Materials Failure


Metals, plastics, ceramics, glass, composite materials – the list goes on when it comes to the types of materials used in products – commercial or industrial. Analyzing the failure of these materials varies and is complex.

The materials experts at Envista can assist you in evaluating your product failure and determine the root cause. Understanding the product design, the materials used, and the environment it is used within are key in the failure analysis process. Our experts are knowledgeable in these areas and can help support your failure investigations or we can conduct an independent investigation. 

When a metal fails, there are a number of questions to be asked. For example:

  • Was the right material specified for the environment?
  • Did the manufacturer use the material specified or was a lesser material used?
  • What is the chemical composition of the material and does it meet specifications?
  • Did corrosion exist on the part?
  • Did the part fail from overloading? Was it a brittle failure? Ductile failure? Did the part fail in shear? Bending? Or both?
  • Could fatigue have played a role in the failure of the part?
  • Were there fluctuating structural loads as a result of its use?
  • Did the surface wear away too rapidly?
  • Was the right heat treatment process specified?
  • Should the part have been surface hardened?
  • Does an optical microscope or scanning electron microscope (SEM) indicate a reason for failure?
  • Was the metal properly protected from the corrosive environment it was exposed to?