An Insight into our Glass Failure Analysis

Glass materials come in a diverse range of compositions and forms, and are used for many applications including:

  • Architectural glass and glazing, e.g. windows

  • Packaging, e.g. bottles, jars and containers

  • Furniture and domestic goods, e.g. tables, kitchen appliances

  • Industrial equipment, containers and vessels

At LFI we use numerous years of experience and expertise in materials science and forensic engineering to carry out investigations into the failure of glass and glazing products.

Some examples of the types of incidents we have investigated are:

  1. The ‘spontaneous’ failure of toughened glazing due to the presence of Nickel Sulphide inclusions

  2. The fracture of a glass cafetiere container due to impact damage

  3. The characterisation of glass fragments found on clothing and at the scene of a crime

  4. The mechanical damage to a glass coating of an industrial reaction vessel

  5. The fracture of a wine bottle due to corkscrew-related surface damage

Following on from initial inspection, if required, we can reconstruct fractured glass products and often carry out detailed examinations of the glass fracture patterns using a stereoscopic microscope in order to identify the origin of the failure.

Once the failure origin is established, further examination, testing and/or characterisation may be conducted to identify the cause(s) of failure.

Typical causes or factors in such failures may include:

  • A materials or manufacturing-related defect, such as Nickel Sulphide (NiS) inclusions, voids or moulding defects.

  • Damage, either unintended or malicious

  • Mechanical failure, e.g. excessive or unintended loading.

  • Improper design or materials selection

If you would like any further information on this, or any of our other areas of forensic investigation and expert witness services then please contact us at

Fracture origin of a failed glass panel

Fracture origin of a failed glass panel