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ENC 3246: Professional Communication for Engineers

This guide provides you with information sources for the various assignments in Professional Communication for Engineers course.

Identifying Failures & Finding Resources for Failure Analysis: A Step by Step Guide

1. Finding Types & Causes of Failure in Your Area

Identify a Topic

Ask yourself “What area am I interested in focusing on?”
Instead of trying to focus on your entire field, think about how you can narrow your focus to a topic within that field (i.e. orthopedic implants, powertrain systems, bridges, wind turbines, etc.). If you have a specific failure in mind, make sure that it did not occur too recently. It takes time for failures to be analyzed and reports on those failures to be produced.

Once You Have Identified a Topic

Now that you have a direction to head, there are several resources you can use to find the types of failures that relate to that topic.

  • Books

If the topic is broad, you may be able to locate a book (or chapters in a book) that provide an overview of the types of failures. To do this, use the UF Catalog.
For example:

2. Finding Testing Types, Testing Methods, and Standards

Reviewing books and articles on your topic may give you an idea of the testing types & methods associated with the failures in your area as well as the standards employed. Here are some library resources that can help you explore these more:

3. Identifying a Case to Analyze

Ask yourself “Am I trying to find information on case that is too recent?”

Currency is usually good, but in the case of failure analysis, time needs to elapse in order to allow for analyses to be conducted and reports/articles to be published.

You may have already have found an ideal case through your searches of the tools listed above, but if not, use these tools to search for articles that discuss cases:

4. Investigating that Case

The articles and reports you locate in the section above should feature the methods of testing and standards are applied to the failure. If you need more information regarding standards, here are some options:

  • Standards – the library can give you access to some standards
    • ASTM Standards – conduct a search and then select “My Subscription” from the Refine Your Results menu to see what UF has access to
    • IEEE Standards
    • What if I can’t get access to the standard I need? Try these alternatives to extrapolate the information you need for your paper:
      • Search for the standard in Google or TechStreet – many times there is a preview available that will supply you with sufficient information about the standard
      • Search the journal literature for the standard to find articles that apply the standard
      • Search the web for the standard to find open access reports that apply the standard

5. Recommendations for that case

At this point, you should have all the resources you need and you can glean from the information already gathered.

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