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Failure Mode Analysis

What is a Failure Mode?

You may hear the words failure mode and root cause thrown around. These are two different things and its important to know what they are. Failure modes are how materials failed. Root causes are the reason they fail. A simple example would be a failed beam. The beam may have buckled as a failure mode, but this may have been caused by corrosion, overload, improper design, incorrect alloy, a failure in a quality system, or another reason or combination of reasons. System or part failure is the end of chain of events that we piece together to arrive at the original root cause. Common failure modes include:

  • Adhesive Failure
  • Brittle Fracture
  • Buckling
  • Cohesive Failure
  • Ductile Fracture
  • Shearing
  • Stress-Assisted Corrosion
  • Stress-Corrosion Cracking
  • Thermal Shock

Root Cause


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