By Fred Schenkelberg
We can make a guess, some assumptions, or conduct an experiment. In fact, we use engineering judgement, prudent assumptions to create our experiments that lead to understanding time to failure information. Accelerated life testing, ALT, is one of the most complex and important types of experiments we conduct. It involves samples, failure mechanisms, stress, measurements, and statistics.
In my experience, there are three basic approaches to ALT: Test to pass, test to failure, and degradation testing. Each may or may not be an appropriate approach for a given situation. Each may lead to faulty or excellent results.
Let’s discuss a little about the challenges and constraints along with the attributes of each these three approaches. And, how to determine which approach is appropriate for your current situation. We’ll also explore when and why you should conduct an ALT. That may be a fourth approach, deciding not to conduct the experiment.