Engineering Analysis of Failure: A Determination of Cause Method

Thank you for your interest in our article, Engineering Analysis of Failure: A Determination of Cause Method. To access the article, please enter your email address in the form below and press Download.

Access the Article

 

“Why Did This Happen?”


After an incident, it’s a question that asks to be answered. 


It’s up to the engineer to determine the cause of the incident, applying judgement about the reasonableness of actions associated with the failure. 
The purpose of this article is to present an engineering method for the determination of cause by the identification of defects that lead to failure. While not all failures are the result of defects (and not all defects result in failures), identification of a defect may point to opportunities to prevent recurrence and assist in the determination of cause. 


This determination of cause method, intended to assist the forensic engineer in the investigation of failure, has been presented along with two example cases. Further, a definition of defect has been proposed to facilitate the investigation of failure. The engineering judgment in the application of the method and the definition of defect hinge upon a qualified assessment of what is reasonable and what is unreasonable. Reasonableness is the core of the work of the engineers in their efforts to protect the public. As noted at the onset of this paper, the results of the forensic engineer’s analysis are useful in addressing the question of loss resolution, recovery, and compensation.
A determination of cause method, intended to assist the engineer in the investigation of failure, has been presented along with two example cases. Further, a definition of defect has been proposed to facilitate the investigation of failure. The engineering judgment in the application of the method and the definition of defect hinge upon a qualified assessment of what is reasonable and what is unreasonable. Reasonableness is the core of the work of the engineers in their efforts to protect the public. As noted at the onset of this paper, the results of the engineer’s analysis are useful in addressing the question of loss resolution, recovery, and compensation.

Download the full article to learn:

  • an engineering model for the determination of cause
  • a flowchart that will guide you through the method
  • an exploration of the legal and practical definitions of defects
  • the four causes of failures
  • two case studies to illustrate the method
  • and more!

This article is intended to assist the forensic engineer investigating the failure. We lay out a new method for determining cause by identifying the defects that could have led to failure. Use of this method identifies causes of failure beyond just the actions of responsible parties, including acts of nature and wear and tear. Once the cause is identified, the resolution, recovery, and recurrence prevention process can move forward.