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Fracture surface analysis has been relegated to the fractographer, who has developed skills in visual interpretation of unique fracture features. This process is based on correlation of features obtained from laboratory-created fractures with known failure modes to specific fracture surface features. The result has been considerable subjectivity, with conflicting opinions sometimes being rendered by different fractographers. Recent approaches to expand objectivity in the process have been related to quantitative microscopy procedures and to digital imaging analysis, with both indicating that nonsubjective fractographic analysis can be extremely beneficial. This study has taken the approach of digital analysis of scanning electron fractographs through Fourier transform analysis of spatial frequency content. The most common fracture features—fatigue striations, dimples, intergranular facets, and cleavage facets—have been uniquely defined in terms of frequency components. The result has been a significant advance in objectivity for fracture feature identification and characterization.
fractography, fracture features, digital imaging, fatigue striations, dimple rupture, intergranular fracture, cleavage facets
Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Senior Metallurgist, Naval Air Rework Facility, Materials Engineering Laboratory, Pensacola, FL