What was the challenge or problem to solve?
Faced with a massive breakage of concrete counterweights, INFINITIA’s Forensic Engineering team carried out an investigation to determine the origin of the failure and prevent it from being reproduced in other elements.
After a series of tests using different analytical techniques, the root cause of the fracture, the lack of bond between the grains and the binder, was identified. Thanks to this cause-effect diagnosis, our client was able to implement the appropriate measures in the manufacturing process of the counterweights, thus neutralising the failure.
We carried out an initial on-site examination, which consisted of a detailed visual inspection of the failed component and the fracture surface, as well as the state of the material in the rest of the part. The objective was to detect possible critical points, defects, inclusions or other indications that would allow an initial analysis of the origin of the breakage.
Next, an attempt was made to locate possible defects in the homogeneity of the material. To do this, a comparison was made of the differences of the piece in the area where the breakage had occurred with respect to an intact piece.
Based on this preliminary analysis, bibliographical references were sought so that the materials, processes and failure mechanisms related to the case study could be contrasted.
Using various analysis techniques, the fracture surface was observed in order to observe possible defects in the part. The most relevant data obtained in this phase of the research were recorded: the size of the pieces, the percentage of cement in the concrete, the types of aggregates and the porosity.
With all the information collected, we hypothesised the cause of the fracture. The possible causes identified, the effects they would entail and the analyses or tests that could be carried out to validate or reject these scenarios were presented.
Finally, a full report was produced and the main conclusions drawn were presented to the client in order to define the next steps and formulate the most appropriate solutions.
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