Materials fail for different reasons, but they fracture by four principal modes: fatigue, cleavage, dimple rupture, and decohesive rupture. Each of these modes has its own characteristic fracture appearance.
  1. Fatigue fracture is the result of repetitive loading. Crack(s) initiates in Stage I, propagates in Stage II, and reaches catastrophic fracture including separation in Stage III. Fatigue striations observed generally in high cycle fatigue align perpendicular to crack propagation direction.
  2. Cleavage is a low-energy fracture that is completely flat and featureless. River patterns, feather markings, and chevron patterns are some of the features observed in cleavage mode of fracture.
  3. Dimple rupture is the mode of fracture when an overload is the principal cause of failure. Microvoid coalescence is the characteristic feature observed in dimple rupture.
  4. Decohesive rupture occurs with little plastic deformation and involves weakening of the atomic bonds. Hydrogen embrittlement, stress corrosion cracking, and creep are some of the examples of decohesive rupture.

Elements team of Engaged Experts employ a wide variety of fractographic testing methods to determine the failure causes of parts, products, and engineering structures.

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