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Mechanical and materials engineers are primarily interested in mechanical behavior of

metals. The strength, hardness, ductility/brittleness and fracture are all governed by the structure and
therefore control and modification of such properties is achieved primarily through control of
structure through heat treatment or other means. Therefore examination of macro - structure is very
important in analyzing these properties as well as the fractures and failures in meals.
Basically there are three types of failure modes.
1. Ductile failure
2. Brittle failure
3. Fatigue failure
By examining the fracture surfaces of the samples provided we can find the failure type


Further analysis of fracture types.

1. Ductile failure: Basically occurs in ductile materials. Ductile materials that are subjected to
tensile or shear stress will plastically or elastically deform and further application will result
in crack propagation and finally results in ductile failure. In tensile loading, the ductile failure
of studs and prismatic bars shows a cup and cone type failure surfaces.


2. Brittle failure: Brittle failure occurs when mechanical load exceed a materials ultimate
tensile strength causing it to fracture into two or more parts without undergoing any
significant plastic
deformation or strain failure. Material characteristics and defects such as notches, voids,
inclusions, cracks and residual stresses are typical initiation points for the formation of a
crack leading to brittle fracture.

3. Fatigue failure: Materials that fractures into two or more pieces after being subjected to a
cyclic stress (fluctuating load) over a period of time is considered to have failed by fatigue.
The maximum value of the cyclic stress (stress amplitude) for fatigue failure is less than the
materials ultimate tensile strength.



According to our observations we can easily identify the type of material (metal) failure
Ductile Failure:
Failed materials show the properties of ductility.
Ductile failures occur due to increasing tensile loading over a period of time.
Before failure, material is subjected to plastic deformation. ( ductile materials are
subjected to necking before failure)
Most of the materials fail due to ductile failure has a cup and cone shape.
Fracture surface typically has a dull and fibrous surface.

Brittle Failure:
Occur when mechanical load exceeds materials ultimate tensile strength.
Significant plastic deformation cant be examined.
Fracture surface is little bit smoother than ductile failure.
Material characteristics and defects such as notches, voids, inclusions, cracks etc. are
the typical initiation points for the formation of a crack leading to brittle failure.

Fatigue Failure:
Occur when material is subjected to a cyclic stress over a period of time.
This type of failure is mostly common in machinery parts.
Some curves can be seen on the fracture surface.

Modification of structure in order to achieve desired properties

Before modifying first we have to identify the material. By identifying the material we can
conclude the way that it is going to be failed. For example if the material is more ductile it may
be subjected to ductile failure.
For ductile failure:
If the forces applied to the structure are tensile in nature we can add some compressive stresses to
the components that are more susceptible for failure.
For brittle failure:
Brittle fractures occur mainly due to impact loads and sudden shocks. The most common
modification to avoid brittle failure is to add vibration absorbers to the system so that the shock
loads and vibrations may fizzle out quickly.


Vibration absorbers
For fatigue failure:
Fatigue occurs due to cyclic loading conditions. If it is a machine, it should be dynamically
balanced to reduce cyclic loading. If we can balance the machine dynamically we can reduce the
possibility of occurring fatigue failure.

Actions which need to be taken by the engineer at the design stage to avoid each type of
In design stage we can alter a lot of parameters to avoid getting failed.
Ductile Failure:
1) Design with a large safety factor.

Factor of safety =

Material strength
Design load


2) Tensile strength of the material.

Ductile failures occur when the yield strength of the material is exceeded by the loading
supplied to the material. So by using materials which are having higher tensile strengths
we can reduce the ductile failure.
3) Temperature
There is a temperature called DBTT (ductile brittle transition temperature). At this
temperature some materials show both ductile and brittle properties.

With the change of temperature ductile and brittle properties will also change. Titanic
failure also happened due to this. So when using these kinds of materials we have to
consider about the temperatures at which we use the materials.

Brittle Failure:

Avoid shock loads (As stated earlier)

Avoid stress concentration
Brittle failures occur basically due to material characteristics and defects such as notches,
voids, cracks and stress concentration points. Therefore to avoid brittle failures we have
to avoid using materials having stress concentration points.


Fatigue Failure:
Fatigue failure occurs basically due to cyclic stress over a period of time. To avoid fatigue

Study the S-N curve and do the maintenance at correct time.

The S-N diagram plots nominal stress amplitude S versus cycles to failure N. By using SN curve we can identify the no. of cycles which the material will be able to withstand
without failing. So by using that, we can make the maintenance accordingly.

Balancing the machine

By balancing the machine we can reduce the vibration as well as unwanted stresses
acting on the machine parts. So it will help in reducing the fatigue failure.


Thermal cycling can also increase the possibility of fatigue failure. Therefore it is
important to control the environment temperature at which the structure is using.




Non destructive testing is used to investigate the material integrity of the test object. As the
term Non - destructive implies there is no impairment of the properties of the article consequent to
testing. A number of other techniques for instance radio astronomy, voltage and amperage
measurement and rheometry (flow measurement) are nondestructive but are not used to evaluate
material properties specifically. Nondestructive testing is concerned in a practical way with the
performance of the test piece. There is a variety of non destructive tests. Most important methods

Liquid penetrant testing

Eddy current testing
Magnetic particle testing
Radiographic testing
Ultrasonic testing
Electromagnetic testing
Guided wave testing


Dye penetrant inspection (DPI), also called liquid penetrant inspection (LPI)
or penetrant testing (PT), is a widely applied and low-cost inspection method used to locate
surface-breaking defects in all non-porous materials (metals, plastics, or ceramics). The penetrant
may be applied to all non-ferrous materials and ferrous materials. Here the liquid penetrant seeps
into crevices thereby making them visible.



1. First the testing surface was cleaned properly in order to remove any dust, paint or other
2. The penetrant was then applied to the surface of the item being tested. The penetrant was
allowed to soak into any flaws (generally 5 to 30 minutes).

Penetrant used in testing

3. Then the excess
the surface.
4. After excess penetrant
developer was applied

penetrant was removed from

has been removed, a white
to the sample.

Developer used in testing



Applications of liquid penetrate as a non-destructive testing technique

Liquid penetrant inspection (LPI) is one of the most widely used nondestructive evaluation
methods. LPI can be used to inspect almost any material provided that its surface is not extremely
rough or porous. Materials that are commonly inspected using LPI include the following:

Metals (aluminum, copper, steel, titanium, etc.)


Many ceramic materials


Since this is a very cheap and easier way of NDT there are many applications. Some of them are

Aircraft maintenance
Heat affect zone cracks
Poor weld penetration
Gas porosity
Cold shuts
Stress corrosion cracks
Heat treatment cracks
Fatigue cracks
Micro shrinkage
Grinding cracks
Hydrogen cracks
Hot tears

Limitations of liquid penetrate as a non-destructive testing technique

Cracks not open to the surface cannot be detected.

Test will be inaccurate if a little amount of dust is present in the sample
Generally restricted to nonporous engineering materials.
After testing the surface should be cleaned again.

Factors which may reduce the efficiency of the test

Contaminants at the joint


Excessive application of the penetrant at the joint.

Environmental conditions like temperature, wind, humidity etc.

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