About Fractography

When metallic materials fracture, there are surface features created which indicate the mode in which it failed.  Fatigue, Decohesive Rupture (Creep), Ductile Rupture, and Cleavage all have their own unique morphological patterns. Some modes, like dimple rupture, can also show if the failure was in shear, tension, or torsion.

  • Approaches

    Very often the fracture surfaces have to be cleaned before analysis.  Cleaning will always begin with the least destructive of techniques.

    Fracture surface features are small enough to only be viewable with microscopy. 
    Care must be taken not to put two mating surfaces back together, as the features are so fine they can be damaged.
  • Sample Considerations

    Since fractography analysis is conducted with microscopy the sample must be the appropraite size for the microscopy technique with which it is being analyzed.

    Scanning Electron Microscopy analysis (SEM) requires that the sample is small enough to fit inside the chamber.  The sample must also be conductive.  

    If the sample is not conductive our scientists can prepare it for the SEM by sputter coating the sample wtih a thin conductive layer.

    Contact us to discuss your specific sample considerations and fractography needs. 

  • Experience

    We have experience analyzing failed O-Rings.  

    We've also provided analysis on plumbing materials.