Damage analysis – Evaluating causes and effects experimentally

We do not just concentrate on the service life of your product. Minor damage due to material fatigue or external influences are part of the safety concept in different sectors for damage tolerance and a large range in the spectrum of our experiments.

We investigate when and where damage will occur, how it increases, which residual strength remains and how a structure reacts to something like cyclic loads after a strike (impact).

This is exactly the opposite in other areas, such as in endoprosthetics – damage caused by corrosion and particle abrasion particles are already an undesirable phenomena before the actual failure of the implant. Based on our long-standing technical expertise, we can execute materialography examinations in addition to experimental studies on implants and also evaluate cases of damage and therefore support cause clarification.

We van also provide support with our extensive investigation methods in the case of other unpredictable damage incidents such as a product failure or a building fire. We can also create neutral expert assessor reports about the cause of damage incidents when required.

Our specialists for materialography and non-destructive testing will support you with the most suitable procedure for your requirements.

Our portfolio



Whether for quality assurance, damage analysis or for research and development - in our accredited materialography laboratories we take a close look at both metallic and non-metallic materials of different composition with qualitative and quantitative characterization methods. This also includes the sample preparation procedures and the analysis, evaluation and documentation of the microscopic examination results.

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Non-destructive testing

We use numerous non-destructive testing methods to investigate the damage during component tests, in the investigation of damage cases, as a tool of quality control and especially for maintenance and repair. Qualified according to ISO 9712 and EN 4179 standards, we carry out testing and inspection activities for almost all sectors, including aviation.

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Materials Testing Metals

Our material specialists accompany you in the implementation of your test programs as well as standardization, approval and certification of materials or manufacturing processes. We stand by your side during the entire test procedure, from the consultation, test planning and sample production, over the test itself up to the finished test report.

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Material Testing for Plastics and Composite Materials

From the base material through the manufacturing technology to the approval of the finished product - our material tests are DAkkS and NADCAP accredited. This includes static, cyclic and dynamic tests as well as static long-term tests, including sample production.

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Medical Devices

In the approval and development of medical devices, we support in particular with strength and wear tests of joint endoprostheses, osteosynthesis products, traumatology products, surgical instruments and skin adhesives according to standard or special test

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Construction Products

Whether product conformity, quality and safety standards, material characterization, service life and condition assessment - IMA Dresden plays a major role here. The independent, recognized and accredited certification body, testing center, and inspection body will assist you with any questions about requirements, test procedures, and requirements of applicable standards, regulations, and laws.

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Powerful for every vehicle type - our strength tests, approval tests or development tests are proven to be reliable for testing the operational strength and service life of automotive components, media-conducting systems, electrical components and materials.

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At our testing and development center, we test all rail vehicle components and materials for strength and service life. In terms of product and operational safety as well as quality assurance, we bundle the forces of testing and test design in our company with measurement, calculation, simulation and proof of strength as well as construction.

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Whether it's for life-time certification or certification of the aircraft component, IMA engineers test, simulate, or calculate any design group of an aircraft, such as aircraft, for reliable results. B. hull works, structures, tail units, trolleys and engines and interior components.

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Wind Energy

In the development and approval process, we support manufacturers of wind turbines, component manufacturers in the development and approval process and power generation companies in validation, damage analysis, product optimization and structural monitoring. Materials, structures, components or structures are extensively tested, including characterization, strength testing, durability testing and system tests.

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Materials databases

The databases of our WIAM® product line provide material information and characteristic values ​​that are used reliably for material selection, design, standardization, calculation and simulation. The data pool draws on material and fundamental experiments from the last five decades, and new materials are systematically integrated.

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Training and Seminars

Benefit from our cross-industry know-how: In training courses and seminars directly at your company or at our site, you will receive extensive specialist knowledge - from courses for non-destructive testing (ZfP / NDT) about the FKM guideline "Computational Strength Verification of Machine Components" to software user training for WIAM® fatigue RIFEST.

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Software and Software Solutions

We have solved the management of data and documents from processes in the areas of research and development, simulation and calculation, laboratory, quality management, process development and production planning - with the WIAM® database systems we offer suitable software solutions with flexible data structures, display options and evaluations.

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Is it because of an unfavourable distribution of forces? Lacking characteristics of the material or technology? Improper heat treatment, overstressing, friction or wear? Our experienced engineers can assists you to explore undesirable damage phenomena down to the last detail – for example by means of materialography, acoustic damage detection or non-destructive testing methods.

Possible causes of damage could be:

  • Incorrect design or construction
  • Incorrect processing
  • Incorrect material selection
  • Fault in the material
  • Fault in the connection technology
  • Mechanical loads or stress
  • Thermal loads or stress
  • Medial loads or stress
  • Weathering
  • Microbial loads or stress


Damage Analysis by means of materialography

Our experienced materials engineers will assist you determine the cause of damage to your machinery, systems, plants and components. The type of damage and its origin will be identified by utilising mechanical-technological, material-analytical and materialographic examination methods. We therefore enable you to be able clarify and explain damage which, for example, has been caused by unsuitable material selection, overloading, heat treatment errors, corrosion or friction and/or wear.

We have the following testing technology available for this purpose e.g.

  • Materialographic preparation technology
  • Stereo microscopes, reflected light microscopes and light penetration microscopes
  • Digital computer-aided image documentation and image processing
  • Scanning electron microscope with connected EDX analysis
  • Hardness measuring devices (HBW, HV, HRC, UCI)
  • Surface profiling device for recording roughness profiles
  • Spark emission spectrometer for chemical analysis of metallic materials
  • Testing technology for implementing tensile, compression and bending tests

Damage Analysis by means of thermal analysis

Damage patterns on plastic products can be additionally characterised by thermal analysis, such as determining the glass transition temperature, melting temperature, crystallinity, thermal stability or the melting behaviour. Statements can be derived with regard to the cause of the damage and the mechanisms of damage due to thermal load or stress.

Testing methods

  • DSC (Differential Scanning Calometry)
  • TMA (Thermal Mechanical Analysis)

Damage Analysis by means of non-destructive testing

We can create statements regarding the quality of your test item in our own laboratories, but also at your premises. Our test personnel are qualified according to the ISO 9712 and EN 4179 standards and can provide you with these procedures which enable non-destructive testing.

  • Ultra sonic test (UT)
  • Eddy current test (ET)
  • Magnaflux test (MT)
  • Penetration test (PT)
  • Optical test methods (ARAMIS, PONTOS)
  • Visual inspection
  • Tap test
  • Thermography (TT)

Clarification of product failure cause

Despite careful testing as well as design, construction and manufacturing, faults and damage can still occur when the intended method of operation is complied with. It then essential to investigate and clarify the causes of damage and effects which the fault will create by means of systematic examinations.

For this purpose we bundle the interdisciplinary efforts from of our testing areas and support industry, expert assessors and courts in the detection of all potential influences on the cause of the damage. The basis for this is the VDI Directive 3822 for systematic damage Analysis.

Service provided:

  • Documentation of the damage pattern
  • Determining the materials, micro-structure and mechanical characteristics
  • Evaluating the status (fracture surface, surface area, corrosion, design principle, manufacturing and jointing technology)
  • Inspecting the design, version and implementation of comparative experiments
  • Creating detailed test reports with examination results

Expert assessments of steel constructions

If there has been a fire, for example in production and commercial buildings, then it is decisive for the further use to investigate whether or not the load-bearing steel structures can still continue to withstand the required loads. Equipped with mobile testing technology, we can support expert fire assessors or insurance assessors at the premises to assess the steel beams.