Failure analysis is the process of collecting and analyzing data to determine the cause of a failure, often with the purpose of determining corrective actions. It is an important discipline in many branches of manufacturing, such as the oil and gas industry, where it is important for the development of new products and for the improvement of existing products.
The failure analysis process relies on collecting failed components for subsequent examination of the cause or causes of failure using a wide array of methods, especially microscopy and spectroscopy. These NDT or nondestructive testing methods are valuable because the failed products are unaffected by analysis, so inspection sometimes starts using these methods.
NUSATEK has wide experience in performing failure analysis on a wide range of parts and products such as drilling part, leaked tubes and pipes, failed wires, electronic boards, etc.
Failure analysis is designed to identify the failure modes (the way the product failed); identify the failure site (where in the product failure occurred); identify the failure mechanism (the physical phenomena involved in the failure); determine the root cause (the design, defect, or loads which led to failure); and recommend failure prevention methods.
Methods of Analysis
The failure analysis of many different products involves the use of the following tools and techniques:
- Sample preparation – e.g. Mechanical and Metallography
- Microscope – e.g. Optical Microscope
- Surface Analysis – e.g. Dye penetration
- Electron microscopy – e.g. Scanning electron microscope (SEM)
Analysis of a failed part can also be done using destructive testing in addition to non-destructive testing (NDT). Destructive testing involves removing a metal component from service and sectioning the component for analysis. Destructive testing gives the failure analyst the ability to conduct the analysis in a laboratory setting and perform tests on the material that will ultimately destroy the component. Non-destructive testing is a test method that allows certain physical properties of metal to be examined without taking the samples completely out of service. NDT is generally used to detect failures in components before the component fails catastrophically.
There is no standardized list of metallurgical failure modes and different metallurgists might use a different name for the same failure mode.