Failure Mechanisms

Failure Mechanisms

A failure mechanism is defined as an undesirable physical condition or physical state that leads to a failure mode. For mechanical and structural components, there are generally four accepted failure mechanisms: corrosion, erosion, fatigue and overload.

Countless underlying physical, chemical and environmental factors can lead to the development of a failure mechanism and the deterioration of a structure. Many of these failure mechanisms are not obvious at all to the lay-person and still poorly understood by many engineers.

Specific, interesting failure mechanisms are discussed in these pages, and where appropriate, are related back to relevant design topics.