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Recent Blog Posts - Mechanical

We All Scream for Ice Cream

portrait photo of Rod

Rod Turk, P.E., CFEI

We are all familiar with ice cream; it is a welcome treat on a hot day. But the creamy, satisfying, mouthfeel of ice creams, sorbets, and gelatos are all made possible by careful combination of ice, flavorings, butterfat, and air. That’s right, tiny pockets of air in the mix allow all the frozen...

Combustion Basics and Pitfalls

Combustion is a subject that can be intimidating. The form of combustion that most people are familiar with is burning wood or paper. Believe it or not, most combustion processes are much simpler than those. We’ll get to that later. With most combustion processes, a fuel reacts with an oxidant. Take...

Gearhead Quandary: Be Flat or Be Crossed?

Most, if not all, of us know that deep rumbling sound of a V8-powered muscle car or even your garden variety V8-powered daily driver. There is almost something primal about the deep throaty sound of a V8. In modern times V8 engines are becoming more and more of a rare breed, with turbo-charged four...

Drone Use with Loss Investigations

As technology advances, drones have been made available to the average person. A drone can be a powerful tool with loss investigations. With many losses, safety concerns may prevent access to examine a site, equipment, or other important items. With drone advancements, we are now able to examine and...

I Just Tightened It… So Why Is It Loose?

Jeffrey A. Groves, P.E.

Jeffrey A. Groves, P.E.

I recently noticed that the glass on my oven door was hazy and needed to be cleaned. However, after cleaning both sides of the door, the haze was still there. Upon closer examination, it became apparent that the haze was located on the inside surface of the glass sheet that was a part of the multi...

Rendering - Odor and Opportunity

A colleague once commented to me, “that new assignment that you have at the rendering plant, just go ahead and throw up before you get there, it will save some time.” This engineer did not fully understand what the colleague was talking about until he arrived at the rendering plant during the summer...

Puffbacks

During the winter months, we see a number of malfunctions of the boilers and furnaces used to heat our homes and buildings. A common malfunction is a phenomenon known as a puffback. A puffback is the result of the ignition of a large amount of vaporized oil or gas vapors in the firebox, thereby...

Don’t Get Rubbed the Wrong Way

The U.S. exports about 4 million bushels of grain a year, including wheat, rice, corn, soy and other commodities. Grain is typically transferred by rail from farming areas to shipping terminals located on the coast or major waterways. The grain is temporarily stored in silos at the grain terminal...

Earth, Wind, and Fire

The job of a forensic or investigative engineer can be fascinating. Each investigation brings its own set of challenges and, at times, gathering facts and background information can be one of the more difficult aspects of a case. In gathering our own observations, evaluations, and examinations of...

What Are Threaded Fasteners?

Jeffrey A. Groves, P.E.

Jeffrey A. Groves, P.E.

Threaded fasteners (e.g., bolts, nuts, screws) are so common that it is hard to imagine a world without them. Our society depends on them. Consider the lug nuts that keep the wheels attached to our vehicles while driving or the fasteners that hold together the structural steel members of the...

Little Black Box - Big Data

Most automobiles and light-duty trucks are equipped with an electronic recording device, also referred to as a “Black Box,” or an “airbag control module” that may contain data related to a crash. The data in a vehicle’s Black Box plays a big role in collision reconstruction. Bosch Crash Data...