Forensic Engineering Fault Analysis

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Forensic Engineering Fault AnalysisSiri McClean Juan Marges Newaz Mahmud

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What is Forensic Engineering/Fault Analysis?(′fölt ə′nal·ə·səs) (engineering) The detection and analysis of problems in technical systems, especially by means of a scheme in which one or more computers monitor the technical equipment to signal any issues and designate the components responsible.* *Sci-Tech Dictionary McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms, 6th edition, published by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. http://www.donan.com/clientfiles/images/Forensic%20Engineer.jpg

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The process of forensic engineering is the observation and monitoring of a sequence of events that lead to some sort of technical issue Malfunction can range from a computer defection resulting in the misrepresentation of data to the collapse of a large piece of infrastructure. http://www.saestrin.com/ images/trop1.jpg

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What is its importance?Forensic engineering organizations collect, analyze and evaluate scientific data of real world projects assess the risks that may result from practical problems Also assess damage made by incorrect calculations Groups are often found working with satellite imaging, hydrocarbon industry, coal mine & mineral deposits and seismic data. http://www.bisonengineering.com/images/spot_images/ People.jpg

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Members of these organizations also become important expert witnesses when it comes to litigation cases in court. Important in contributing information to the case and explaining situations to juries Cases concerning forensic engineering often cross over to law when people are hurt due to a company’s carelessness or illegal actions. http://qbfire.com/images/site/mva_500.jpg

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History of Forensic EngineeringForensic engineers reconstruct events that occurred or reconstruct laboratory scenarios in order to better understand recent events Most often used inmotor-vehicle accidents during police investigations Was critical in understanding the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995 Also helped solve the case of the September 11 attacks in 2001 http://www.northwestrecon.com/_borders/overhead%20vehicles.jpg

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In the past century investigators have tried to recreate crimes in their minds or on paper. Shown and illustrated through the thoughts of police officers and investigators to help people understand the thought process Newer technology has enabled more accurate projecting, sequencing and probabilities.http://www.nashvillescholars.net/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/arthur-conan-doyle-sherlock-holmes.jpg

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Forensic art or illustration is used in accident reconstruction Photography is also used to help understand the sequence of events, making it possible for greater scientific examination Computer generated animations are also used to help depict the crime scene. Able to recreate and portray the crime scene more realistically using Life-like, 3D imaging

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Types of Cases That Deal With Forensic EngineeringFires Electrical Gas/Propane Explosions Accidents Mechanical Corrosion related Electrocution Carbon Monoxide Investigations

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Reconstruction Of The SceneAnalyze the Scene Of The Accident Obtain evidence and witness’s accounts of the accident Determine a sequence of events Create a timeline of what happened at the scene

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Example of a Reconstruction of an Accident: Crash of Flight 587 On November 12, 2001, Flight 587 left JFK airport headed for the Dominican Republic at 9:12 AM. Shortly after taking off, the plane crashed at 9:16 AM, leaving over 200 dead. This video is a reconstruction of the flight path and behavior of the plane, based on the information recorded on the Flight Data Recorder and the conversation recorded on the Cockpit Voice Recorder. http://www.ntsb.gov/events/2001/AA587/NTSB_reconstruction587.wmv

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The Theoretical ModelAn account of what was the cause of the accident. Redone as a computer simulation Must include any and all factors that could have affected the accident or product fail

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The Theoretical Model on the Cause of the crash of Flight 587 This picture was made to illustrate the cause of the crash of Flight 587, dispelling the conspiracy theories involving terrorists. The crash was caused by the turbulence produced by the flight before it. The conjunction with the corroding rudder brackets broke off in that flight and added to the tension which caused the malfunction. http://www.iasa.com.au/folders/Safety_Issues/others/aa587/images/vertfin.gif

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No Completely Certain Cause While the theoretical models may be supported by the evidence and witness statements, in the end, the models are just a theory and so nothing has been completely proven. The only way the theory can be considered as a complete reconstruction of what happened is by means of general acceptance.

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Advantage: Insight Into AccidentsCan provide insight in accidents that no other field can provide Reconstructions and Theoretical Models can be useful in understanding what happened

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Disadvantages: Necessary Data Easily & Quickly LostEvidence burned away in cases Fire/Arson Explosion Corrosion of Evidence Lost in Accidents Automobile Accidents Crashes & Other Machine Related Accidents

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Disadvantage: Lack of Training For Those Collecting EvidencePolice Officers That Arrive First Misinterpret Evidence Obtained At The Scene Accidents & Crashes Fires/Explosions Multiple Sometimes Contradicting Opinions of Witnesses

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AdvantagesIn some cases, questions involving: liability, responsibility, and the administration of justice may be resolved by using engineering terms. ( The engineer is necessary in translating between the legal issue and the engineering statement of the problem.) The courts need impartial, objective evidence and sometimes analysis from an engineer is the necessary one.

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Advantages Cont.Sequence of events may need to be reconstructed in court. The engineer is needed to explain the limitations by nature, to interpret conformance with specifications and regulations, and assemble and present technical evidence.

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Advantages Cont. In many cases, Forensic Engineers are crucial to a case where there are no witnesses, but it is the fault/evidence the engineer discovers will lead to the conclusion of the case.

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Disadvantages Legal profession has not yet fully recognized Forensic Engineering as an accurate source of evidence and analysis. Forensic Engineering is still rather new to the court of law, has lead to some concern over how much information it can provide. Low number of members in the Forensic Engineering profession.

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Questions raised by this new DiscoveryIs Forensic Engineering a credible source for a court setting? Forensic Engineering is hurting companies.(Companies argue that this study violates patent & copyright laws)

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New testable questions Does Forensic Engineering follow general acceptance?(can be dismissed if not) Are the members of the field “experts”? As the field its self is relatively new.

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Next Steps Gaining full expectance in legal profession/court. Gaining more members to this field. Research should be done into the positive affect Forensic Engineering has in determining the conclusion in a case.

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Bibliography"What is forensic science?." Structural Technology. 01 Jun 2000. Structural Technology Corporation, Web. 9 Nov 2009. . (Slides 2-3) Childs, Conrad. "Fault Analysis Group." Fault Analysis Group. 06 Jun 2000. School of Geological Sciences, Web. 9 Nov 2009. http://www.fault-analysis-group.ucd.ie/ (Slides 4-5) "police." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 09 Nov. 2009 . (Slides 6-8) Bass, John. "Forensic Engineer." John M. Bass P.E.. 1998. Bass Associates Inc., Web. 9 Nov 2009. . (Slides 9, 15-17) Wehlmann, Barrett. "Failure Analysis Expert." Bison Engineering. 2007. Bison Engineering, Inc., Web. 9 Nov 2009. . (Slides 10, 12, 14) Boyell, Roger. "The Emerging Role of the Forensic Engineer." Transaction on professional communication 30.1 (1987): 16-18. Web. 9 Nov 2009. . (Slides 18-20) Lewis, Gary. Guidelines for forensic engineering practice. 1. 1. Reston, VA: American Society of Civil Engineers, 2003. 84-88. Print. (Slides 21-24)

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Last Updated: 8th March 2018

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