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ASM Failure Analysis Case Histories

Handbook of Case Histories in Failure Analysis

Edited by
Khlefa A. Esaklul
Khlefa A. Esaklul
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ASM International
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Book Chapter

Nonmetallic Materials



A laminated-paper microwave food tray collapsed with hot food in it. Microscopic examination of the failed tray revealed no structural or material defects. Five additional trays of like construction were also tested to determine the conditions necessary to simulate the permanent deflection of the tray handles that had occurred in the failed tray. Full distortion of the handles was obtained experimentally only by dropping a full hot tray on its end onto the floor. The test results indicated that the tray had slipped from the hand of the user.


A high-density polyethylene (HDPE) natural gas distribution pipe (Grade PE 3306) failed by slow, stable crack growth while in residential service. The leak occurred at a location where a squeeze clamp had been used to close the pipe during maintenance. Failure analysis showed that the origin of the failure was a small surface crack in the inner pipe wall produced by the clamping. Fracture mechanics calculations confirmed that the suspected failure process would result in a failure time close to the actual time to failure. It was recommended that: materials be screened for susceptibility to the formation of the inner wall cracks since it was not found to occur in pipe typical of that currently being placed in service; pipes be re-rounded after clamp removal to minimize residual stresses which caused failure; and a metal reinforcing collar be placed around the squeeze location after clamp removal.

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1993. "Nonmetallic Materials", Handbook of Case Histories in Failure Analysis, Khlefa A. Esaklul

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