7R27. Metal Failures: Mechanisms, Analysis, Prevention. - AJ McEvily (Dept of Metall and Mat Eng, Univ of Connecticut CT). Wiley, New York. 2002. 336 pp. ISBN 0-471-41436-0. $90.00.

Reviewed by M Walter (Dept of Mech Eng, Ohio State Univ, 206 W 18th Ave, Columbus OH 43210-1154).

The failure of metal components in service is obviously a complex subject that requires thorough understanding of loading conditions, material microstructures, operating environments, and inspection technologies. The author has done an admirable job of providing the necessary background information for understanding and analyzing metal failures. The most fascinating aspect of this book is the presentation of numerous case studies that the author uses to illustrate failure mechanisms and techniques for analysis. The prevention of metal failures is addressed primarily through the conclusions reached in the case studies.

This book is intended for use in one-semester courses for senior engineering students or graduate engineers. Within mechanical engineering departments, portions of the book would definitely be useful in upper-level, core design courses. The book could be used in its entirety for a mechanical engineering, undergraduate technical elective course. Since significant portions of the book are materials science oriented, this book is also very relevant to senior capstone courses within materials science curricula. In addition, engineers involved in accident investigation and expert witness consulting would find this book useful because of its breadth and reference to relevant literature.

The book begins with 11 descriptions of structures and vehicles that failed in service due to loads and design (eg, the 1981 Kansas City Hyatt Regency Walkways Collapse), inspection, maintenance, and repair (eg, the 1988 Aloha Airlines Boeing 737-200 Accident), and other problems (eg the 2000 Air France Concorde Crash). Subsequent chapters provide theoretical background necessary to analyze stresses (Chapter 2, Elements of Elastic and Plastic Design; Chapter 3, Elements of Fracture Mechanics), microstructure and processing (Chapter 4, Alloys and Coatings; Chapter 6, Brittle and Ductile Fractures; Chapter 11, Defects), and loadings and environment (Chapter 7, Thermal and Residual Stresses; Chapter 9, Creep Failure; Chapter 10, Fatigue; Chapter 12, Environmental Effects). Interspersed are chapters on Examination and Reporting Procedures (Chapter 5), Statistical Distributions (Chapter 6), Flaw Detection (Chapter 13), and Cranes Hooks, Coil Springs, Roller Bearings, Bushings, and Gears (Chapter 14). Although whole textbooks have been written on the subject matter of most of these chapters, the author has provided enough detail to enable meaningful analysis without overwhelming the reader. The reader who is interested in more detail can refer to the references.

Nearly all chapters have interwoven case studies that illustrate issues being discussed in the chapter. The higher profile case studies have quality photographs and illustrations that help the reader understand the investigation. For the most part, these case studies provided excellent connections between theory and practice. Future editions could attempt to further connect the case studies to the theoretical development through reference to the relevant equations and through worked examples. At the end of the book, the author has provided 3–4 problems for each chapter.

The book is well written with very good figures and a thorough index. The author’s presentation of case studies of accidents leaves the reader with a clear understanding of what went wrong. Accidents that are not the result of operator error can usually be traced back to mistakes with respect to design, construction, materials, inspection, loadings, and environment. Through reading Metal Failures: Mechanisms, Analysis, Prevention, engineers are given the tools necessary to understand, analyze, and hopefully prevent metal failures.