC testing along with ASTM G71-81 galvanic corrosion testing and ASTM G44-99(2005) alternate immersion testing will provide the client high confidence test procedures to estimate and determine the corrosion behavior of aerospace and aircraft materials in given environment.

“Team Matergenics over the years has provided failure analysis tech support that saved US Airways millions of dollars in warranty claim against OEM aircraft manufacturers.Dr. Zee and team were called upon by both the FAA and NTSB to provide analysis were quick and accurate answers were needed to solve aircraft equipment failure issues.

Dr. Zee’s has been a major technical contributor to the US Airways/American Airlines carbon filters for the air quality program, evaluation of fuel filter clog due to microbial influence, and corrosion due to MIC influence.

The Matergenics lab with all of its NACE approval and talented engineers and technicians has been the Corrosion Lab for The New American Airlines.”

Bernie Yonkovitz, Failure Analyst, American Airlines, 2018

Past Projects

Four specific projects done for Airlines are as follows:

  1. Investigation of the presence and detection of microbial populations and biofilms within jet aircraft fuel systems, including but not limited to thrust instability events (TIE) on 737NG aircraft. This project included testing for microbial populations, FTIR analysis of suspected biofilms, chemical identification of key components.
  2. Investigation of treatments for indoor/in-cabin air quality, including those involving bipolar ionization and free radical generation. This project focused on suppliers’ claims; technical and marketing literature; the chemistries of related processes on the aircraft, including thermal degradation of likely contaminants in bleed air.
  3. Chip analysis: Dr. Zee established the program for US Airways and American Airlines
  4. Failure Analysis : Bearing Failures, Main Landing Gear, Oil Supply Line Failure, Oil and Fuel Filter Contamination

Protecting your Infrastructure

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