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Engineering component and structure failures manifest through many mechanisms but are most often associated with fracture in one or more forms. This article introduces the subject of fractography and aspects of how it is used in failure analysis. The basic types of fracture processes (ductile, brittle, fatigue, and creep) are described briefly, principally in terms of fracture appearances. A description of the surface, structure, and behavior of each fracture process is also included. The article provides a framework from which a prospective analyst can begin to study the fracture of a component of interest in a failure investigation. Details on the mechanisms of deformation, brittle transgranular fracture, intergranular fracture, fatigue fracture, and environmentally affected fracture are also provided.

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