Forensic Engineering

Equipment Damage & Failure Analysis

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We investigate the cause of equipment and system failures at industrial and commercial facilities and determine the scope of damage caused by such failures or severe weather events.

Our team has performed and managed multidisciplinary investigations into the cause and scope of damage of large and complex losses around the globe at power stations, refineries, chemical and petrochemical plants, gas processing facilities and terminals, pulp and paper mills, and numerous other industrial and commercial facilities.

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Our Services
  • Assessment of Damage to Equipment Following Fires, Explosions, Chemical Releases, Hurricanes & Freeze Events
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • Condition Assessments / Fitness-For-Service Assessments
  • Dispute & Litigation Support
  • Failure Analysis
  • Fatigue Analysis
  • Finite Element Analysis
  • Fracture Mechanics
  • Metallurgical & Materials Engineering
  • Process Engineering
  • Structural Engineering
  • Thermal / Fluid & Mechanical Analysis
Our Professionals
  • Chemists
  • Materials Scientists
  • Mechanical Engineers
  • Metallurgists
  • Process Engineers
  • Structural Engineers
  • Welding Engineers
Our Team is Engaged in Matters Involving
  • Contamination & Corrosion
  • Cranes
  • Diesel Engines
  • Furnaces, Fired Heaters & Reformers
  • Generators
  • Heat Exchangers
  • High Energy & Process Piping
  • Industrial Presses
  • Manufacturing & Design Defects
  • Mechanical Systems
  • Power, Industrial & Recovery Boilers
  • Pressure Vessels
  • Reactor Vessels
  • Rotating Equipment
  • Sag Mills & Pebble Crushers
  • Steam, Gas, Hydro & Wind Turbines
  • Yankee Dryers
Industries Served
  • Automotive
  • Biomedical Devices
  • Buildings & Construction
  • Chemical & Petrochemical
  • Food Processing
  • Mining
  • Municipal Utilities
  • Oil and Gas Production & Refining
  • Pipelines
  • Power Generation & Distribution
  • Pulp & Paper
  • Transportation
Dispute & Litigation Support

We provide a comprehensive range of services in support of dispute resolution and litigation, such as:

  • Desk review of documents including expert reports and testimony
  • Synthesize and communicate literature and testing data of complex technical issues to nontechnical personnel
  • Preparation of reports, presentations, or demonstratives for use during mediation, arbitration, or trial
  • Deposition, arbitration, and trial testimony
  • Mediation of damage and root cause claims on a technical basis
Failure Analysis

Our team utilizes our laboratory services to identify the mechanism and cause of metallic component failures, analyze process and other systemic factors that contributed to the failure, and, when applicable, estimate how long these detrimental conditions existed. We often distinguish between failures that resulted from design of the component or process/system, manufacturing or fabrication method, material deficiency or incompatibility, or as the result of outside factors (e.g., temperature or stress).

Examples of Previous Projects

Ruptured Braised Aluminum Heat Exchanger in Gas Processing Plant

Our team was retained to investigate a braised aluminum heat exchanger used in natural gas processing that ruptured due to manufacturing and design defects.

Failure of Molecular Sieves in Landfill Gas Purification Plant

Our team was retained to investigate the cause of degradation of molecular sieves that failed due to poor process design and exposure to contaminated landfill gas.

Assessment of Explosion & Fire Damage to Oil Refinery Equipment

Our team was retained to assess extensive damage to storage and reactor vessels, heat exchangers, and rotating equipment which included field metallography, portable hardness testing, thickness measurements, and the removal of test coupons for mechanical testing.

Assessment of Potential Damage to Historical Commercial Office Building Exposed to Contaminated Steam

Our team was retained to investigate the extent of damage to the interior of a building following contamination from storm floodwater that entered a steam tunnel connected to a historical office building. Extensive sampling was performed to determine what effects, if any, were experienced by components as a result of exposure to the contaminated steam. Components evaluated included electrical and telecommunication conduits and receptacles, plumbing and light fixtures, and fireproofing material.

Damage Assessment of Refinery Equipment After Exposure to Contaminated Process Fluid

Due to human error, process fluid contaminated with high levels of caustic was introduced to process piping and circulated through a process unit that had just undergone a multi-billion-dollar upgrade. Our team collected samples from throughout the unit to determine the extent of piping replacement required as a result of stress corrosion cracking that developed due to the exposure.

Failure Analysis of a Through Air Dryer in a Tissue Mill

Our team was retained to investigate the cause of fatigue cracks that developed at the clamped locations of a divider that spanned the length of a Through Air Dryer (TAD) in service at a Tissue Mill. The clamped connection imposed tensile mean stresses in excess of the material’s yield strength. This high mean stress, coupled with the white water environment in which the TAD operated and the alternating stresses due to normal operation, led to the initiation and propagation of high cycle fatigue cracks in the dividers.

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