The Metallurgists Toolbox: Fractography

Reading the metal tea leaves

Sample B AC 012-1

When components fracture there is a vast amount of important information left behind. Unique features resembling valleys, ridges, rivers, amphitheaters, shiny crystals, dull fibrous textures and others, all contribute to the story that are stages of the fracture process.

  • Where did the crack start? Why there? How?
  • How were the loads applied? Environment?
  • Did it grow as one continuous sequence or was it intermittent? Did it rest for a while?
  • Is it really a crack?

These are some of the questions that can be answered through fracture evaluation.

In metallurgy these features have names as unique as their characteristics; river markings, radial markings, chevron markings, dimples, cleavage, beach marks, fatigue striations, intergranular facets, thumb nails and others. These are critical sources of evidence that are revealed during a key step in the failure analysis process; Fractography.

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About the Presenter:

jimcurielJim Curiel, Senior Consultant Metallurgist
Mr. Jim Curiel, EAG’s senior consultant metallurgist, has over 45 years of experience in metallurgy, materials characterization and failure analysis. Jim has consulted on projects ranging from medical instruments, aircraft structures and engines, fastener systems, pipeline ruptures and microelectronics to toys, weapons systems and disaster conservation. His experience in leading and solving high priority failure investigations provide a vast knowledge base to draw upon and enable Jim to assess each problem with a unique, unbiased perspective. 

While providing consulting services, Jim spent a good portion of his career in academia. What sets him apart is his passion for the metallurgy and materials science field and passing his knowledge to future engineers. Jim, a past chair of Los Angeles ASM International, has chaired several committees and has served as Metallurgy/Materials Science mentor and coordinator of the ASM International Foundation camps for students and teachers alike.

In this webinar we will cover:

  • Tools used for fractography
  • Fractography process
  • Fracture modes
  • More common fracture features and what they mean to the metallurgist