Practical Failure Analysis

, Volume 2, Issue 5, pp 16–19 | Cite as

Fractography of metals and plastics

  • Ronald J. Parrington
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Fractography is critical to failure analysis of metals and plastics. Fractography of plastics is a relatively new field with many similarities to metals. Using case histories, various aspects of failure analysis and fractography of metals and plastics are compared and contrasted.

Failure modes common to both metals and plastics include ductile overload, brittle fracture, impact, and fatigue. Analogies can also be drawn between stress-corrosion cracking (SCC) of metals and stress cracking of polymers. Other metal/plastic failure analogies include corrosion/chemical aging, dealloying/scission, residual stress/frozen-in stress, and welds/knit lines. Stress raisers, microstructure, material defects, and thermomechanical history play important roles in both types of materials. The key fractographic features for metals and plastics are described in this paper.


Fatigue Brittle Fracture Ductile Fracture Failure Analysis Stress Raiser 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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    V. Biringuccio:De La Pirotechnia, Venice, 1540; see translation by C.S. Smith and M.T. Gnudi:The ‘Pirotechnia’ of Vannoccio Biringuccio, American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers, New York, 1942.Google Scholar
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Selected References

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    W. Brostow and R.D. Corneliussen:Failure of Plastics, Hanser Publishers, Munich, 1986.Google Scholar
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    T.J. Davies and I. Brough: “General Practice in Failure Analysis,”Metals Handbook (9th ed.), vol. 11,Failure Analysis and Prevention, American Society for Metals, Metals Park, OH, 1986.Google Scholar
  3. •.
    M. Ezrin:Plastics Failure Guide: Cause and Prevention, Hanser Publishers, New York, 1996.Google Scholar
  4. •.
    F.R. Larson and F.L Carr: “How Failures Occur...Topography of Fracture Surfaces,”Source Book in Failure Analysis, American Society for Metals, Metals Park, OH, 1974.Google Scholar
  5. •.
    Metals Handbook (8th ed.), vol. 9,Fractography and Atlas of Fractographs, American Society for Metals, Metals Park, OH, 1974.Google Scholar
  6. •.
    U. Portugall and K. Steinlein:Prac. Metallography, 1999,36(8), pp. 446–62.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© ASM International - The Materials Information Society 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronald J. Parrington
    • 1
  1. 1.IMR Test LabsLansing

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