Southwest Research Institute

6220 Culebra Rd.
San Antonio,  TX  78238-5166

United States
  • Booth: 2201

SwRI’s Mechanical Engineering Division uses a multidisciplinary approach to solve problems for the offshore industry and offers a wide variety of R&D, design and testing services. Specialties include ocean engineering, tubular products, submersible systems, multiphase flow, flow assurance, and corrosion.

 Press Releases

  • SwRI opens new corrosion testing facility
    Facility focuses on NACE sulfide stress cracking tests

    SAN ANTONIO — May 6, 2019 — In early April, Southwest Research Institute opened a new testing facility offering cost-efficient standard corrosion testing for oil and gas clients. The facility, located on the Institute’s San Antonio campus, will be used primarily to test the sulfide stress cracking (SSC) resistance of carbon steel alloys for oil wells and offshore drilling applications.

    “Previously, our laboratory work has been predominantly fit-for-purpose testing,” said SwRI’s Dr. Elizabeth Trillo, one of the leaders of the project. “Those tests simulate an environment with specific solutions, temperatures and pressures to evaluate materials used in specific drilling environments and determine whether they can withstand those conditions. Every test is different, but our specialty is catering to the client’s end-use need.”

    The goal of the facility is to provide cost effective standardized testing as a part of SwRI’s comprehensive oil and gas sour corrosion testing portfolio.

    “Few industries operate under such harsh conditions,” Trillo said. “For this facility, we’ll mainly be looking at carbon steel materials used as casings in down-hole drilling applications with high hydrogen sulfide (H2S) levels.”
    In drilling, the casing is a large pipe inserted into the Earth to protect the equipment and support the well stream. It’s usually held in place with cement and endures massive amounts of pressure, high temperatures and corrosive liquids. To withstand this environment, durable, lasting materials are necessary.

    The National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE International) has developed particular tests and standards for materials used in the oil and gas industry. NACE standard test method TM0177 “Laboratory Testing of Metals for Resistance to Sulfide Stress Cracking and Stress Corrosion Cracking in H2S Environments” is widely used to qualify material performance in oilfield environments.

    “We’ve typically designed new test methods that give us flexibility and control over individual environmental parameters,” said James Dante, manager of SwRI’s Environmental Performance of Materials Section. “This new facility provides us with the ability to perform repetitive TMO177, NACE A testing in a cost effective and repeatable manner while providing our clients with same level of service they have experienced with more complex testing.”

    SwRI opened its new laboratory, which is dedicated to the NACE A standard test method in TM0177, in early April. The facility houses multiple test cells allowing triplicate samples to be run on different materials. The proof ring cell assemblies are all housed within a customized glove box with nitrogen flow to ensure oxygen levels stay below 10 parts per billion.

    “Previously, a sample would be grouped with several others and might fail early on in a 30-day test,” Senior Engineering Technologist Steve Clay said. “That could be challenging, because there was no way to initiate new tests without disturbing the other samples still under test. One of the benefits of this new facility is we’re able to test samples in isolated test cells giving us the ability to change samples without disturbing other samples still under test.”

    As a matter of standard practice, the team will provide photographs of any cracks that occur during testing and will also report online environmental testing conditions including temperature and oxygen content.

    For more information, visit
    About SwRI:
    SwRI is an independent, nonprofit, applied research and development organization based in San Antonio, Texas, with more than 2,600 employees and an annual research volume of more than $583 million. Southwest Research Institute and SwRI are registered marks in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. For more information, please visit

  • Presentations focus on testing, technology and the future

    Southwest Research Institute will give presentations detailing its wide range of testing and research capabilities at the 2019 Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston from May 6 to 9.

    OTC is an annual conference that allows energy industry professionals to exchange ideas and collaborate to advance scientific and technical knowledge for offshore resources and environmental matters. SwRI will be making presentations and offering a set of live technology demonstrations.

    “We’re excited to engage with people at OTC, which is one of the largest and most important gatherings in the industry,” said Eric Thompson, program manager of SwRI’s Marine Structures and Engineering Section. “We really want to show what makes the Institute so forward-thinking and wide-reaching in its capabilities.”

    SwRI’s live demonstrations include the latest generation of SwRI’s guided wave inspection system, the MsSR®v5, which uses ultrasonic guided waves to perform long-range inspection and structural health monitoring of industrial drilling structures more cost-effectively. Additionally, SwRI engineers will demonstrate how the Institute applies typical strain measuring devices in atypical situations, such as extreme pressures and temperatures.

    The Institute will offer a variety of presentations throughout the four-day conference. On Tuesday, May 7, SwRI staff will first discuss industry-wide capabilities with respect to hydrostatic pressure testing, focusing specifically on SwRI’s Ocean Simulation Laboratory, which is capable of evaluating equipment at the full range of ocean pressures. The second presentation of the day will address fire testing capabilities for Offshore Technologies. Next will be a presentation on multiphase flow loop performance testing. In the petroleum industry, a variety of measurement and processing equipment encounters multiphase flows, which can be difficult to predict and measure. SwRI engineers will elaborate on novel techniques used to evaluate the design and performance of oil and gas equipment. An overview of the Institute’s considerable automotive engineering research and testing resources will be followed by a presentation of the past, present and future of technologies that evaluate and qualify offshore risers, conduits that transport material from the seafloor to the platform.

