Mechanical failure analysis in a virtual reality environment

J. P. Li, G. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper is part of a research theme to develop methods that enhance risk assessment studies by the use of 'automated' failure analysis. The paper presents an approach to mechanical failure analysis and introduces a mechanical failure analysis module that can be used in a virtual reality (VR) environment. The module is used to analyse and predict failures in mechanical assemblies; it considers stress related failures within components, as well as failures due to component interactions. Mechanical failures are divided into two categories in this paper: material failures and interference failures. The former occur in components and the latter happen at the interface between components. Individual component failures can be analysed readily; a contribution of the mechanical failure analysis module is to predict interference failures. A mechanical failure analysis system that analyses and visualizes mechanical failures in a virtual environment has been developed. Two case studies demonstrate how the system carries out failure analysis and visualization as design parameters are changed. © IMechE 2005.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberE01204
Pages (from-to)237-250
Number of pages13
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part E: Journal of Process Mechanical Engineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2005


  • Complex failure
  • Failure modelling
  • Mechanical failure
  • Modelling and simulation
  • Virtual reality
  • Visualization


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