Forensic Engineering Professional

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Typically, failure analysis is performed by a forensic engineering professional. This process examines, tests and analyzes why a particular structure failed. The focus is on gathering information about the faulty component and its history. A detailed visual examination provides more thorough understanding of what went wrong.A series of tests are also performed:

Nondestructive testing – magnetic particle test, dye penetrant
High magnification
Destructive testing
Hardness testing
Mechanical testing

Fatigue damage is the most common reason structures fail. Sources of the fatigue can come from restrained thermal expansion, internal vibratory sources and outside forces. A stress analysis and strain gage test can reveal the exact stressed area where the failure originated.In addition, the material’s properties determine if a low cycle fatigue or high cycle fatigue initiated the failure. Testing will also determine if a catastrophic failure occurred because the crack grew too big.Industries That Use Failure AnalysisSome of the industries that use failure analysis include:

Automotive, Transportation and Marine Industries
Manufacturing and Construction
Power, Utilities and Boilers
Water systems

Steps to Performing the AnalysisThere are eight crucial steps that must be performed to have full analysis to reveal the cause of structural damage after a catastrophic incident.

Step 1: Collect background information, including service history, of the failed component.

Step 2: Visually examine all failed components and related parts in the failed state. Low magnification examinations are also performed during this step to locate areas that need further analysis or testing.

Step 3: Analyze all degraded or fractured surfaces at high magnification with a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM).

Step 4: Use the SEM to determine the origin of the failure by investigating the initiation site. The purpose is to look for contributing factors or any unusual conditions. The failure mechanism is identified and characterized as an overload, fatigue, etc. the engineer will also investigate to see if any unusual stress risers exist.

Step 5: The cross-section microstructure is selected, prepared, examined and analyzed in the area where the failure initiated. Conditions of manufacturing processes reflected in the microstructure are also analyzed and investigated for potentially flawed conditions. Material quality and heat treat conditions are also investigated.

Step 6: The failed component, coatings or platings undergo a chemical component analysis.

Step 7: Tests for hardness, strength, and mechanical are performed.

Step 8: All tests results and gathered evidence are analyzed to formulate an opinion and conclusion for why the structure failed.

The careful analysis through extensive forensic examination helps to provide a conclusive explanation of the root cause for the failure.

Causes of Water in the Basement

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If you’re finding water in your basement, the problem could lie in several different places. It can be nearly impossible for you to identify the source, but professionals can take care of this task for you. Here are four common causes of water in your basement or crawlspace and what you can do about them.

Improper Grading
If the ground around your foundation slopes towards the structure, then you will have water pouring in along the subterranean walls. Avoid this problem by looking at your grading occasionally to be sure that it’s still sloping away from the building. Ideally, water should travel several feet away from your home before it can stand still on the ground and soak in.

Gutter and Downspout Problems
Surprisingly, the water in your basement could be coming from your roof. When gutters and downspouts fail to divert water away from the structure, they allow the water to fall directly along the foundation and your cinder block walls. Fixing the problem at the roof can be the best way to save your foundation.

Cracked Walls
When the foundation walls or base are cracked, water will find an easy pathway into your home. This type of repair requires special tools and skills, but it should still be done as quickly as possible. If you routinely find water in your basement, then look for other telltale warning signs of cracked walls or damaged foundations, including:
• Visible cracks in the walls or floor
• Sloping floors
• Doors that won’t close properly
• Gaps where the wall and floor meet

Sump Pump and French Drain Problems
Some problems are actually hidden below the floors, including French drain damage and failed sump pumps. If a formerly dry basement is suddenly taking on water whenever the weather turns cloudy, then your existing waterproofing may have failed. Invest in French drain repair Erie Pennsylvania so that you can move past this problem and keep your basement dry in the future.

Water can seriously damage your structure and lead to health problems as mold develops. However, there is help available. With the right diagnosis and prompt action, you can overcome the moisture problem and start making plans to finish off your basement. Whether you need corrections in the grading or help with your aging sump pump, look for a contractor who will provide you with quality work as well as a reliable warranty.

Why I Want to Rent an Apartment in Birmingham

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After owning my own home for several years, I’ve decided that I’d like to rent an apartment for a change. I’ve been specifically looking at apartments in Birmingham AL. I’ve selected that area for several reasons. I have a lot of friends and family in the area. They enjoy living there, and they tell me it’s a great place to live. Homes are reasonably priced, and it’s also affordable to rent an apartment there. Their opinions matter to me, so I’m really interested in what they have to say. Continue reading

Buying a home takes more than signing your name

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Purchasing a new home is an exciting time whether it’s your first or your fifth. The thrill of opening up your front door and decorating everything is one that’s hard to match in your everyday life. First time homeowners, however, may be shocked to know how many different steps are required before the home of your dreams actually becomes yours to keep.

First, pretty much all lenders will require you to provide proof of steady employment. This means showing your loan officer one or more check stubs that prove you have been employed without fail for a certain length of time. Some lenders require you to show only proof of employment while others request stubs or proof that you have been employed at the same job for six months to one year. You must also provide your personal information and sign paperwork allowing the lender to perform a credit check. A good credit score is essential when you are working with reputable lenders, and your credit score can actually affect the interest rate you receive on your loan.

Unless one has been done very recently, you will also be asked to pay for a survey of the property you are trying to purchase. These surveys are done by title companies all around the country. A survey verifies the property lines of the home and surrounding yard that you are attempting to purchase and updates the official record of that property. These surveys can cost anywhere from $250 to $500 or more, depending on the provider. Your lender will likely have a preferred provider, and the cost will be added in with other closing expenses.

Finally, when all other paperwork and requirements have been fulfilled and you’re ready to take ownership of your home, your lender will ask you to provide proof of insurance. No good lender will sell you a home that is not protected. You must get insurance, sometimes for a year in advance, before the loan becomes final. Call around to get quotes on homeowners insurance in West Palm Beach and choose the one that is right for you.

While it may seem like a daunting task that requires a ton of paperwork to complete, buying a home is still a tremendous feeling. Your lender will help walk you through the steps along the way, so there is nothing to fear. Just call ahead before visiting to apply for a loan in order to make sure you have all required documentation with you when you arrive.