Investigating Stress and Fatigue in Material Failures

In many product liability cases the cause of the accident can be attributed to misuse or material failure. Accidents that involve people falling off ladders, the failure of machinery parts, or furniture failures, can be caused by or contributed by material failure. Materials like metals, plastics, ceramics, and glass can fail immediately or breakdown over time through two different mechanisms: sudden brittle fracture and repetitive ductile fracture.

Stress occurs when someone or something applies a load to a material. If the stresses exceed the known ultimate strength of the material, the material can suddenly break. An overload can contribute to an immediate accident or accelerate the breakdown of the materials.

If repeated stresses are applied that are less than the ultimate strength of the material, fatigue can occur. Fatigue fractures are progressive, beginning as microscopic cracks that grow with the application of repeated stresses.

The team at CED includes metallurgists and engineering specialists who inspect materials using the latest technology. They can help determine how a particular material failed and whether it was a contributing factor or the main cause of an accident. If you have an accident where material failure may come into question, contact CED to reach an expert that can help your case or submit a case review request online.