Contamination, material failure or manufacturing defects – we can help
Contamination, material failure or manufacturing defects – we can help

Failure analysis

We get to the bottom of the causes

If, despite careful production, a defect occurs or a complaint is received, our failure analysis department will be pleased to help you.

Failure analysis 

  • Documentation and chemical analysis of contamination

Material failure and manufacturing defects

  • Material characterization (see product analysis)
  • Chemical characterization of inclusions, defects, impurities, ...
  • Interface analysis for adhesion or wetting problems, paint defects and coating problems
  • Verification of material properties and component specifications, ...
  • Simulation of critical process parameters

The interpretation of measurement results and the correlation with the manufacturing process is a distinct strength of the failure analysis of Analytik Service Obernburg. You do not only receive data, but also an competent interpretation. Give us a try!


Various microscopic and spectroscopic methods are available at Analytik Service Obernburg for failure analysis:

  • The stereo light microscope is essential for an overview documentation and for sample preparation. Often, after a first overview at the stereo light microscope, the further procedure for the analysis is determined.
  • Structures with a size of a few micrometres can be resolved under the light microscope. For example, flow lines in the polymer can be examined at a cross-section, the filler distribution can be analyzed, inclusions and foreign material can be visualised, and so on. Important for an effective failure analysis is a appropriate sample preparation (embedding, microtome section, cross-section, contrasting, ...) as well as different imaging conditions such as bright field, dark field, fluorescence, phase contrast, incident light and transmitted light.
  • With a scanning electron microscope (SEM-EDX), components can be imaged with significantly higher resolution and depth of field. In addition to topography contrast, material contrast provides information on material homogeneity. If there are any anomalies, these can be examined with the connected X-ray analysis (EDX) at a resolution of a few micrometres with regard to the element composition.
  • The extremely surface-sensitive spectroscopy ESCA/XPS allows the analysis with a penetration depth of a few nanometres. This surface sensitivity is often necessary when dealing with wetting problems or adhesion problems. As a result, the elemental composition of the surface is obtained over a larger lateral area. Using depth profiles, it is possible to investigate the change in elemental composition with depth.
  • IR spectroscopy allows the identification of organic materials. By using IR spectroscopy as a microscopic method, smaller areas with a lateral size of 20-30 µm can also be analyzed. The spectra are identified by comparison with a database. 
  • Raman spectroscopy also shows its strength in the identification of organic materials. Here, too, a combination with a microscope is possible so that inclusions of a few micrometres in size can be examined as well. 

In addition, thermal analysis (DSC), NMR spectroscopy, chromatography, solution viscosity measurement and numerous wet chemical methods are available at Analytik Service Obernburg for failure analysis.

Failure analysis procedure

A failure analysis is a process of investigating and identifying the causes of damage to materials or products. The process can vary depending on the type of defect and the material, but generally includes the following steps:

  1. Failure inspection: Before the analysis begins, the failed material or product is examined in more detail and background information is collected about the component and possible effects acting on the component.
  2. Sampling: Representative samples of the defective material or product are taken to perform the analysis. These samples are then prepared for further analysis.
  3. Analysis: Samples are examined using various analytical methods, depending on the nature of the damage and the material. This may include microscopy (light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy), spectroscopy (IR spectroscopy, XPS), chemical analysis, thermal analysis, etc.
  4. Reporting: Upon completion of the analysis, the results are documented and summarized in a report. The report includes information on the nature of the failure, possible causes, and recommendations to correct the problem.
  5. Implementation: recommendations are then made to correct the problem to ensure that the material or product is safe and reliable again.

It is important to note that the choice of analytical methods and the performance of the analysis should be carried out by qualified and experienced experts to ensure that the results are reliable and accurate.

Rainer Ziel
Failure analysis, microscopy and surface analysis
ESCA-Spektrometer (XPS) zur oberflächenempfindlichen Messung der Elementzusammensetzung
Raman-Spektrometer von Senterra für Mikrospektroskopie

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