What is failure?

What does mean failure in mechanical engineering?:- The failure of engineering materials is almost always an undesirable event for several reasons; these include human lives that are put in jeopardy, economic losses, and the interference with the availability of products and services.

Even though the causes of failure and the behavior of materials may be known, prevention of failures is difficult to guarantee. The usual causes are improper materials selection and processing and inadequate design of the component or its misuse.

It is the responsibility of the engineer to anticipate and plan for possible failure and, in the event that failure does occur, to assess its cause and then take appropriate preventive measures against future incidents.

Topics to be addressed in this chapter are the following: simple fracture (both ductile and brittle modes), fundamentals of fracture mechanics, impact fracture testing, the ductile-to-brittle transition, fatigue, and creep. These discussions include failure mechanisms, testing techniques, and methods by which failure may be prevented or controlled.

Fundamentals of fracture:

Simple fracture is the separation of a body into two or more pieces in response to an imposed stress that is static (i.e., constant or slowly changing with time) and at temperatures that are low relative to the melting temperature of the material.

The applied stress may be tensile, compressive, shear, or torsional; the present discussion will be confined to fractures that result from uniaxial tensile loads. For engineering materials, two fracture modes are possible: ductile and brittle. Classification is based on the ability of a material to experience plastic deformation.

Ductile materials typically exhibit substantial plastic deformation with high energy absorption before fracture. On the other hand, there is normally little or no plastic deformation with low energy absorption accompanying a brittle fracture.

Any fracture process involves two steps—crack formation and propagation—in response to an imposed stress. The mode of fracture is highly dependent on the mechanism of crack propagation.

Ductile fracture is characterized by extensive plastic deformation in the vicinity of an advancing crack. Furthermore, the process proceeds relatively slowly as the crack length is extended. Such a crack is often said to be stable.

That is, it resists any further extension unless there is an increase in the applied stress. In addition, there will ordinarily be evidence of appreciable gross deformation at the fracture surfaces (e.g., twisting and tearing).

On the other hand, for brittle fracture, cracks may spread extremely rapidly, with very little accompanying plastic deformation. Such cracks may be said to be unstable, and crack propagation, once started, will continue spontaneously without an increase in magnitude of the applied stress.

Ductile fracture is almost always preferred for two reasons. First, brittle fracture occurs suddenly and catastrophically without any warning; this is a consequence of the spontaneous and rapid crack propagation.

On the other hand, for ductile fracture, the presence of plastic deformation gives warning that fracture is imminent, allowing preventive measures to be taken. Second, more strain energy is required to induce ductile fracture inasmuch as ductile materials are generally tougher. Under the action of applied tensile stress, most metal alloys are ductile, whereas ceramics are notably brittle, and polymers may exhibit both types of fracture.

Ductile fracture:

Ductile fracture surfaces will have their own distinctive features on both macroscopic and microscopic levels. The configuration is found for extremely soft metals, such as pure gold and lead at room temperature, and other metals, polymers, and inorganic glasses at elevated temperatures. These highly ductile materials neck down to a point fracture, showing virtually 100% reduction in area.

The most common type of tensile fracture profile for ductile metals, which fracture is preceded by only a moderate amount of necking. The fracture process normally occurs in several stages. First, after necking begins, small cavities, or microvoids, form in the interior of the cross-section.

Next, as deformation continues, these microvoids enlarge, come together, and coalesce to form an elliptical crack, which has its long axis perpendicular to the stress direction. The crack continues to grow in a direction parallel to its major axis by this microvoid coalescence process.

What does mean by failure in mechanical engineering?:- Finally, fracture ensues by the rapid propagation of a crack around the outer perimeter of the neck, by shear deformation at an angle of about 45 with the tensile axis—this is the angle at which the shear stress is a maximum. Sometimes a fracture having this characteristic surface contour is termed a cupand-cone fracture because one of the mating surfaces is in the form of a cup, the other like a cone.