“After a failure” investigations are typically performed to identify root cause of failure, calculate risk exposure and develop mitigation and remediation solutions. Just like with “before a failure” investigation, there are two specific test methods that could be applied to either of the two categories – non-destructive physical analysis (NPA) and destructive physical analysis (DPA).
Performing a “before a failure” investigation on electronics is typically done for various reasons. One reason is to identify weak components or sub-systems before committing to a full-blown production run and its associated expenses. Comparison testing of similar component parts to reduce costs and increase reliability of existing designs, or against a competitor’s offerings is another reason. A “before a failure” investigation can validate a design to satisfy customer or market specifications, or regulatory obligations, which is common among the aerospace and medical devices fields.