A California failure analysis expert witness was asked to perform a glass failure analysis on a champagne bottle that had failed “spotnaeously”. Because champagne is under pressure and in glass, there are warnings not to use a cork screw to remove the cork. However, there are cases where the cork is stuck and people will use a tool to extract the cork. The danger is that the tool can damage the inner wall of the bottle neck and initiate a crack that will cause bottle failure. In the present case, a tool was used to pry the cork out and it caused “chatter” damage on the inner wall of the neck very near the top. This damage initiate a crack that finally caused bottle failure. Upper left is a 20X photomicrograph of the damage to the neck inner wall. Upper right is a 20X photomicrograph of the failure origin on the fracture surface. Again, because a champagne bottle is under pressure, one should never use a tool to remove a stubborn cork. There was no manufacturing defect; this bottle failed as a result of handling damage.
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