Cracking under pressure - failure identification from fractography of polymer composites

Materials World magazine
,
1 Jul 2012
Recovered tail from Airbus A300 accident

Groundbreaking research into the fractography of polymer composites is aiding composite failure identification, prediction and, ultimately, prevention. Dr Emile S Greenhalgh from Imperial College London offers an insight.

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The growing use of polymer composites in transport, sport and energy applications is leading to an increased need to solve in-service failures. Fractography, the study of fracture surface morphologies to glean information about the material microstructure and failure processes, is the principal method for achieving this.

In addition to being vital for post-mortem analysis of failed structures, fractography is u