Practical uses of the scanning electron microscope in commercial laboratories permits a more practical approach to failure analysis which results in improved pictorial evaluation. Reflected radiation depended upon in optical systems often obscures the true nature of the surface. The scanning electron microscope assures definition and details previously unavailable. Differentiation between changes in surface dye to abrasive wear is readily discerned and separated from the changes dye to welding, galling, scoring or similar actions associated with breakdown of the lubricant film. A number of significant failure modes are shown. Discussion is offered of details which are of value to the journeyman.