Category Archives: fracture analysis

MEE Staff Development

posted February 2020

Congratulations to MEE Associate Engineer, Henry Ahrenholtz, who recently passed the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam certifying him as an Engineer in Training (E.I.T.). The FE exam is the first of two exams required for obtaining a Professional Engineer license. Prior to taking the second exam, E.I.T’s must complete four years of qualifying engineering experience under the supervision of a professional engineer. We look forward to working with Henry as he moves forward towards professional licensure.

Larry Hanke and Dan Grice will be presenting a talk on A Historical Perspective of Fracture Analysis at the February 19 ASM Symposium at Hennepin Technical College.  The theme of the symposium is “Materials Retrospect: 100 Years of Advancement” in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the MN chapter of ASM International. Other presentations at the event will cover topics such as advancements in the casting industry, metal additive manufacturing and breakthroughs in nitinol in medical device design.

Larry and Dan’s presention will review the history of fractography, including the historical development of the science, changes in the analytical tools, and some historical case histories.
The effective use of materials in various engineering applications requires an understanding of material properties, including conditions of material failure. Fracture is behavior that must be taken into account. The study of fractures over the years has had an important role in materials engineering to improve product performance and reliability.

Dan Grice, P.E. and Larry Hanke, P.E.

Failure Analysis Seminar

posted August 2019

Senior Materials Engineer, Dan Grice, P.E., presented a two day seminar on Fractography and Failure Analysis at the office of one of our industrial customers.  The seminar covered technical information on fracture mechanisms and analysis through characterization of the macroscopic and microscopic fracture features.  Dan’s presentation included multiple case studies to provide a practical understanding of the analytical methods and laboratory tools a materials engineer uses in the failure analysis process.

Fractography and Failure Analysis Seminar




Materials Science Education

posted November 2018

This week, MEE hosted University of St Thomas Materials Science students in our laboratory. Students toured our metallography and light microscopy labs and were presented a brief introduction to scanning electron microscopy.

Staff engineer, Neal Hanke, arranged a display of some representative failure analysis projects to demonstrate the range of materials and failure modes we have investigated in our lab.

Another Way to Look at Things…

posted December 2015

We just purchased a research grade Olympus SZX16 stereo microscope equipped with a super high resolution, digital, micro-imaging camera.  This is an excellent addition to our light microscopy laboratory. With easy shifting from macro-view to micro-view,  it is a specialized and powerful tool for fracture examination, corrosion studies and general failure analysis.

We’re looking forward to putting our newest microscope to work.

Olympus SZX16 stereo microscope with digital camera.

Olympus SZX16 Stereo Microscope with digital camera.

Drop a ceramic vase at home and what is the first thing you do with the pieces? You try to put them back together.

In the world of fracture analysis, do not try to fit the two fracture halves together as this will damage critical surface features, even fractures of hard or high strength metals. Simply touching mating fracture surfaces together after a failure will destroy microscopic fracture features that may be key to a conclusive determination of the fracture mode.

Don’t Touch is the first of MEE’s ten commandments of sample preservation and handling. The other nine commandments and  specific guidelines for the handling of fractures is in the last chapter of our online Handbook of Analytical Methods for Materials.

Contact our analytical laboratory if you have more specific questions about sample handling and preservation, and for shipping recommendations.

Fracture surface of a logging chain that broke. This is a giant chain: each chain link was about 1 1/4" in diameter.

Fracture surface of a logging chain that broke. This is a giant chain: each chain link was about 1 1/4″ in diameter.