Thermodynamic Degradation SciencePhysics of Failure, Accelerated Testing, Fatigue and Reliability Applications

Alec Feinberg
Dr. Alec Feinberg is the founder of DfRSoft. He has a Ph.D. in Physics and is the principal author of the book, Design for Reliability. Alec has provided reliability engineering services in all areas of reliability including solar, thin film power electronics, defense, microelectronics, aerospace, wireless electronics, and automotive electrical systems. He has provided training classes in Design more


The talk will cover new methods in the field of physics of failure. It overviews many topics in my new book Thermodynamic Degradation Science. New methods discussed will be solving physics of failure problems using an energy approach and detecting on-board impending failure (called, Mesoscopic” analysis) as well as the new science itself. Practical Physics of Failure: The topics covered will focus on predicting and detecting impending failure on everything from components, devices, to systems and provides important engineering tools. It should help you in many ways in failure assessment, designing accelerated tests, and estimating product degradation, which while difficult, can be simplified. I will start off with a thermodynamic framework, as it helps to explain perfectly why things age. This quickly evolves into some relatively easy-to-use tools/methods, using a simple energy approach. The framework is as basic as Work equals Force x Distance, which is our energy approach. Therefore, in this talk one does not have to work with thermodynamics to understand how to solve the physics of failure problems we address. However, if you are interested in this new thermodynamic degradation field, I believe it turns out to be a much easier way for learning thermodynamics than standard books, and yields predictive, useful tools. Physics of Failure Topics: I will try and address numerous physics of failure problems in the time allotted. The main examples I should be able to overview are creep, wear, thermal and vibration fatigue, Miner’s rule, and human heart failure. I will also shed some light in the area of accelerated testing that I call environmental profiling. All and all you will present lifetime models not found elsewhere. Here is some of the material that is new with this science: Solving physics of failure problems with an energy approach greatly simplifies predictive modeling, estimating acceleration factors for tests and also allows for environmental profiling. Environmental profiling helps when you have multiple stress exposures on a product in the field and are trying to specify an accelerated test. A major help is the subject of detecting impending failure with a method we call “Mesoscopic” noise analysis which can help electrically detect early signs of failure in complex systems, engines and even in components. We also provide data on how this has been applied to detect human congestive heart failure. There are new and interesting topics in thermodynamics that I will present, so you should also gain valuable insights on life of materials and understanding why things age, including humans and other forms of life. I hope to get to a lot of this new material as time allows.

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