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Materials, Product and Equipment Failures

The information and data gathered through a Failure Analysis investigation is used in Forensic Engineering, which applies principles of engineering and science, to provide an independent engineering opinion on the cause, or causes, of the failure of products, components, and materials. Following gathering background information and the evidence, Failure Analysis is conducted by systematically examining, testing the evidence, followed by a thorough analysis of the gathered data to provide the opinion on the specific failure.

Visual examination along with low and high magnification microscopy are the first steps employed in the process of gathering relevant data to help determine the cause, or causes, of a specific failure. We are looking for evidence of abuse, improper installation, and more important, to the appearance of the fracture surface. Although unique for each case, each fracture surface exhibits typical features that can help identify the failure mode (i.e., overload, fatigue, corrosion).

Often times there is a need to conduct further destructive examination to collect relevant samples for further examination and testing, either when the failed component is too large for the instrumentation used, or an area/section of interest of the evidence is hidden from view in the as-received condition.

In cases of metallic components failures, often times there is a need to look further inside and this is accomplished by conducting metallurgical evaluation of microstructures, mechanical testing, and chemical analysis, and compare those with the manufacturer’s specifications.

In cases of non-metallic materials (i.e., polymers) the Failure Analysis starts as well by visual and microscopic examination however, further examination would require different analytical techniques than the ones used for metallic materials to determine whether they were contaminated, oxidized, environmentally degraded, or if they failed by other mechanism.

One of the leading firms in the field of Forensic Engineering, Origin and Cause has experts that have the knowledge and a combined experience of more than 50 years in Failure Analysis to determine the root causes of various failures. Our opinions provided throughout the years to our clients helped them to make a decision on further course of action in their subrogation, litigation, and/or mediation actions.. No component is too large, or too small, for us to investigate it and to determine its failure mode and cause.

No matter how complex the investigation is, we are always ready to assist. We discuss with our clients the best and the most cost effective course of action for the investigation, we inform them throughout the course of the investigation, and we are always available to discuss our findings, answer your questions and/or their concerns.

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