Metallurgical Failure Analysis – Forensic Engineering of Motorsports Failures
All motorsport race teams strive for one thing: a consistent, unstoppable racecar that will finish up front. MTi’s expert metallurgists are a key component in achieving this goal and a motorsport team’s winning season.
When motorsport engine builders experience an engine failure, they need answers now. Was it something we did during assembly? Was it something the driver did? Was the part defective from manufacturing? The reputation of the builder, the team, and the confidence their sponsors have in their abilities may be at stake. Since the metal components of a racing engine are commonly stressed to the edge of their ultimate limits, even the smallest metallurgical imperfection can lead to a catastrophic engine failure. Even though the builder may have done everything right, they may be unaware of a microscopic imperfection in the part or some slight modification the end user may have made that resulted in engine failure. Failures can happen on even the most unlikely parts. For example a input shaft that had never failed was recently engraved and now has shallow stress riser sites.
A forensic metallurgical laboratory looks at the failed components of a racing engine from a whole different point of view. This involves a scientific study conducted by engineers and technicians trained in the science of metallurgical engineering, fractography (the photography and study of fracture surfaces), and metallographic analysis (the photography and study of metal microstructures) and failure analysis. A logical sequence of investigative procedures is used to arrive at the cause of the component failure.
Forensic metallurgical failure analyses can also be performed on a sampling of new parts before they are used to ensure they meet specifications and exhibit the proper strength, hardness and toughness needed for the specific application.
Below are several case study reports from the motorsports industry in which we service. All client information has been removed from these reports for confidentiality reasons.
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Motorsports Failure Analysis Case Studies:
Forensic examination of a failed component can prevent recurring failures, help with preventive detection, and suggest remedies. If you have a component failure that requires a failure analysis, please take a moment to fill in our information request form and we’ll gladly give you an estimate.