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039: Embracing Digital Technologies in Fracture Mechanics

Posted By Digital Enterprise Society, Wednesday, February 12, 2020
Updated: Monday, February 10, 2020

039: Embracing Digital Technologies in Fracture Mechanics


On today’s episode, Thom and Craig welcome Greg Thorwald, a principal consulting engineer at Quest Integrity, to discuss the current trends of crack predictions.  Greg is an expert in structural, fracture, and fatigue crack growth assessments and offers a look at the role that digital technologies play in fracture mechanics. He also shares basic steps that anyone can take to pave the way for a more successful career path.  With over 20 years of experience in the industry, Greg has advice that you won’t want to miss.  

On today’s podcast, you will learn:

The need for crack prediction in every industry

  • How experts predict if a crack is going to cause imminent machine failure. 

  • The predicted timeline and severity of crack, and when it will require repair, reinforcement, or repair. 

  • The tools used to locate a crack in a machine, whether it’s above or underground.

  • The job of a smart PIG.

The role of computer technology in crack prediction

  • Improved models combined with increased quantity of analyses run offer a better understanding of cracks than ever before.

  • The “what-if” analysis can allow for better crack outcomes under current conditions. 

  • Lifespan predictions present odds that companies can weigh against risk tolerance.  

  • The role that 3D printing can play in crack initiation analysis. 

Advice for growing your career

  • Students need to understand the most fundamental concepts of the industry, starting with math and English. 

  • Seek opportunities to attend conferences to increase your industry understanding.

  • Ask questions and make efforts to expand your growing network.


Greg Thorwald is a Principal Consulting Engineer at Quest Integrity with a demonstrated history of working with clients in a variety of industries, including oil & energy, aerospace and nuclear. He is skilled in custom software development using Fortran and C#, and skilled in using Finite Element Analysis, Fracture Mechanics, and Structural Engineering to examine structural components with defects or damage. Greg is a strong engineering professional with a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) from the University of Colorado Boulder. 

Tags:  3D Printing  Machine Failure  Predictive Analytics 

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