This article provides an overview of cracking and fracture mechanisms in heritage gold, silver, low-tin bronze, and wrought iron alloys. Understanding these mechanisms can be important for restorers, and possibly for conservators and curators as well. Metallography is widely used (when sampling is permitted) for studying archaeometallurgical artifacts in detail. However, fracture surface examinations and analysis (i.e., fractography) can often provide even greater insight. Case studies demonstrate the benefits of employing fractographic analysis to study cracking and fracture mechanisms in heritage alloys.

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