Risk and Failure Analysis for Improved Performance and Reliability

  • Thomas J. Dolan
Part of the Sagamore Army Materials Research Conference Proceedings book series (SAMC, volume 24)


The care and philosophy employed in material selection, design analyses, fabrication, and maintenance must be sufficient to limit the risk of failure. Failure analysis requires careful sorting of a variety of information to determine how and why a metal part failed, and to prevent a recurrence. To improve safety and reliability, a philosophy of design and prototype evaluation based on the risk of failure is more sound than the stereotyped application of empiricisms, codes, specifications and factors of safety commonly used. Designers must document all conceivable failures in a system, determine by analyses the effect on system operation, and rank the risk of each potential failure according to its combined influence of severity and probability of occurrence. Design codes based upon handbook values for properties of materials are often misleading. A probability of failure exists due to the many uncertainties or variability of the basic structural reactions of a metal; significant changes in mechanical behavior occur due to processing operations, field repairs, adverse or unforeseen loadings and environment, or deterioration with time, temperature, or operating conditions. Consideration must be given to man-machine interactions to prevent accidents in complex systems. Considerable latitude in use and misuse of equipment must be foreseen in order to predict and evaluate the resistance to each possible mode of failure. Careful consideration of the complete life cycle is necessary for selecting optimum materials that will withstand the modifications due to processing and service history, yet provide minimum risk of failure with improved safety and reliability.


Residual Stress Fatigue Life Brittle Fracture Fatigue Strength Failure Analysis 
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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Dolan, T.J., “Preclude Failure: A Philosophy for Materials Selection and Simulated Service Testing”, Experimental Mechanics, January 1970, pp. 1–14.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Shank, M.E., “Brittle Failure in Carbon Plate Steel Structures Other Than Ships”, Welding Research Council Bulletin Series, No. 17, January 1954.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Srawley, J.E. and Esgar, J.B., “investigation of Hydrotest Failure of Thiokol Chemical Corporation 260-in. Diameter Sl-1 Motor Case”, NASA TMX-1194, January 1966.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Failure Analysis of PVRC Vessel No. 5”, Welding Research Council, Bulletin No. 98, August 1964.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Cottel, G.A., “Lessons to be Learned from Failures in Service”, International Conference on Fatigue of Metals, ASME-IME, Session 7, Paper 1, 1956.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Wulpi, D.J., “How Components Fail”, Metals Park, Ohio, ASM, 1966.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Samans, C.H., “Results of the Survey of the Study Group on Oil Storage Tank Failures”, API Proc. Section III, 34, pp. 143–63, 1954.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Civil Aircraft Accident. Report of the Court of Inquiry into the Accidents to the Comet G”, Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, London, 1955. See also T. Bishop, “Fatigue and the Comet Disasters”, Metal Progress, 79, May 1955.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Dolan, T.J., “Simultaneous Effects of Corrosion and Abrupt Changes in Section on the Fatigue Strength of Steel”, Appl. Mech., ASME, A-141, December 1938.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Dolan, T.J., “Nonlinear Response Under Cyclic Loading Conditions”, Proc. 9th Midwest Mech. Conference, New York, J. Wiley & Sons, 1967.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Moisseiff, L.S., “Investigation of Cold Drawn Bridge Wire”, ASTM Proc., 30, 1930, p. 313.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Haasl, D.F., “Advanced Concepts in Fault Tree Analysis”, System Safety Symposium, Univ. of Washington & Boeing Co., Seattle, Juen 8–10, 1965.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Mears, A.B., “Fault Tree Analysis: The Study of Unlikely Events in Complex Systems”, System Safety Symposium, Seattle, Wash., June 8–10, 1965.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Design Analysis Procedure for Failure Mode, Effects and Criticality Analysis”, Aerospace Recommended Practice, ARP 926, Soc. of Automotive Engineers, September 15, 1967.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Dolan, T.J., “Failure Analysis of Metal Components”, Metals Engineering Quarterly, ASM, Vol. 12, No. 4, November 1972, pp. 32–40.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Highway Accident Report, “Collapse of U. S. 35 Highway Bridge, Point Pleasant, West Virginia, December 15, 1967”, Report: NTSB-HAR-71–1, National Trans. Safety Board, 1970.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Fracture Toughness Testing and Its Applications”, ASTM STP 381, 1965. See also: ASTM STP 410, 1967.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Dolan, T.J., “Product Liability and Material Failures”, Trans. SAE, Paper No. 710710, September 1971.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Dowling, N.E., “Fatigue Failure Predictions for Complicated Stress-Strain Histories”, ASTM Journal of Materials, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 71–87, 1972.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Landgraf, R.W. and La Pointe, N.R., “Cyclic Stress-Strain Concepts Applied to Component Fatigue Life Prediction”, SAE Paper No. 740280, Automotive Engineering Congress, Feb. 25-March 1, 1974.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Schijve, J., “Estimation of Fatigue Performance of Aircraft Structures”, ASTM STP 338, pp. 193–215, 1962.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Swanger, W.H. and Wohlgemuth, G.F., “Failure of Heat Treated Steel Wire in Cables of the Mt. Hope, R.I., Suspension Bridge,” Proc. ASTM, 1936, Part 2, pp. 21–84.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Fatigue Crack Growth Under Spectrum Loads”, ASTM STP 595, June 1976.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Morrow, J., et al., Journal of Materials, March 1969, pp. 159–209 (four papers on low-cycle fatigue behavior).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas J. Dolan
    • 1
  1. 1.University of IllinoisUrbanaUSA

Personalised recommendations