Tyler Olson



Materials Science Engineer with 12 years of experience specializing in failure analysis with an emphasis in fasteners. Bachelors of Science in Materials Science and Engineering was received from the University of Minnesota. Teamed with major companies in industries including but not limited to heavy truck, military, automotive, boom trucks, cranes, construction, oil and gas, and aerospace. Extensive experience and knowledge of fastener requirements and testing, fracture modes and failure mechanisms, joint design, corrosion prevention methods and material selection. Provided the multitude of environments and loading conditions experienced by fasteners and joints made this experience transferrable to multiple industries requiring failure analysis. Contributing member of ASTM International.


Company: Northrop Grumman
Title: Senior Principal Material Science Engineer (June 2020 - Present)

  • Technical leader.

  • Subject matter expert.

  • Failure analysis.

  • Material characterization and identification.

Company: Northrop Grumman
Title: Principal Material Science Engineer (August 2018 - June 2020)

  • Subject matter expert.

  • Failure analysis.

  • Material characterization and identification.

Company: Fastenal Company
Title: Engineering Manager, Materials (August 2017 - August 2018, 1 yr 0 mo)

  • Established a new department to support the growing requests for materials engineering projects, e.g. failure analysis, material characterization, production problems. Manages department purchases and third-party test company relations. Provides departmental summary to leadership teams reporting on goals, costs, employee and equipment needs.

  • Team Leader. Provides work direction and mentorship to new and less experienced team members. Assists team members on how to work through high pressure issues, short timeline projects, and with challenging customers through open communication and diligent systematic analysis.

  • Customer Focused. Meets with customers technical leadership to discuss their needs and offer services. Provides estimates for customers on their requested analysis. Works with third party test companies, internal lab teams to schedule testing and assure timely project completion.

  • Innovative. Added fatigue testing under the company’s scope of accreditation; offers fatigue services and provides estimates for analysis. Identifies bottlenecks in production and testing and writes business proposals for new equipment including return on investment.

  • Standards Contributions. Participates heavily in ASTM which meets twice a year and requires continuous balloting and sub group conference calls and/or webinars throughout the year. This participation offers advanced notice to changes in industry specifications as well as a voice to (a) help make positive industry change and (b) avoid/prevent erroneous or detrimental industry change.

  • This position expands on the responsibilities listed below for the Applications Engineer position. Please refer to that list for more responsibilities.

Company: Fastenal Company
Title: Applications Engineer (May 2008 - August 2017, 9 yr 3 mo)

  • Defined and executed test plans and protocol to confirm/deny failure mechanisms. Some common tests were: tensile and ductility testing (i.e., tensile strength, yield strength, elongation, reduction of area), fatigue testing using a MTS 55 kip frame via stress-control, Charpy impact energy absorption, macro and micro hardness (ASTM E18 and E384), torque-tension, stress durability, metallography, fractography.

  • Conducted fractography and metallography using stereomicroscopes, metallographic microscopes, and scanning electron microscopes (SEM). Identified origins of cracking and observed failure modes across a fracture surface. Characterized the microstructure and looked for features that could have contributed to cause of failure such as: fracture origins, microstructure, voids, inclusions (ASTM E45), initiated cracks, grain flow (SAE USCAR 8), carb & decarb (ASTM F2328).

  • Conducted failure analysis to support resolution of field failures. Mechanical testing, fractography, metallography, and application specific details were collected to determine what went wrong, why, and how to fix it. This was by far the most interesting aspects of my role as an Application Engineer. Failure analysis reports aided internal sales force, quality departments, legal departments, customers technical teams, manufacturing teams, etc.

  • Problem solving production processing issues. Teamed with manufacturing and heat treat personal in order to, e.g., reduce the risk of quench cracking in alloy steels, minimize the likelihood of nickel-based alloys from forge cracking, and help understand mechanical and flow limitations of alloy compositions.

  • Consulted for material selection. Assisted teams in choosing the right material and strength condition for the constraints of the application. E.g., combated: H₂S environments (NACE MR0175/ISO 15156), high temp oxidation, wet corrosion, fatigue, overload, thermal fluctuation.

  • Knowledgeable on many insidious categories of corrosion and typical prevention methods.

  • Expert in joint design. Recommended design changes to improve quality and reliability. Was most influential working with design engineers on complex variables applied to fastened joints.

  • Assisted customers with print reviews and recommendations on how to properly callout for different attributes on their print.

  • Developed calculators/programs to improve engineering throughput. These programs quickly allowed a user to select a few variables and output a comprehensive document tailored to a specific fastener and joint condition.

  • Defend authored reports in the case of legal dispute. Experienced with deposition and with witness testing. Traveled onsite to the location of incidents and have worked with Fastenal’s insurer and consulted with their experts on failures.

  • Interpreted technical papers written by third party test facilities or customers. Failure conducted by non-fastener experts sometimes leave out what appear to be trivial bits of information that are actually quite critical in determining correct failure mechanism. I offer additional insight, guidance and suggested testing if the situation calls for it.

  • Provided high-level fastener and joint technical concepts training.

  • Acted as a leader within the Application Engineering team providing work direction and guidance. As the most senior Applications Engineer with Fastenal, I knew the issues my peers were experiencing. Therefore when teammates encountered challenges I was always willing to leverage my experience and knowledge to assist them in both navigating the corporate structure and working with customers on projects.

  • Contributing author to the development of ASTM International specifications. Attended ASTM meetings twice a year and worked with task groups throughout the year to resolve specifications that were confusing, lacking, dated, etc.

  • Offered cost reduction ideas by assisting customers in finding the lowest cost alternative fasteners or materials that still meet design criteria.

  • My teammates and I assisted each other in times of heavy workloads. Candidness with teammates, analyzing together current projects and time constraints, engages us to team for timely project completion.

Key Achievements:

  • Researched and wrote a proposal to purchase fatigue test equipment that initially cost $250,000 yet saved the company >$1 million from third party testing fees.
  • Researched key fastener characteristics that contributed to improved fatigue life in fasteners which lead to a greater ability to resolve fatigue failures with customers application.
  • Worked with IT to write a web-based program that offered comprehensive technical information at the fingertips of users which greatly reduced the lead time of information, freed up engineering time and further established Fastenal as a leader in the industry for fastener knowledge.


Bachelor of Science in Materials Science and Engineering was received in May 2008 from the Institute of Technology at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, an ABET accredited program.



Olson, Tyler. "Nylon Insert Lock Nuts - Nylon Pushing Out or Fracturing." Fastenal.com. Fastenal Company, Feb. 2018.
Comments: This article discusses water loss effects on nylon and the results of this occurring in nylon insert lock nuts.

Olson, Tyler. "Fastener Fatigue." Fastenal.com. Fastenal Company, Oct. 2017.
Comments: An article covering fatigue in fasteners, the appearance of fatigue, how fatigue loading occurs in fastened joints, and ways to prevent fastener fatigue from occuring.

Olson, Tyler. "Preload Influences on Fastener Fatigue Life." Fastener Technology International Aug/Sept 2015: 36-37
Comments: An article showing how achieving and maintaining a high joint clamp load will reduce the cyclical load amplitude on a fastener and thereby increase fatigue life.

  • ASTM A01, Steel, Stainless Steel and Related Alloys
  • ASTM B08, Metallic and Inorganic Coatings
  • ASTM F16, Fasteners
  • ASM International, member since 2008
  • NACE International, member since 2010


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July 6, 2020