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the description of fractured metal surfaces in order to analyze the causes and process of fracture. Fracto-graphic examination may be performed by the unaided eye or with the use of a magnifier, optical microscope, or electron microscope. Transmission electron microscopes are used to examine a replica of the fracture surface, whose contrast is reinforced by shadowing, that is, by depositing a layer of metal on it, rather than the fracture itself. The fracture surface itself can be studied with a scanning electron microscope. The type of fracture encountered depends on the type of stress imposed (static, impact, or variable), the conditions under which stress is applied (such as the temperature and type of medium), the nature of crack extension (intragranular or intergranular fracture), and the degree of development of plastic deformation in failure (brittle or ductile fracture).