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Damage analysis on metals and plastics

What to do if a component fails?

Damage doesn't just cost you money. They also endanger your corporate image and, last but not least, your company's success. Don't let it get that far - we'll get to the bottom of the cause!

As part of the design and manufacture of parts or components, a large number of quality requirements are specified for the product to be manufactured in order to ensure that it is functionally reliable and safe to use during the intended service life. Even if the requirements in this context have risen sharply in recent years, despite careful design and manufacture as well as suitable materials, damage to the installed parts or components occurs again and again.

In order to avoid future economic damage as well as damage to people and the environment in the event of acute damage, it is extremely advisable to consider specific measures to remedy and prevent damage.
Only with the help of a systematic damage analysis or investigation of the damage that has occurred is it possible to draw conclusions about the cause(s) of the damage and thereby derive improvements in terms of the integrity of the product.

The knowledge gained from the damage analysis or investigation can be used to ensure the optimal interaction between the design, the selection of materials, the production, the assembly and the prevailing operating conditions in the context of sustainable damage prevention.

Damage analysis based on VDI guideline 3822

Careful planning, a defined procedure and high-quality execution of the examinations form the basis for a successful and meaningful damage analysis.

VDI guideline 3822 describes the basics and terms as well as the procedure and documentation of a damage analysis in detail.

As part of the damage analysis, various influencing variables such as the selection and microstructure of the material, the geometry and production parameters of the component and of course the corresponding stresses (e.g. mechanical, thermal, chemical or tribological) must be taken into account. In particular, the complex interaction of the aforementioned influencing variables must be examined in detail.


Seven good reasons for a damage analysis according to VDI 3822 by the GSI SLV

1. Description of damage

Every damage analysis begins with the inspection of the defective component or the relevant system by the responsible inspector as well as a detailed description of all conditions and anomalies, such as types and locations of damage, traces of corrosion or relevant surface irregularities. Constructive aspects are also often analyzed by the inspector as part of the assessment of mechanical loads that could have contributed to the damage.

2. Review and damage hypothesis

It is usually necessary to take sample material from the damaged area as part of a comprehensive review of the circumstances and boundary conditions on site in order to be able to carry out the investigations required for an assessment. If the inspector is already carrying out the review on site, it is ensured that the sample sizes are sufficient and, in particular, that corrosion or fracture surfaces are delivered to the test laboratory without any subsequent influence. Otherwise helpful traces such as colored coverings or breakage features that are important for clarifying the damage could be lost.

The description of the damage and the review allow the inspector to derive one or more damage hypotheses directly on the basis of a logical-analytical link between the causal chains.


3. Instrumental analysis

Der GSI SLV steht mit dem nach DIN EN ISO/IEC 17025 akkreditieren Prüflabor folgende breite Palette von Prüfverfahren sowie Prüfeinrichtungen zur Verfügung, die für die Schadensanalyse(n) durch den Inspektor herangezogen werden können:

Der Inspektor legt auf der Basis der Schadenshypothese den zu Ermittlung der Schadensursache notwendigen Untersuchungsumfang fest. Dies kann in Abstimmung mit dem Auftraggeber erfolgen.

In Fällen, bei denen die Untersuchungen an den schadhaften Proben allein nicht für den Nachweis des Schädigungsmechanismus ausreichen, wird der Schadensmechanismus anhand von praxisnahen Laborversuchen reproduzierbar nachgestellt. Hierzu werden in der GSI SLV sowohl verschiedene Korrosionsprüfungen wie Auslagerungsversuche und Klimaprüfungen in verschiedenen Medien durchgeführt (nach Norm sowie nach spezifischen Kundenanforderungen) als auch das Schadensbild in Schweißversuchen nachgestellt. Auch andere Laborversuche sind in Absprache mit dem Kunden möglich.


With the test laboratory accredited according to DIN EN ISO / IEC 17025, the GSI SLV has the following wide range of test methods and test equipment available, which can be used by the inspector for the damage analysis: tests/

On the basis of the damage hypothesis, the inspector establishespra the scope of the investigation necessary to determine the cause of the damage. This can be done in coordination with the client.

In cases where the examinations on the defective samples alone are not sufficient to prove the damage mechanism, the damage mechanism is reproducibly simulated using practical laboratory tests. For this purpose, the GSI SLV carries out various corrosion tests such as exposure tests and climatic tests in various media (according to standards and specific customer requirements) and the damage pattern is simulated in welding tests. Other laboratory tests are also possible in consultation with the customer.


4. Research results

The integration of our test laboratory accredited according to DIN EN ISO / IEC 17025 ensures reliable, independent and resilient test results on the basis of internationally recognized test procedures.

The accreditation according to DIN EN ISO / IEC 17025 is among other things proof of compliance with the following points:

  •     Use of highly qualified personnel
  •     Regular calibration and maintenance of the test equipment
  •     Metrologically traced test results
  •     Compliance with test regulations using established test methods
  •     Complete and conclusive documentation of the test results in test reports
  •     Regular participation in proficiency tests in all departments and
  •     Maintaining the existing accreditation through regular official surveillance audits by the German Accreditation Body (DAkkS).

5. Cause of damage, remedial action and report

The comparison of the damage pattern with the specified boundary conditions by the inspector involved in the inspection body of GSI mbH accredited according to DIN EN ISO / IEC 17020 and the examination results is the central point of every damage analysis. The corresponding evaluations and results are conclusively summarized in an inspection report.



6. Knowledge management

Once the damage mechanism has been clarified, suggestions are made in the inspection report with which the customer can avoid the damage that has occurred in the future. Even after completion of the damage analysis, GSI SLV is available for a wide range of services in order to further improve processes and optimize products based on our extensive know-how.


7. In-depth knowledge of our inspectors

Decades of experience in the field of damage analyzes of GSI SLV as well as existing accreditations according to DIN EN ISO / IEC 17020 and DIN EN ISO / IEC 17025 ensure that damage investigations are carried out on a very high professional level. Our inspectors have a broad and profound knowledge in the field of welding and materials technology as well as in relation to corrosion protection.
Our inspectors also deal with your concerns in a targeted manner in the context of damage prevention.



GSI SLV as an ideal partner

We would be happy to offer you our support with damage analysis, investigation and prevention - worldwide.
We are therefore looking forward to assisting you with advice and action with regard to your joining and material-related issues. You will find your GSI contact person on the right.
Contact us!