Damage analyses: identifying material damage and its causes

Material damage can occur to buildings, materials or construction components. These damages often entail far-reaching consequences and additional costs. Causes are manifold and depend on many factors.

WESSLING carries out various analyses in the laboratories, including tests on damage on plastic parts and metallic components.

WESSLING is your partner if you want to conduct a systematic damage analysis. We will assist you to take stock, identify the cause of damage by using analytical methods, and provide you with solutions for repairing the damage. Damaged material reduces the value of a building or product and can even render it unusable. Damage to building materials and components can also cause costly production losses. This makes it all the more important to avoid defects and analyse their causes in order to promptly limit economic losses and any subsequent damages.

WESSLING expertise for material damage: analysis, damage hypotheses and adjustment tests

We work as a team of experts from various disciplines and combine consulting and instrumental analysis. We prepare a damage hypothesis, with you, either on-site or on the basis of your products, materials or components. Possible damage patterns may include mould on walls, pitting in metal, damage to paint or varnish, and the breakage of plastic components.

Analysis of materials

In our laboratories we conduct instrumental analyses to categorise the damage, and adjustment tests to find its cause. 

We analyse the following materials:

  • Metals: aluminium, iron and steel
  • Inorganic non-metallic materials: glass and ceramics
  • Organic-polymer materials: plastics and wood

Identifying the cause of damage, based on the results of our analyses, is the prerequisite for rapid remedial action.

Your benefits from a damage analysis

Systematic tests are used to derive targeted measures both to avert and prevent damage. Failure analyses, according to the VDI 3822 series of guidelines, will result in the optimisation of the selection of materials and in the improvement in quality assurance for you.


Contact person for issues relating to damage analysis

We will be happy to support you.

Jens Reiber

A look inside the laboratory: damage analysis at WESSLING

01 Damage description and assessment

When you commission us to conduct a damage analysis, we start with describing the damage. This description is based on background information, such as documents or photographs. This is followed by an assessment of the damaged products, materials or construction components made available to us. If a holistic approach is taken, we will also conduct an on-site inspection. Based on the damage description and assessment, the damage is comprehensively documented, and a damage hypothesis is derived.

material wear

02 Damage hypothesis and testing plan

A detailed damage description allows to deduce various theories as to the cause of the damage. For this purpose, a probable, hypothetical cause of damage is established from the damage description and the available data. Then this theory needs to be substantiated by the subsequent investigations. For this purpose, we prepare a testing plan to analyse the damaged materials.

03 Analysis

The appropriate analysis method is selected on the basis of the samples, the material, and the damage hypothesis. Our laboratories provide a wide variety of testing methods and assessment procedures for this purpose. The instrumental analysis methods we use include scanning electron microscopy (REM/EDX), light microscopy, FTIR spectroscopy and Raman spectroscopy.

 Analysis of a sample under the microscope

04 Deduction of the cause of damage

To determine the cause of damage, the results of the damage description, assessment and instrumental analyses are combined together. The result of the damage analysis should provide sufficiently reliable indications as to the possible cause of damage. In this way, the damage hypothesis is confirmed, and the cause of damage is clearly identified. We document this and break it down into primary and secondary damage influences, and make recommendations for damage remedy.