SC8 Yves Brechet, Alexis Deschamps

Short Course on

“Failure Analysis of Engineering Materials : a project-based Learning course”

Yves Bréchet, Alexis Deschamps

Grenoble Institute of Technology, France



Failure analysis of engineering materials is a complex, multi-disciplinary topic, which finds its way in many material engineer’s everyday life. Several disciplines need to be brought together for a successful failure analysis and one challenge is to provide a basic level of understanding in each of them, including:

-          Structural mechanics and fracture mechanics

-          Influence of material’s microstructure on properties related to failure: damage / wear / creep / …

-          Fractography analysis

-          Corrosion

-          Characterization techniques (surface, bulk, chemical analysis, …)

In addition, failure analysis involves usually several classes of materials (metals, polymers, ceramics), whose failure modes and mechanisms are very different.

Based on a 10-year teaching experience of failure analysis at Grenoble Institute of Technology, this course will be given in two parts:

-          The first two hours will present in which way the different disciplines need to be brought together for performing a failure analysis. Comprehensive examples will be given for the three main classes of materials on the main causes of failure, on how to control the material’s microstructure for preventing failure, on the interaction of materials with their environment, on how to interpret real-life, complex fracture surfaces.

-          The next two hours will review case studies chosen from the last 10 years of project-based learning in our Institute. These span from projects proposed by the students to projects carried out with industrial partners. In all cases the cause for failure was not known before the project started. The students, with an academic tutor, had two months to find the cause of failure and propose a remedy. Through these case studies, the different tools required for a successful analysis will be reviewed, and the pedagogic experience will be shared with the participants.


Documents provided:

The participants will be provided with a CD containing the powerpoint of the failure analysis course taught at Grenoble Institute of Technology (in English language, free to use for teaching in public-funded academia), and a list of the projects that have been carried out in the last years.