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The primary goal of failure analysis is to prevent the recurrence of product failures. This article discusses the sequence of activities in failure analysis and offers insight on how to gather background information, examine and assess damage, and identify the cause of the problem. It also explains where to look for evidence and how to collect samples for various types of testing. In addition, the article provides an introduction to fracture mechanics and explains how to predict and avoid fractures, including fatigue fracture, through testing and computational techniques.

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