FT-IR (Fourier Transform Infrared) Spectroscopy is a technique used to extract chemical information from a sample, using infrared energy. Some molecules, when exposed to infrared energy, absorb some of it. Measuring the amount of energy absorbed over a range of infrared light can indicate the types of chemistry present in an unknown sample. Some of the areas where this technique may be useful are in the identification of foreign particles in food products; verification of various types of plastics; and analysis of oils, gasoline and diesel fuel in potential vandalism cases.Read More
Crane Engineering has been at the forefront of forensic investigations for decades. Our first Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) was purchased in 1995. The SEM allows for high magnification imaging of fracture surfaces of metals, ceramics and plastic samples. It is a key tool used in forensic investigations, complementing photographs and optical microscopy.Read More
Mark Weiss is a highly skilled laboratory chemist and technician with more than 25 years of experience in polymer analysis and processing. Among other investigation support, Crane Engineering looks to Mark’s chemical analysis skills for the identification of materials and contaminants.
Mark has been with Crane Engineering for five years. One of the aspects he finds very fulfilling is the unconventional nature of his work. While much of it takes place in Crane’s chemistry lab, oftentimes data and sample collection occur on rooftops, in aircraft, or standing in a working hog barn—rarely a dull moment! Mark recently spent many hours researching new lab equipment and was instrumental in procuring our new FTIR Spectrometer.
For assistance with your polymers/plastics, chemistry, and unidentifiable residue needs please contact Mark.
A recent case raised the question of what dynamic vertical front wheel loads are encountered by an ATV during “normal” and “abnormal” use. To answer that question, Safety Engineering Associates designed and fabricated an instrumented ATV front suspension strut and conducted numerous tests to measure wheel loads while riding. An on-board data acquisition system recorded the vertical wheel force, front suspension travel, vehicle speed and other parameters of interest.Read More
Curtis M. Beloy, P.E. is a mechanical engineer who specializes in the areas of on- and off-highway accident reconstruction and vehicle testing. He provides expert analysis and reconstruction of collision events including all types of vehicles such as passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, tractor-trailers, motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians.Read More
Safety Engineering Associates analyzed an ATV accident resulting in a product liability claim that had occurred over 10 years earlier. Leading up to trial, a point of contention with the plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert involved the specific location of physical evidence on a hillside where the accident occurred. Photographs taken the day of the accident depicted the evidence, however the perspective that the photographs were taken from were not ideal for showing where the evidence was located relative to the base of the hill. While we were confident in our plot of the physical evidence, we sought a way to clearly demonstrate this to a jury.Read More
Safety Engineering Associates has added a Spanish language section to our website to highlight the services of our bilingual staff members, Hernán Mercado-Corujo and Luis Flores. Hernán provides clients with expert consultation regarding complete vehicle reliability, motor vehicle and component testing, product evaluation and validation, as well as vehicle fire Origin and Cause. Luis brings significant experience in vehicular accident reconstruction and forensic engineering to the firm, including airbag control module data imaging, evidence preservation, site documentation, and analysis. http://www.craneengineering.com/espanol
Matthew Jeske, a GIAC Certified Forensic Examiner (GCFE) by the SANS Institute, brings a passion for technology to Crane Data Forensics. Matt has been providing his expertise in data forensics, data recovery and technology consulting at Crane Engineering for over four years with nineteen years of information technology (IT) experience. His casework has varied from data collection in industrial explosions to mobile device examination for local law enforcement crime labs to corporate incident response.Read More
I recall a friend of mine asking me about a year ago if I was worried about autonomous vehicles making my job as a vehicle accident investigator essentially obsolete. I retorted: as long as it’s still humans behind the software, there will always be room for, well, human error.Read More
In the realm of accident reconstruction, and with the advent of the passenger vehicle event data recorder (EDR), colloquially known as the “black box,” comes a professional responsibility to correlate extracted data to physical roadway and vehicle evidence. Modern vehicles are equipped with various modules whose primary function is to control the various safety restraint systems, some of which can also record event data from a collision.Read More
There are times where an inspection will be necessary in the most unique or hard to reach places. In some cases, it is too difficult or time consuming to rent, transport, and construct temporary equipment that may or may not end up gaining the access that is required. This can cause delays that are costly and can miss the opportunity to document the area of interest. Crane Engineering has the ability to use ropes access techniques as an alternative means of gaining access to difficult to reach areas in seemingly impossible locations in a manner that is cost sensitive, efficient and highly effective.Read More
