Below are a few examples of the types and diversity of forensic projects Stress Engineering handles on a regular basis.
According to the Consumer?s Product Safety Commission, fires involving gas water heaters result in 316 injuries and 17 deaths per year. A gas water heater can be located in a garage or utility room where it draws in combustion air near ground level. If a hydrocarbon such as gasoline is spilled in the vicinity of the water heater, a fire is extremely likely.
Stress has conducted numerous tests that demonstrated that elevating the water heater or air intake as little as 18 inches off the ground would drastically reduce or eliminate these injuries and deaths.
Our engineers have worked with intellectual property in many areas. They have both the experience in dealing with patents and trade secrets, and the technical background required to expeditiously handle IP matters. The experience acquired through years of working with patents is very valuable when entering into investigations of prior art and equivalence. This solid background has prepared our engineers for producing convincing and clear explanations and demonstrations of the issues at hand to both attorneys and juries.
When a rupture disk on a hydrogen tube trailer failed at a pressure less than its rating after 3 years of service, there were obvious questions: why did it fail, and is it a problem with one disk, all the disks on the tube trailer, or all the disks of this design?
Stress Engineering designed a ?catching? system to capture all remnants of the disks, yet protect them from secondary damage. After machining another special test fixture to hold the disks, several of the remaining rupture disks from the tube trailer were tested in nitrogen to 4000 psi. All failed within the manufacturer?s stated pressure range, even after 3 years of service.
Metallurgical examination of the incident disk revealed evidence of environmentally assisted cracking. Cracking had reduced the effective thickness of the incident disk by half and, accordingly, it failed at a lower pressure. Our engineers concluded that the weather seals protecting the affected disk must have been compromised when the trailer was in a corrosive atmosphere, leading to environmental cracking. The design and use of the rupture disk in the hydrogen tube trailer was not improper.