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Examination of a damaged component involves a chain of activities that, first and foremost, requires good observation and documentation. Following receipt and documentation, the features of damage can be recorded and their cause(s) investigated, as this article briefly describes, for typical types of damage experienced for metallic components. This article discusses the processes involved in visual or macroscopic examination of damaged material; the interpretation of fracture features, corrosion, and wear damage features; and the analysis of base material composition. It covers the processes involved in the selection of metallurgical samples, the preparation and examination of metallographic specimens in failure analysis, and the analysis and interpretation of microstructures. Examination and evaluation of polymers and ceramic materials in failure analysis are also briefly discussed.

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