When a part or component fractures, the fracture process leaves behind characteristic topographical features on the fracture surfaces that when studied can provide critical information regarding the events that resulted in the fracture event. Fractography is the art or science of examining the fracture surface to interpret and understand these characteristic features.
Fractography can be used to determine:
- Fracture origin
- Failure mechanism or mode (ductile, brittle, shear, fatigue)
- Direction of crack propagation
- Nature of the applied stresses (bending, torsion, tension)
- Environmental interactions
- Material imperfections
Caulfield Engineering has over 40 years of experience in fractography and is recognized as a leader in the field. The engineers and scientists at Caulfield Engineering utilize sophisticated equipment, such as stereo and scanning electron microscopy (SEM), to examine the fracture surface and interpret these characteristic topographical features. Fractography has been used to determine if a part fractured before or during an event, to determine the estimated life and propagation rate of a fatigue crack in components, and to determine if environmental or processing contributed to the fracture.