Material failure is determined by a suite of deformation mechanisms with differing kinetics, operating together to present an integrated response to an observer. To elucidate processes requires separating one from another in order to construct physically-based descriptions of behaviour. Observing a material, in which failure processes are controlled by a designed impulse and are at a suitable scale, offers the possibility of separating operating mechanisms. A highly synchronised, loading test frame has been developed by Diamond and Manchester. It has already been fielded at the ESRF and shown excellent results using ultra-high speed, single bunch imaging in simple test problems. Now that the device has been proven, we show studies on the compression and fracture of glass and quartz. The results indicate several modes of failure and emphasise the need for further fast radiography to elucidate failure mechanisms in solids.