    The next day, presentations include a discussion in Mandarin by research engineer Dr. Fang Pan about the impact time can have on structures in nearly every industry from deep sea to deep space  A presentation in Spanish and English will follow, covering the fabrication and precision machining capabilities of SwRI.  Additionally, Chris Storey, manager of the SwRI Ocean Simulation Laboratory, will outline more minutely the applications and capabilities of the laboratory. The day will close with presentations about improving accelerated testing protocols to better predict coating performance in challenging environments and the resilience of onshore oil storage tanks and new leak detection technology.

    On the final day of the conference, SwRI will reach out to the next generation of engineers with a presentation tailored to students.

    Visit Southwest Research Institute at OTC 2019 at 2201.

    For a full schedule of SwRI’s presentations and demonstrations, visit

    For more information, visit or contact Joanna Carver, (210) 522-2073, Communications Department, Southwest Research Institute, PO Drawer 28510, San Antonio, TX 78228-0510.

  • SwRI to design remotely operated rescue submarines for Royal Australian Navy
    Vessels will be designed for rapid rescue of sailors aboard disabled submarines

    For immediate release

    SAN ANTONIO — April 30, 2019 — Southwest Research Institute is designing and supporting the building of a state-of-the-art remotely operated rescue vehicle as part of a $7.7 million project for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The system will feature a shallow and a deep water vehicle designed to connect with disabled submarines (DISSUB) to allow for the rescue of people trapped on board. They will be among a handful of remotely operated air-transportable submarine rescue systems in the world.

    The first remotely operated submarine rescue vehicle was developed in the early 2000s, in the wake of the Kursk submarine accident, when a Russian nuclear submarine disabled by a sudden internal torpedo explosion sank in the Arctic Ocean. Difficulty locating the sub and inability to connect a rescue submersible to the escape hatch of the Kursk resulted in the death of more than 100 Russian sailors.

    The project is in support of the SEA1354 Phase 1 Submarine Escape, Rescue and Abandonment System and a collaboration with Phoenix International in addition to multiple subcontractors in Australia.

    Matt James, program manager in SwRI’s Marine and Offshore Systems section, will lead a team of engineers to design the hull for the remotely operated rescue vehicle (RORV) for deep water rescue, which has a capacity of 12 evacuees plus two crewmembers. SwRI is designing and fabricating uniquely dexterous transfer skirts for both the deep water RORV and the shallow water vehicle. Submarines contain a small compartment known as an escape trunk, to escape a DISSUB. The transfer skirt is a rotating apparatus on the rescue vehicle that attaches to the hatch of the escape trunk.

    “The deep water RORV will reach depths up to 600 meters,” James said. “The shallow water rescue vehicle will operate up to 80 meters. The U.S. Navy submarine rescue vehicle has a transfer skirt that can rotate 45 degrees, but the RAN vehicles will rotate up to 60 degrees, giving them increased flexibility.”

    A main concern in deep water rescues is decompression sickness, a potentially debilitating illness that can arise from depressurizing too quickly. If a person transitions too quickly between pressurized states, dissolved gases can come out of solution, forming bubbles that move throughout the body, causing joint pain, paralysis and even death.

    “The deep water RORV will be pressurized to match the pressure of the disabled submarine,” James said. “This allows for a rescued person to transfer to a decompression chamber when they reach the surface and avoid the risk of decompression sickness.”

    The rescue system will be transportable via aircraft and will launch from ships, mobilizing within hours of an incident. While they will primarily serve Australia’s navy, the system will also be capable of supporting other submarine operating nations by means of the NATO standard escape hatch.

    For more information, visit


    About SwRI:
    SwRI is an independent, nonprofit, applied research and development organization based in San Antonio, Texas, with more than 2,600 employees and an annual research volume of more than $583 million. Southwest Research Institute and SwRI are registered marks in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. For more information, please visit or


  • MsSR®v5 Guided Wave Inspection System
    We will host a live demo of our guided wave inspection system, the MsSRv5. This system uses ultrasonic guided waves to perform long-range inspection and structural health monitoring of many industrial structures, such as pipes, plates, cables, and tubes....

  • SwRI will have a live demonstration of the latest generation of our guided wave inspection system, the MsSRv5.  This 5th generation system uses ultrasonic guided waves to cost effectively perform long-range inspection and structural health monitoring of many industrial structures, such as pipes, plates, cables, and tubes.


    • Footprint only 1.1" wide for operation with minimal usage of shear-wave couplant. Can also be dry coupled.
    • No adaptor change needed in the most common frequency range of 16-90 kHz. (Directionality is the same in the entire range, but will reverse direction over the frequency range of 160-250 kHz.)
    • Extremely reliable hard shell design, quick mount/dismount, no Fe-Co strip conditioning needed.
    • Custom design for elevated temperatures of up to 500°C.
    • Can be customized for segmented operation (8-16 segments) and can be driven by other types of GWUT instruments.

    Visit the link below for more information.