Forensic engineering comes with a lower profile compared to forensic science because its work is usually associated with the civil courts. The current strands involved in forensic engineering is traced back to company laboratories that dealt with ad hoc investigations such as the Tay bridge collapse, fire investigators, and in-fire failures. Today’s forensic engineering puts a lot of emphasis when it comes to investigating consumer item failure given that more companies are being sued as a result of defective products. Here are some of the common methods employed in the forensic engineering field when investigating the causes of accidents:
Sometimes modeling impact events is important since the experimental work in this niche tend to be illegal, expensive, and challenging. The common examples include the passage of shock from detonating explosive, the projection of a non-penetrating projectile on a fuel tank and also the penetration of an aircraft skin by a fragment from a missile.
The electronic microscopes used by Falkofske Engineering have been around since the 1960s. That said, they have a lot of benefits compared to conventional optical microscopy given the increased depth of focus by about 300 and an increased magnification of 1-2000 of the optical microscope.
The electron microscope works by focusing a beam of electrons on the full specimen, and the images are later built from the secondary electron. Take note that non-metallic samples do not require conducting coating given that they can easily be examined up to atmospheric pressure and this opens up opportunities for engineering and forensic science.
Computational Fluid Dynamics
Computational fluid dynamics involves the breaking up of a structure or component into a set of controlled volumes which describes the liquid or gas flow. Additionally, it can be used to model the cooling of a turbine blade by the compressor or the spread of fire. This technique has been used by aerospace companies since the 1960s, but with the reduced cost of software and hardware, computational fluid dynamics has been employed in the forensic engineering field for the past ten years.
What’s more, forensic investigation into fire disasters such as the piper alpha platform and kings cross to determine the behavior of fast-moving flames has not been conclusive and therefore there is the need for more developments in the study of aerodynamics.
Finite Element Analysis
The finite element analysis involves the dividing of a body into different elements such as squares or triangle or any other distinct shapes which are then analyzed in response to the body as a whole. Each of these elements features a value in quantity such as displacement or stress at the corners and the values in between which can be estimated through interpolation. This method was specifically designed for the structural engineers who worked in the aeronautical industry in the 1950s.
The main reason for employing forensic engineering is to get to the cause of a structure or building collapse. Structural engineers do not necessarily need to convict anyone but to state the facts as to what might have led to the destruction. A recreation of how the building was built to the time of collapse is how the engineers can solve a mystery, and some of these methods play a huge role.