Metallurgical Failure Analysis, aptly describes the process, the complete analysis of all the failure modes of a metal failure. A metallurgist or metallurgical engineer is best equipped to analyze a metal product failure. Broken or damaged metal involved in an accident must be analyzed and evaluated to determine if the metal may have contributed to the accident. An accident or failure of a metal component, whether it is a simple consumer product such as a hammer or chisel, or a complex multi-component machine such as an airplane or a space shuttle, will normally not be a simple failure. Metallurgical failures can be complex; often two, three or more separate but necessary circumstances or events are required to result in the failure or accident. Solving such a complex problem is much like solving a multi-piece jigsaw puzzle.
A metallurgist's analysis of a metal failure may include many of the following: