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.