Glass failure (or fracture) analysis is a powerful tool combining glass fractography and microscopy to diagnose and determine the root cause of a breakage or product failure.
We also complete preventative quality assessments to potentially stop issues occurring in the future. We provide analysis for products spanning all sectors, including food and drink packaging, domestic glass, furniture, scientific glassware and pharmaceutical packaging.
Glass items are very strong when used correctly, however damage or defects can cause unexpected failure. Reasons for breakages include design problems, glass quality issues, manufacturing or processing issues, material interaction, mishandling or abuse.
Circumstances surrounding a glass breakage can often be unclear. Using the evidence within the broken sample, we can diagnose the true cause of glass failure, which can help eliminate future problems and resolve disputes. (It is essential that all pieces of broken glass are retained to allow a full investigation to be conducted.) Our services include laboratory inspection, on-site investigation and auditing, and an expert witness service for legal or civil disputes.
Our preventative quality assessments and performance testing ensures due diligence is completed before products are placed on the market, or following concerns or complaints about existing products.
We investigate a range of product failures and related issues, including
- glass breakages and fracture diagnosis
- failure types – including those due to nickel sulphide inclusions, commonly referred to as ‘spontaneous glass failure’ or ‘spontaneous glass breakage’
- glass impacts and suspected vandalism
- thermal failures and thermal shock
- internal pressure
- vertical load
- product failures, cracking and fractures
- insulating glass unit failures
- component interactions
- fit for purpose analysis
Depending on the nature of the product and the failure, various techniques are used to investigate and diagnose the cause of a failure, including
- reconstruction of failed, broken and damaged articles
- interpretation of fracture patterns
- analysis of fracture origins
- physical testing of intact samples
- assessment of the product design
- optical microscopy
- scanning electron microscopy – including composition of surface deposits, inclusions and contamination by energy dispersive spectrometry
- compositional analysis
We provide analysis for a wide range of glass products including
- architectural glass and glazing – including toughened, laminated and annealed glass used in windows, insulated glass units and horizontal floor panels
- glass packaging – including champagne, wine, beer and non-carbonated drink bottles, jars and ramekins
- domestic glass – including table glasses, ovenware, cookware, bowls, vases and jugs
- pharmaceutical packaging – including glass vials, ampoules, bottles and syringes
- automotive glass for cars and commercial and industrial vehicles
- furniture and fittings – including tables, mirrors, shower screens and shelves
- scientific glassware – including beakers, conical flasks, burettes and tubes
- technical glass – including specialist glass components
Glass failure analysis leadership and expertise
Our experts have extensive experience in determining the reason for glass failure and can provide solutions and recommendations. We provide this service for a huge range of glass products, including containers, homeware, vials, syringes and flat glass.