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Failure analysis is a process that is performed to determine the causes or factors that have led to an undesired loss of functionality. This article describes some of the factors and conditions that might be considered when approaching a failure analysis problem. It focuses on the key principles, objectives, practices, and procedures of failure analysis. The article provides guidelines on the preparation of a protocol for a failure analysis. It also demonstrates the proper approaches to failure analysis.

This article reviews the most common reasons for failures and the purpose of a failure investigation. It discusses the nine steps for the organization of a good failure investigation. The three basic tools that are helpful in any failure investigation, namely, a fault tree, a failure mode assessment chart, and a technical plan for resolution chart, are reviewed. The article briefly describes failure investigation pitfalls and concludes with information on the other common tools used for failure investigation and root cause determination.

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