Failure Analysis in Aerospace Advancements

In 1903, the Wright brothers made history and presented the first aircraft capable of sustaining powered flight. Flight was made possible by the breakthrough invention of pilot operated wing-warping, crafted carefully by detailed research and incredible engineering.1 This success thus resulted in the birth of the aerospace industry.

From 1903 to modern times, the industry has expanded into commercial airplanes, spacecrafts, satellites, missiles and more, consequentially resulting in increasingly more complex electronic systems. Although these technological advancements are welcomed and necessary in today’s climate, the complexities that come with development present a variety of new problems including quality and safety standards.

EAG can assist with your failure analysis needs.

Mil Std 883 TM 1018

How EAG can help:

In the aerospace industry, electronics are subjected to extreme environmental variables such as wide and sudden swings in temperature, strong vibrations, lightning strikes, a multitude of forces acting in different directions simultaneously, severe pressure differentials, moisture intrusion, and ionizing radiation. This can lead to potential issues with control systems, impair aircraft sensors, hinder communication systems, and even compromise structural integrity. To help solve these problems, EAG’s failure analysis experts use advanced analytical tools and proven methodologies to achieve high quality results and reliable engineering assessment.


Some examples of techniques and tools we can use:

  • 2D Real-time X-Ray Imaging: Solder joint analysis, characterize package/assembly/manufacturing steps
  • 3D X-Ray/Computed Tomography (CT): Identifying minute anomalies non-destructively, reconstruction to verify or validate builds
  • Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM): High magnification imaging to identify even the smallest of defects
  • Wire Pull & Ball Shear Testing: Qual testing on various package construction types with different wire bonding materials
  • Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS/EDX): Identifying foreign elements such as corrosive agents
  • Fault Isolation Tools such as infrared/thermal imaging (IR), photo emission microscopy (PEM) or XIVA/OBIRCH
  • Scanning Acoustic Microscopy (SAM/CSAM): Characterizing interfaces non-destructively to steer the physical analysis in the right direction
  • Decapsulation and Sample Prep (Decap/De-lid/Backside Thinning): Enabling radiation testing to ensure the robustness of electronic devices prior to flight missions
  • Physical Failure Analysis (PFA): To confirm the failure mechanism and to understand root cause
  • System level debug: design/schematic review, bench testing, micro probing, and functional evaluation to troubleshoot and isolate failing circuits, devices or components
  • And more

EAG is a certified partner (ISO 9001:2015, ISO 17025, ITAR compliant, MIL standards compliant) and offers services to assist with the innovation of new high-performance electronics, collaborate during the iterative efforts of increasing long term reliability, and when necessary, perform comprehensive investigations to identify elusive failure mechanisms. We support innovation at every phase of the product cycle.

Our engineers are knowledgeable and experienced in today’s advanced technologies and are well equipped to help assist in your investigative needs.

Works Cited

1 Culick, F. E. C. (2003). The Wright brothers: first aeronautical engineers and test pilots. AIAA journal41(6), 985-1006.

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