Paper Title:

Fractography, Some Legal Aspects and Challenges

Periodical Key Engineering Materials (Volume 409)
Main Theme Fractography of Advanced Ceramics III
Edited by J. Dusza, R. Danzer, R. Morrell and G.D. Quinn
Pages 28-42
DOI 10.4028/
Citation Richard C. Bradt, 2009, Key Engineering Materials, 409, 28
Online since March 2009
Authors Richard C. Bradt
Keywords Court, Crack, Crack Pattern, Deposition, Energy, Explosion, Flaw, Fracture Toughness, Impact Fracture, Jury, Lawyer, Macrocrack, Surface Topology, Thermal Shock, Wind Pressure
Price US$ 28,-
Article Preview
View full size

Evidence regarding a fracture event is absolutely and definitively recorded by Nature during the fracture process. That record is in the form of the general macrocrack pattern and the surface topological features of the newly formed fracture surface. In reality, it is the only perfect record of what actually occurred during a fracture. Whenever a conflict or controversy arises regarding a fracture, it is the moral and scientific responsibility of the fractographer to analyze and interpret the record of the fracture as it was created by Nature. It is further necessary for the fractographer to then inform and educate the members of the legal community (lawyer, judge and jury) as to exactly what happened during the failure. This educational process is necessary so that the legal community can collectively understand the history of the fracture and arrive at a just and fair decision regarding responsibility and potential liability for the failure. This paper describes the overall process from the beginning of the fracture examination of the failed artifact to the final appearance in court leading to a decision by the judge or a jury. Both the technical and the human factors are addressed with varying degrees of detail.