Forensic engineering is the science of failure. When products or engineered systems fail, personnel are injured, or property is damaged, we need to understand how and why. There are always root causes and contributing factors, which are very often technical in nature.
Our experts investigate cases for legal teams, plaintiffs and defendants, insurance companies, and property owners.
The following is a sample of forensic cases we have worked on.
- Destructive testing to determine DC magnetic field intensity that modern hard drives can tolerate without data loss.
- Worker allegedly received electric shock due to improperly grounded equipment.
- Neutral & grounding problems in a historic building alleged to be causing IT system interference.
- Transients from lightning strikes were discovered to be causing damage to sensitive equipment.
- Solenoid coil overheats, damaging large 3-phase electrical equipment.
- Safety device failure causes fire in HVAC electrical box.
- Fire in HVAC fan coil unit.
- An electric motor overheating causes equipment & smoke damage.
- Magnetic & electric field measurements determine exposure from power lines, electrical infrastructure or other sources.
- Post incident analysis of protective actions, electric code compliance and timeline reconstruction.
- Failure analysis
- Construction phase and post construction
Recent Forensic Activities:
Synopsis: A high current lithium ion battery being transported experienced a fault, causing severe burns. My assignment was to produce a video re-creation of the event and determine causation.
ELECTRIC UTILITY WORKER ELECTROCUTION
Synopsis: A utility employee working on high voltage overhead wiring was electrocuted. My assignment was to determine the causes of the accident.
Synopsis: An electrician working on equipment known to have defects, and on an installation with certain electrical code deficiencies, was electrocuted.
My assignment was to assess the electrical distribution system and determine what if any role the defects and deficiencies played in the accident.
Synopsis: A consumer was shocked while using and electrical appliance. My assignment was to determine cause of the incident and investigate whether product defects existed.
Synopsis: A manufacturing facility incurred major damage during a hurricane. My assignment was to assist with the insurance claim by serving as electrical expert and determining what equipment in the facility was damaged by electrical overstress (EOS).
Synopsis: A malfunction of a radio controlled cart containment system was alleged to have caused injury to a person at a retail location. My assignment was to determine the mode of failure of the system.
Synopsis: An Electrician was injured during installation of underground cabling.
My assignment was to consult on Electrical Codes & standards, and to physically and mathematically model conditions that would have existed during the incident.
HEATING SYSTEM FIRE
Synopsis: A structure fire is alleged to have been the caused by a defective component in a furnace.
Assignment: Equipment inspection, cause & origin report.
SHIP-SHORE POWER INVESTIGATION
Synopsis: A shore power facility serving a NOAA ship was experiencing excessive voltage drop and spurious breaker tripping.
My assignment was to identify errors & omissions by design engineer, determine root causes for the undesired operation, and investigate the existing design for sizing appropriateness and electrical code compliance.
HIGH VOLTAGE CONTACTOR FAILURE
Synopsis: A 5kV contactor trip coil failed resulting in destruction of a 700 horsepower air compressor.
My assignment was to determine cause of failure of the trip coil.
MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT
Synopsis: Nighttime motor vehicle accident resulting in death, where the circumstances of the accident made roadway lighting central to the cause investigation.
My assignment was to perform roadway lighting surveys and determine whether lighting was in accordance with generally accepted highway lighting design practice.
WATER MAIN RUPTURE
Synopsis: A 10 foot diameter underground water main ruptured, leaving large sections of a major US city and surrounding areas without domestic water service.
My assignment was to prove or disprove a theory that stray ground currents from surrounding railroad and electrical infrastructure played a role in premature corrosion of the failed pipe and fittings.
TRANSFORMER GROUNDING FAULT
Synopsis: Loss of a single utility phase revealed a high impedance ground fault due to installing electrician’s wiring error. No protective action occurred, causing the equipment grounding conductor to melt and damage surrounding feeder conductors also.
My Assignment was to determine the cause of the accident and provide corrective design modifications.
DIGITAL COMMUNICATION SYSTEM FAILURE
Synopsis: Widespread intermittent failures in an automated digital communication system.
My assignment was to determine the cause of the failures and determine whether manufacturers allegations of power quality and proper grounding were to blame.
ELECTRICAL SHOCK INVESTIGATION, MANUFACTURING FACILITY
Synopsis: A worker received a shock while using a sheet metal bending machine.
My assignment was to determine the cause of the shock and make recommendations for corrective action.
ELECTRICAL FIRE – WAREHOUSE
Synopsis: A large warehouse was completely consumed by a fire alleged to have originated in one of two reciprocating compressors.
My assignment was to determine whether an electrical fault within compressors caused the fire.
ELECTRICAL FIRE – MANUFACTURING FACILITY
Synopsis: An immersion heating element in a manufacturing building was accidentally energized in the course of making repairs to a fan motor, resulting in a structure fire.
My assignment was to determine whether the electrical contractor’s safety precautions were appropriate for the scope of work involved.
HVAC CONTROL SYSTEM FAILURE
Synopsis: Equipment manufacturer blaming building power quality for HVAC control system malfunctions following an extensive building energy efficiency upgrade.
My assignment was to perform power quality monitoring and determine whether any observed power quality anomalies could be responsible for the malfunctions.
STANDBY GENERATOR – E & O
Synopsis: A 250kW standby generator installation at a school resulted in charges for extra services approaching 400% of the contracted installation quotation.
My assignment was to define implicit responsibilities of parties involved, identify errors and omissions by design-builder, and report on design flaws in material, workmanship and code compliance.
OVERHEATED CIRCUIT BREAKER
Client Name: Plaintiff
My assignment was to determine root cause of, and assess any safety risk presented by an overheated circuit breaker serving critical hospital equipment.
Synopsis: Plaintiff allegedly received shock & burn from hair dryer that experienced an electrical failure. My assignment was to analyze the failure and determine whether the conditions at time of failure would have allowed for the victim to receive a shock.
UNINTERRUPTIBLE POWER SUPPLY FAILURE
Synopsis: A large redundant energy storage system protecting a data center experienced several catastrophic failures.
My assignment was to determine cause of the UPS failures.
HYDRONIC HEATING SYSTEM FAILURE
Synopsis: A hydronic heating system leak caused extensive flooding damage in a school.
My assignment was to examine and test electrical heating system components in order to identify root causes and contributing factors to the failure.
|Permission to use or disclose my name in negotiations, or otherwise, or in any formal or informal way indicate that I am a consultant or expert witness in any matter, is not granted until I have been retained in that matter.|