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destructive testing

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  • TERM: destructive testing

    DEFINITION:

    Prolonged endurance testing under the most severe operating conditions, continued until the component, equipment, or product specimen fails (is broken or destroyed). The purpose of destructive testing is to determine service life and to detect design weaknesses that may not show up under normal working conditions. Designed to find weaknesses that are not immediately apparent, destructive testing is usually much more decisive than non-destructive testing. A crash test is a form of destructive testing usually performed in order to ensure safe design standards in crashworthiness and crash compatibility for various modes of transportation or related systems and components. The process is sometimes referred to as "Testing to Destruction".

    EXAMPLE:

    ' Dwayne was silent for a while. And then he told her haltingly about a trip he had made to the headquarters of the Pontiac Division of General Motors. . .

    ' "We were given a tour of all the research facilities," he said. The thing that impressed him most, he said, was a series of laboratories and out-of-doors test areas where various parts of automobiles and even entire automobiles were destroyed. Pontiac scientists set upholstery on fire, threw gravel at windshields, snapped crankshafts and driveshafts, staged head-on collisions, tore gearshift levers out by the roots, ran engines at high speeds with almost no lubrication, opened and closed glove compartment doors a hundred times a minute for days, cooled dashboard clocks to within a few degrees of absolute zero, and so on.

    ' "Everything you're not supposed to do to a car, they did to a car," Dwayne said to Francine. "And I'll never forget the sign on the front door of the building where all that torture went on." Here was the sign Dwayne described to Francine:

    = DESTRUCTIVE TESTING =

    ' "I saw that sign," said Dwayne, and I couldn't help wondering if that was what God put me on Earth for -- to find out how much a man could take without breaking. '

    -- From Kurt Vonnegut's 1973 novel Breakfast of Champions Chapter 15 (pages 165 - 166).

    TAGS: endurance testing, service life, normal working conditions, non-destructive testing, crash test, safe, safety, design standards, crashworthiness, crash compatibility, Testing to Destruction

    CITATION:

    1973 KURT VONNEGUT, JR. Breakfast of Champions, or, Goodbye Blue Monday (c) 1973 by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. Delacorte Press / Seymour Lawrence. Second Printing.

    Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data:
    Vonnegut, Kurt. Breakfast of champions. I. Title.
    PZ4.V948BR PS3572.05 813'.5'4 72-13086

    August 27, 2013