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4. Under low-power magnification, look at the pieces, fracture faces, and other surfaces; develop a logic tree that lists every symptom of the failure; and determine the possible causes of the symptoms and the failure scenarios. 5. Conduct more detailed analysis on the critical pieces. This may involve metallography, nondestructive testing, chemical analysis, residual stress analysis, or a variety of other inspection tools used to determine the state of the pieces. 6. From these, determine the physical failure mechanisms and how the failure happened.

No The part failed from ductile overload and the force that caused the failure was applied as the part deformed. The part failed from either brittle overload or fatigue. Is the fracture face surface essentially uniform in smoothness? No Yes The part failed as a result of a brittle overload and the load was being applied as the part broke. The part failed from fatigue loading. The load that initiated the failure may have been applied millions of cycles before the fracture occurred. ) An OVERLOAD failure almost always occurs immediately as the load is applied.

Yet, after a couple of days of detailed analysis and long conference calls with the manufacturer and the plant, we found the plant had ignored the poor performance in a previous installation, had a local shop repeatedly repair the machine in a manner the vendor didn’t agree with, had installed the machine incorrectly, had tried to use the machine for an application it wasn’t designed for, and the vendor had recommended a much larger machine for the application. The study found a total of 276 major human errors and hundreds of minor contributory causes.

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