Causes of distorsion failure

Distorsion failure occurs when a structure or component is deformed so that it no longer can support the load it was intended to carry, is incapable of performing its intended function, or interferes with the operation of another component.

Distortion failures can be plastic or elastic and may or may not be accompanied by fracture. Distortion failures are ordinarily considered to be self-evident, for example, damage of a car body in a collision or bending of a nail being driven into hard wood. However, the failure analyst is often faced with more subtle situations. For example, the immediate cause of distortion (bending) of an automobile-engine valve stem is contact of the valve head with the piston, but the failure analyst must go beyond this immediate cause in order to recommend proper corrective measures. The valve may have stuck open because of faulty lubrication; the valve spring may Nave broken because corrosion had weakened it; the spring may Nave had insufficient strength and taken a set, allowing the valve to drop into the path of the piston; or the engine may have been raced beyond its rpm limit many times, causing coil clash and subsequent fatigue fracture of the spring.
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