In destructive testing, tests are carried out to the specimen's failure, in order to understand a specimen's structural performance or material behaviour under different loads. These tests are generally much easier to carry out, yield more information, and are easier to interpret than nondestructive testing.
Destructive testing is most suitable, and economic, for objects which will be mass-produced, as the cost of destroying a small number of specimens is negligible. It is usually not economical to do destructive testing where only one or very few items are to be produced (for example, in the case of a building).
Some types of destructive testing:
Testing of large structures
Building structures or large nonbuilding structures (such as dams and bridges) are rarely subjected to destructive testing due to the prohibitive cost of constructing a building, or a scale model of a building, just to destroy it.
Earthquake engineering requires a good understanding of how structures will perform at earthquakes. Destructive tests are more frequently carried out for structures which are to be constructed in earthquake zones. Such tests are sometimes referred to as crash tests, and they are carried out to verify the designed seismic performance of a new building, or the actual performance of an existing building. The tests are, mostly, carried out on a platform called a shake-table which is designed to shake in the same manner as an earthquake. Results of those tests often include the corresponding shake-table videos.
Testing of structures in earthquakes is increasingly done by modelling the structure using specialist finite element software.
Destructive software testing
Destructive software testing is a type of software testing which attempts to cause a piece of software to fail in an uncontrolled manner, in order to test its robustness.
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