Fracture Analysis and Prevention

For design, manufacturing and materials engineers. Attorneys who deal with experts who perform failure analysis of structural components and structures might find this useful too. The goals are for attendees to 1) take away a basic working knowledge of how to determine the loading geometry that actually creates the service failures, which is often different from what you thought it was, and 2) learn how to specify a fracture analysis that will provide information that can be used to improve component designs and your design process itself. The power of visual examination will be emphasized, and the importance of follow up with other appropriate test methods will also be described. Bring your broken parts!


  1. Overview of how fracture analysis can be used in a design cycle for failure prevention
  2. Learn the basics of macrofractography. This is a much more powerful tool than commonly appreciated, when properly applied. The techniques described here will overcome some of the limitations usually encountered when evaluating dirty, damaged fractures and brittle materials.
    1. Recognizing basic 3D fracture surface shapes in tension, bending and torsion
      1. Basic Simplified Loading Geometries
      2. Ductile material fracture shapes
      3. Brittle material fracture shapes
      4. The fracture surface does not lie
    2. Nominal 2D fracture features
    3. Witness Marks
    4. These techniques work for metals and plastics! (Little Material Sensitivity)
    5. Attendee part discussion (save those cracked parts- in a protected way...)
  3. How to specify a fracture analysis
    1. Defining Objectives of Investigation
    2. Macrofractography- FINDING the initiation site(s)
    3. Microfractography
      1. How and when cracks initiate-
        1. local strength and local stress
        2. Shear and tension
      2. How and when cracks grow
        1. The importance of deformation and deformation characteristics
        2. Understanding interactions of microstructure with crack path
        3. Cleavage, Shear, Microvoid Coalescence, Intergranular
      3. Damage mechanisms, environmental effects (The Wheel of Failure)
    4. Hardness- Macro and Micro
    5. Optical Metallography
    6. Composition Analysis Techniques
      1. Bulk
      2. Micro
        1. Surface
        2. Microphase identification
  4. Lab Demos
    1. Macrofractography
    2. Optical metallography
    3. Hardness
    4. Microhardness

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