Donald Wright


Associate Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Professor Wright is experienced in the application of artificial intelligence methods for the analysis of failed mechanical elements. After completion of two demonstration systems (FAXS I and FAXS II), a full-scale system (FALCON) has been implemented. The expert system produces as a final product a technical report which includes a diagnosis of both the mechanism of the fracture and the cause of failure. Categorization with Bayesian probabilities has proven more efficient than the commonly employed production rule approach. Additionally, the report includes a list of past case studies most similar to the current study.

A number of extensions to FALCON are now anticipated. The ability of the system to compare and to quantify the similarity between case studies has led us to believe that a method of learning without direct contact with experts is feasible. Further, adding the task of recommending design changes will require significant program development. In brief, the research brings together the disciplines of materials science, mechanical design and artificial intelligence.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Associate Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Contact Information

  • Office Location: 142 Engineering Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
  • Office Phone: (919) 660-5343
  • Email Address:


  • Ph.D. Purdue University, 1968
  • M.S.M.E. Duke University, 1962
  • B.S.M.E. Clarkson University, 1960

Representative Publications

  • Morrill, JP; Wright, D, A model of categorization for use in automated failure analysis, Journal of Vibration and Acoustics, vol 110 no. 4 (1988), pp. 559-563 [10.1115/1.3269568] [abs].
  • Morrill, JP; Wright, D, A knowledge-based program for diagnosing metallurgical failures, Computers & Structures, vol 24 no. 2 (1986), pp. 305-311 [10.1016/0045-7949(86)90288-9] [abs].
  • Hebrank, J; Wright, D, The effect of stimulus intensity upon the localization of sound sources on the median plane, Journal of Sound and Vibration, vol 38 no. 4 (1975), pp. 498-500 [10.1016/S0022-460X(75)80137-4] [abs].
  • Hebrank, J; Wright, D, Spectral cues used in the location of sound sources on the median plane, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. (Usa), vol 5 no. 6 (1974), pp. 1829-1834 [abs].
  • Hebrank, JH; MacDuff, JN; Wright, D, Improvements to a small free-field listening room, J. Sound Vib. (Uk), vol 35 no. 1 (1974), pp. 139-142 [abs].