Analyzing the Scene of the Crime:An Engineering Consulting Role

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Consulting Engineers play a role in Forensics Investigations

Forensics investigations have become quite glamorous in recent years, thanks to the success of TV shows like CSI. In truth, forensics investigation is a serious business that requires serious, qualified experts. Such investigations aren’t limited to crime scenes; indeed, many insurance claims and benign accident investigations require forensics experts to provide clarity about an incident and determine its cause.

Consulting engineers are often called upon to lend their expertise to a forensics investigation. They can engage in failure analysis, which may include metallurgical studies, polymer failure, stress investigations, close examination of blueprints and forensic study of accident debris. A trained expert may understand stress fractures, pressure control, signs of aging, the effects of temperature and other countless tiny details that lead to an accident or failure. In so doing, they can reconstruct the events which led to that incident and contribute their expertise to the final analysis and report.

Forensic analysis may entail a number of permutations. For example, in the case of a fire, an electrical engineer may be called upon to analyze the wiring in a building, or a mechanical engineer may view the temperature control of a given system to look for points of excessive heat. In the event of a structural collapse, an engineer needs to check the composition of the support structure, note the presence of cracks or fractures, and point out signs of chemical corrosion. Trained consulting engineers know what to look for in such cases, while a more traditional forensic analyst may not.

Forensics may also be applied to misappropriation of trade secret matters.  Typical examples of this might be stolen blueprints, or CAD files in this day, or software code that was taken by an exiting employee or by hacking.  Whereas reverse engineering is generally fine, copying another companies intellectual property is not.  There are signs that a skilled engineer looks for in these situations.  Many of these techniques are also usable in patent litigation.

Mechanical Engineering as well as other disciplines provide the expertise

Numerous engineering firms possess such expertise, whether it be mechanical engineering, electrical engineering or structural engineering. At Glew Engineering, however, we understand the specific needs of forensic investigations and our consulting engineers provide accurate knowledge free of bias or subjectivity. More importantly, we present our findings in terms that laymen can understand: detailed in a clear and concise manner.  In cases where it becomes necessary, we can provide expert testimony in court to explain our findings to a jury. Glew’s consulting engineers rank second to none: the first choice to make when conducting a forensic investigation.


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