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Failure_Analyses_Examples

Failure_Analyses_Examples - 1 Failure Analysis I...

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1 Failure Analysis I. INTRODUCTION Despite the great strides forward that have been made in technology, failures con- tinue to occur, often accompanied by great human and economic loss. This text is intended to provide an introduction to the subject of failure analysis. It cannot deal specifically with each and every failure that may be encountered, as new situations are continually arising, but the general methodologies involved in carrying out an analysis are illustrated by a number of case studies. Failure analysis can be an ab- sorbing subject to those involved in investigating the cause of an accident, but the capable investigator must have a thorough understanding of the mode of operation of the components of the system involved, as well as a knowledge of the possible failure modes, if a correct conclusion is to be reached. Since the investigator may be called upon to present and defend opinions before highly critical bodies, it is es- sential that opinions be based upon a sound factual basis and reflect a thorough grasp of the subject. A properly carried out investigation should lead to a rational scenario of the sequence of events involved in the failure as well as to an assign- ment of responsibility, either to the operator, the manufacturer, or the maintenance and inspection organization involved. A successful investigation may also result in improvements in design, manufacturing, and inspection procedures, improvements that preclude a recurrence of a particular type of failure. The analysis of mechanical and structural failures might initially seem to be a relatively recent area of investigation, but upon reflection, it is clear the topic has been an active one for millenia. Since prehistoric times, failures have often resulted in taking one step back and two steps forward, but often with severe consequences 1
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for the designers and builders. For example, according to the Code of Hammurabi, which was written in about 2250 BC (1): If a builder build a house for a man and do not make its construction firm, and the house which he has built collapse and cause the death of the owner of the house, that builder shall be put to death. If it cause the death of a son of the owner of the house, they shall put to death a son of that builder. If it destroy property, he shall restore what ever it destroyed, and because he did not make the house which he built firm and it collapsed, he shall rebuild the house which collapsed at his own expense. The failure of bridges, viaducts, cathedrals, and so on, resulted in better designs, better materials, and better construction procedures. Mechanical devices, such as wheels and axles, were improved through empirical insights gained through expe- rience, and these improvements often worked out quite well. For example, a recent program in India was directed at improving the design of wheels for bullock-drawn carts. However, after much study, it was found that improvements in the design over that which had evolved over a long period of time were not economically feasible.
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