Dr Dan O'Neill

Senior Engineer

Professional Background

Over 20 years' experience in the field of failure analysis and assessment of material degradation, particularly those operating at high temperature and pressure (oxidation, creep and microstructural degradation). Condition/life assessment of components using in-situ testing such as surface replication and oxide thickness testing. Remaining life assessment for components exposed to creep conditions and accelerated creep-rupture testing.

Areas of Expertise

  • Undertaking root cause failure analysis of components for a wide range of clients, including power generation, oil and gas, minerals processing and manufacturing industries.
  • Developing and undertaking thorough investigative programs and providing detailed consulting reports.
  • Managing a material creep testing facility.
  • Collaboration with multidisciplinary teams to deliver complex investigations involving FEA and material modelling, traditional and advanced NDT, and materials testing/assessment (mechanical testing, chemical analysis, SEM, XRD).
  • Remaining life assessment and integrity examinations of critical plant components.
  • Metallurgical support during plant outages including management and analysis of NDT activities.
  • Development of strategies to avoid future failures or reduced life expectancy of plant components.

Relevant Project Experience

  • Development of a procedure and undertaking of field hardness testing of Grade 91 pipework in a HRSG during commissioning. Identification of welds that were not appropriately postweld heat-treated and development of a plan to replace or reheat-treat and confirm acceptable condition. 
  • Detailed failure investigation of refractory anchors in a cement plant and development of an in-situ testing program to assess the performance of a novel coating technology to improve the life of the anchors.
  • Condition assessment of piping, tubing, headers and welds constructed of various materials (low alloy, Grade 91, stainless steel) using NDT, field hardness testing and surface replication. Recommendations provided for future inspection requirements and identification of components experiencing degradation more advanced than expected.
  • Development of an Excel spreadsheet that predicted the current creep life consumption of key components and allowed prediction of future life consumption as a function of proposed annual plant capacity factors.
  • Development and completion of a creep-rupture testing program to determine the life of a dissimilar metal weld joint from a turbine valve repair.


  • Bachelor of Metallurgical Engineering (Physical Metallurgy), The University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia, 1996
  • Ph.D. High temperature oxidation, UNSW, Australia, 2002.

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Senior Weld Australia Replica Assessor
  • NATA Signatory for various activities (hardness testing, replication, failure analysis and life assessment)
  • Professionals Australia.


"For certain alleged foreign matter complaints in our products we need not only the analytical services provided by the lab there at HRL, but particularly the expert opinion of scientists such as Greg Richards to give an independent opinion on the ...

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Heat Transfer in Welding / Advanced Manufacturing Processes

Posted by Dr Ninh Nguyen on 19 October 2021
Heat Transfer in Welding / Advanced Manufacturing Processes
ABAQUS FEA simulated temperature contour exampl...
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