A practical guide to engineering failure investigation by Clifford Matthews

By Clifford Matthews

A realistic advisor to Engineering Failure research has been written with the explicit function of supporting these interested in severe engineering mess ups. while mechanical plant fails, the technical, criminal and contractual concerns develop into very concerned and complex, and figuring out causation could be tricky and lengthy. the rules and methodologies defined the following may also help engineers to hyperlink their technical wisdom to the economic realities of operating with insurers, loss adjusters and their representatives.

This booklet is key examining for experts, specialist witnesses and all engineers who may well get involved in advertisement failure investigations.

CONTENTS comprise:

  • the right way to use this publication
  • expert roles and duties
  • procedure and strategies of failure research
  • The inspection stopover at
  • Doing a layout and operation appraisal
  • Mechanisms of failure
  • finding out causation
  • the right way to current your conclusions
  • coverage investigations – deferring failure ‘events’ and proximate reason – subrogation.

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Additional info for A practical guide to engineering failure investigation

Sample text

It is rather pointless just to ask for 'metallurgical tests' on a failed component. There is a less-than-even chance that the conclusions will contain anything useful and you will be at risk of being drawn into a 'further research' programme, with all the attendant dangers I have described. So the key tactical points are: AVOID ONGOING RESEARCH WORK. And, for those simple tests that are required: USE A HYPOTHESIS APPROACH TO GIVE SOME DIRECTION TO THE TESTS.

The biggest one, perhaps, relates to its origin - the term was not conceived to help sort out engineering failures, rather it grew out of the wide variety of risks covered by insurance companies - so it is, at best, a lowest common denominator term. This means that the doctrine of proximate cause does not always sit easily with the technical facts of an engineering failure - you sometimes have to make simplifications (and occasional assumptions) to make it fit. The concept of a cause being proximate in efficiency, rather than proximate in time, can also sometimes be difficult 24 Engineering Failure Investigation to fit to an engineering failure, particularly one involving fatigue, as you will find the terms and conventions are not always a precise match.

While the technical skills involved in understanding and analysing engineering failures are quite traditional and straightforward, the ways in which the process is conducted, and the methods by which conclusions are expressed (and used), are not. There are some well-rehearsed techniques and practices which have developed and which are specific to the generic discipline of failure investigation. These can save you a lot of time and effort - and will mean that you will be more effective in your role.

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