Sample Preservation - The Key to a Successful Failure Analysis

Report No. ARL-RP-228
Authors: Marc Pepi
Date/Pages: September 2008; 16 pages
Abstract: Probably the most important, yet least understood step in failure analysis is sample preservation. The importance of this step cannot be overemphasized. Irreversible damage can occur if the proper steps are not taken to preserve the fractured specimen and associated components. This report discusses the techniques used to ensure samples are kept in the best possible condition for the failure analyst. Similar to a "crime scene", every effort should be made by the crash site investigator to prevent post-mortem harm to the failed component. Although not many publications reference this subject, or discuss it in detail, examples of a literature search and practical experience will be highlighted.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: September 1, 2008