Materials Testing , Failure Analysis and Oil/Fuel Filter Characterization of Aerospace Materials

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.  Matergenics consists of a diverse group of professionals with a combined skillset that has many layers of expertise in failure analysis, corrosion engineering and materials testing for commercial airlines. If there is a type of testing that isn’t listed, or a materials-related problem that you are experiencing, please let us  know. We would be pleased to sit down with you and provide an approach for evaluation and recommendations.

Testimonials: American Airlines 

“Matergenics is a new name in the world of materials science and corrosion engineering but it also has a famous owner Dr. Mehrooz Zamanzadah or Dr. Zee. He has provided technical support and development to the aerospace industry for many years. My association with him has been through US Airways and American Airlines (the largest airline in the world).

Approximately 18 years ago Dr. Zee’s team won the approval from various engine manufacturers to establish an engine chip and oil filter analysis program that reduced engine in flight shut downs (IFSD) to zero and is being used today on the entire fleet at the New American Airlines.

His team over the years has provided failure analysis tech support that saved US Airways millions of dollars in warranty claim against OEM aircraft manufacturers.
His team was 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.

And 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

Our Services

  • Failure Analysis : Mode of Failure and Primary Cause

  • 7 day 24 hours response to our clients is mandatory

  • Laboratory Accelerated Testing and Corrosion Risk Assessment

  • Chip Analysis : 24 hour turn around

  • Certified Technicians for On-site Corrosion Risk Assessment, Inspection and Investigations

  • Fuel Contamination and Filter Plugin Studies 

  • You can cll us anytime during the day or night for emergency cases: 412-952-9441

As examples, 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: Bernie and Dr. Zee initiated and 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

Main Landing Gear Actuator Beam Arm landing gear light during takeoff pertaining to right main

Pilot of 737 300 experienced red warning

Upon landing a swing test was performed which resulted in separation of actuator beam arm and walking beam

95% of surface area absorbed by crack


Failure Mode was identified as Intergranular Stress Corrosion Cracking(IGSCC) due to lack of corrosion protection at borehole bushing interface

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



We also provide the following services for Commercial Airlines

1-Failure Analysis Fuselage and Engine Components

2-Materials Testing

3-Corrosion and Coating Investigation

4-Chip Analysis

5-Fuel Contamination and Condition Assessment of Jet Fuel Filters

6-Pant and Coating Accelerated Testing

7-SEM/EDS Analysis, FTIR, Accelerated Testing, Metallurgical Testing, Chemical Analysis by XRF, Full Modern Corrosion Laboratory

8-Training Seminar


Our team :

  • Edward Larkin, Technical Director & Failure Analyst (metals, concrete, PVC, etc.)
  • George Bayer, Ph.D., Coating Department Manager and Coatings Specialist
  • Martin Latona, Senior Materials Engineer and Corrosion Testing Specialist
  • Tara Wockenfuss, Soils Testing Lab Manage
  • Debra Riley, Technical Writer
  • Antonio DiNunno, Chemist
  • Alireza Rezaie, PhD, Project Manager
  • Aaron Ulmer, Technician
  • James Datesh, Senior Technologist
  • Peyman Taheri, PhD, PEng, Mechanical Engineering, Director of Engineering
  • Carolyn Tome, CPA
  • Reza Mirshams, PhD, Mechanical Metallurgy
  • Ben Kasraie, PhD, FEA Specialist
  • Joe Embra, Corrosion Technician
  • Stanley Hindes
  • Mike Seiler, Corrosion Technician
  • Bahri Azturk, PhD, Senior Metallurgist
  • Anil Chikkam
  • Alyson Char, GIS Specialist
  • 15 field technicians


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 behaviour  of aerospace and aircraft materials in given environment.

Jet Fuel Related Problems, Aircraft Filters, Chip Analysis  That we Can Analyze and Find Engineering Solutions

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

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.

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.

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. Some of the more common ones are: MicrobMonitor, Easicult Combi, Biobor JF, Hy-Lite Jet-A1 Fuel Test and Fuelstat resinae.

Interpreting Test Results


A low number of microbes were found but not enough to justify further maintenance at this time. Record the data and continue the aircraft in service. Test again at the next scheduled interval.


A significant number of microbes were found and maintenance action is recommended. A biocide must be applied to the fuel tanks to kill the microbes. After biocide treatment, the engine and APU fuel filters should be replaced (dead microbes will detach from the tank structure and be injected by the boost pump inlets.)


A large number of microbes are found in the tank. These microbes have most likely formed biomats and caused fuel system problems and structural corrosion. A fuel tank entry is required to manually remove the growth and inspect the fuel tanks for corrosion. At this time, you are also required to inspect and clean the FQIS probes and the scavenge systems. After cleaning the tanks, apply a biocide to kill the microbes.

Approved Biocide

Always use the recommended soak time. Maintenance dosages are no longer recommended. Do not count flight time as part of the soak time. When fuel temperature drops during flight, the microbials go into suspended animation and the biocide will no longer be effective.

To remove microbes from a small contaminated area, use a lint-free cloth with a solution of three parts isopropyl alcohol to one part water. Matergenics can provide you approve biocides to combat bacteria and microbiological induced corrosion (MIC)

Client Involvement: No evaluation can be complete without input from the project  owner or maintenance personnel. These individuals live with the project on a daily basis and typically have historical data related to building/project use, prior maintenance history, change in use of the facility, etc. In addition, a successful repair strategy can only be developed if the expectations of the client are clearly understood.

We Are Here to Help

We respond to all inquiries promptly by sending a technical proposal detailing scope of work and estimated costs.  Please call Dr. Zee at 412-952-9441 or Ed Larkin at 412-788-1263 for additional information, and how we may be able to assist you in the lab or at the project site.  Alternatively, you can send your request to  Call us today for a quote!


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