A man on a sport-touring motorcycle was involved in a single vehicle crash while riding on a country road. Immediately following the crash, flames began to engulf the motorcycle and the man sustained injuries from the fire. A claim was brought against the motorcycle manufacturer alleging the fuel filler cap on the fuel tank was defective, resulting in leaked fuel and the post-crash fire. According to the Plaintiff’s testimony, there had been prior occasions where he attempted to close the fuel cap after a fuel stop, only to have the cap come open shortly thereafter. He further testified that at the time of the subject crash, he saw fuel spilling out of the cap as his motorcycle was falling to the ground. Since the ignition key of the motorcycle is used to access the fuel cap, the claims included that the fuel cap design should incorporate a safety mechanism which prevents removal of the key unless the fuel cap is properly latched.Read More
Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) uses computer calculations to solve thermal and fluid problems. These results can then be processed and visualized for further insight and understanding. Unlike traditional testing, these simulations do not require physical construction or data acquisition hardware. Another advantage is that alternate scenarios can be investigated relatively easily.Read More
Steve Hamilton, P.E. is an accomplished Electrical Engineer with more than 25 years of experience in electrical engineering and information technology. His engineering experience spans areas of design, power systems and electromagnetic interference modeling and analysis, construction support, and construction compliance assessment. He has been with Crane Engineering for about two years.Read More
When faced with a failed product, we spend a lot of time deconstructing the artifact in an effort to determine what went wrong and why. It could range from material or design failure, to inadvertent chemical exposure, sometimes it is simply an obstruction.
Let’s take as an example a small fluid valve. Be it a medical component or an industrial actuator, the clearances are often very tight and susceptible to seizing by the introduction of a small particle wedging between the moving components of the valve, or possibly obstructing a very small fluid port along the fluid path.Read More
Scott Dillon is a fire protection engineer and the manager of Crane Engineering’s fire science group. He is a licensed professional engineer with more than 17 years of experience in the areas of fire and explosion investigation, fire protection engineering and fire science. Scott provides clients with expert consultation regarding fire protection and alarm systems, life safety, fire dynamics, fire testing as well as compliance with codes and standards. Scott has extensive experience performing investigations of fires involving residences, vehicles and industrial facilities.Read More
There are several advantages for a Certified Fire Investigator (CFI) to have an engineering background when tasked with determining the origin and cause of a fire. One of these advantages is the additional knowledge and understanding of ignition. After a fire origin has been determined and the first fuel has been identified, a good fire investigator will complete a thorough analysis to identify a competent ignition source(s). NFPA 921, Guide for Fire & Explosion Investigations, outlines an overall methodology to evaluate potential ignition sources in Chapter 19 Fire Cause Analysis, of the 2014 Edition:
19.4.2 Ignition Source Analysis. The investigator should evaluate all potential ignition sources in the area of origin to determine if they are competent. A competent ignition source will have sufficient energy and be capable of transferring that energy to the fuel long enough to raise the fuel to its ignition temperature.Read More
There are many types of capacitors as well as many applications for them. One common type is the Aluminum Electrolytic (AE) capacitor. This type of capacitor is commonly employed in power supply circuits. The unique construction of aluminum electrolytic capacitors makes them very efficient, offering large capacitance in a small space. They do however have a finite lifespan which is often ignored.Read More
There is no doubt vehicles are getting more complicated. As we make lighter, more fuel efficient vehicles, one aspect that can be overlooked is the potential of these changes to increase the risk of a vehicle fire and complicate the determination of the fire’s origin and cause. More and more plastics and exotic materials are making their way into vehicles, potentially accelerating fires that result in full involvement.Read More
In many cases, the terms “slip” and “trip” are used interchangeably as the cause of a fall. However, they are distinctly different and can make a difference as to who is liable for a fall. In a true slip and fall the owner of the floor is probably the most liable, as the case will come down to the maintenance of the floor (level of floor friction). However, for a trip and fall, the owner would only be liable if there is an impediment on the floor to cause a trip. Since a trip can be caused by a misstep the fault can be placed, literally and figuratively, at the feet of the injured party. However, the question becomes how to differentiate between a slip and a trip.Read More