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Understanding Spontaneous Combustion

EDT

When discussing “spontaneous combustion,” the first thing many people think is the myth of spontaneous human combustion. While a myth, there is a similar, well-documented phenomenon in fire science that doesn’t involve humans. Considered a bit of a misnomer, “spontaneous combustion” is anything but...

Pumps: Putting Fluid to Work

EDT

Though we may not realize it, our very days are dictated by pumps. If the fuel pump in our car does not function as designed, we may not get to work on time. If the city’s water pumps break down, we may not have water for that pot of coffee. If the electric utility’s pumps are inoperative, we may...

Defects Affecting the Structural Integrity of Wood Construction

EDT

Wood has been the construction material of choice for centuries. The wood structures listed in The National Register of Historic Places served as testament to the long-term serviceability, or durability, of properly constructed and maintained wooden structures. It’s flexibility of usage, high...

Every Failure Has a Story... Even in the Oil & Gas Industry

EDT

The phone rings in the late afternoon on Friday and it isn’t good news. There was a fire at a compressor station. A shipment of new equipment showed up with visible damage. The drill string fell into the well and the contractors are trying to fish it out. Any number of things can happen to equipment...

Boiler Heating Systems, Malfunctions and Damages

EDT

Boilers have a long-standing and notable place in American history as seen from the versatility of applications that range from steam engines to power generation. In a nutshell, boilers provide a means to transfer one form of energy to another. Under controlled conditions, the transfer of energy...

Expansive Soils and Construction Implications

EDT

Expansive soils, also known as soils with high shrink-swell potential, are common in various geographic regions, especially the central portion of North America.

Renewable Energy: Wind Turbines

Wind turbines are a good example of how technology can be both simple and complex at the same time. From a distance, wind turbine blades spinning in the wind are akin to a child simply blowing on a pinwheel. Up close and inside the workings of a wind turbine, it becomes apparent that there are...

Tracing a Leak to Get Answers

EDT

A recent engineering consultation involved the evaluation of water-related damages to a residence. The Assignment EDT was asked to determine “how?” and “why?” this loss occurred.

Blackout Causes Damage to Hydroturbine

EDT

A blackout occurred on August 14, 2003 that affected portions of the northeastern United States, including a hydroelectric generating facility, which itself lost electrical power.