Vehicle Failure Analysis


Service performed:

Vehicle engine failure analysis

Summary:

A ten-year old vehicle with over 167,000 miles was involved in a fire that inflicted damage to a surrounding structure. Prior fire investigative efforts identified the vehicle’s engine compartment as the area where the fire originated, but offered no specific cause. Our experts performed a failure analysis of the vehicle’s remains augmented by available scene documentation. Our analysis identified the specific aftermarket vehicle component that caused the fire. We also identified the specific design deficiency that resulted in a favorable Federal Court verdict on behalf of the insurance company that was subrogating against the vehicle’s manufacturer.

Product Failure Analysis


Services Performed

Fire origin and cause investigation and product failure analysis

Summary

Our fire investigators were engaged for a cause and origin investigation following a fire in a workshop at a single family residence. After observing the scene and collecting evidence for laboratory analysis, we determined that the potential cause of the fire was a pancake compressor used in the workshop area. After further analysis of the pancake compressor, it was determined that it had overheated during use and caused the fire.

As a part of our investigation, EFI Global also conducted exemplar testing of a new compressor and compared with findings from the fire. Upon completion of the testing, it was determined that the failure of the compressor was due to a manufacturer defect that was present in this type and brand of compressor. As a result of our efforts and investigation, EFI Global worked with the local Consumer Product Safety Commission to issue a formal recall of the product.

Hurricane Ike Microbiological Analysis


Service Performed

Laboratory analysis for microbiologic growth

Summary

Following Hurricane Ike in 2008, hundreds of commercials buildings in Houston and the surrounding area were damaged by water infiltration and flooding. Our catastrophe response team responded quickly to significant and widespread damage on commercial facilities throughout southeast Texas. As a result of flooding, water damage and high humidity, the potential for mold growth and bacterial contamination of the buildings existed.

Our microbiologist performed laboratory analyses for thousands of air, swap, lift and material samples collected by our field personnel over a period of several months. The samples were analyzed for the presence, amount and type of microbial growth. 

Laboratory Analysis for Tank Manufacturer


Services Performed

Chemistry laboratory investigation and analysis 

Summary

For 18 months, our laboratory personnel were engaged to investigate and analyze the oxidation rate of the odorant (Ethyl Mercaptan) that is added in residential LP gas tanks. Because LP gas is odorless, colorless and tasteless, the odorant was used as a safety feature. It was suspected that the odorant, over time, was oxidizing with the metal inside the tank, reducing its odorant capacities and increasing the risk of injury or death to persons if a leak in the system developed.

Throughout our engagement, our chemist collected LP gas samples, which were odorized with Ethyl Mercaptan, from a total of (15) 500-gallon tanks that had been filled with approximately 50 gallons of the product. The samples were taken at intervals of seven days, 14 days, 30 days, 3 months, 6 months, 12 months and finally 18 months from the date of filling. The samples were analyzed for the content of the odorant using a gas chromatograph in our chemistry laboratory and sent to the client for compilation into a final report. This study was commissioned in part by a Texas public university, who recorded all of our results and generated the report.

Crash Reconstruction


Service performed:

Crash Reconstruction

Summary:

Our experts frequently reconstruct crashes in order to determine fault and other causal effects. In a case involving a fatality crash, our expertise was retained when the surviving driver was going to be prosecuted for criminally negligent homicide. Utilizing the crash reconstruction data and the information stored in the vehicles’ air bag sensors, our experts concluded the original investigation was performed using the incorrect calculations. Not only did the criminal complaint against the driver fail to materialize, EFI Global identified a serious road design defect that was primarily responsible for the collision.

Product Failure and Analysis

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In an effort to support insurance, subrogation, loss prevention and litigation relating to these types of losses, our team of qualified, licensed professionals perform thorough, scientific failure analysis on a wide variety of products and equipment. We routinely examine appliances, plumbing components, tools, mechanical equipment, electrical parts and other system elements to determine if they failed, the cause of the failure and whether their failure could have led to significant property damage.

For smaller components, we have developed portable “Evidence Kits” designed to assist the client in collecting, recording, packaging, labeling and shipping the pieces to the nearest EFI Global office for analysis. For larger parts or equipment, we can arrange for pick-up and delivery of the item and can also securely store them as evidence following the examination and reporting.

Feel free to request an EFI Global Evidence Kit.

Laboratory Services

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Our laboratories are staffed with degreed, trained and experienced microbiologists and chemists who perform a variety of tests to support fire investigations, indoor air quality (IAQ) assessments, mold evaluations and failure analysis. We provide the highest quality analysis, rapid turnaround times and consulting expertise on chemical, bacterial and fungal issues.

Our chemical laboratories specialize in fire debris analysis and our microbiological services focus on testing of fungal and bacterial growth in indoor environments and water. Our microbiological tests support scientific analysis of cause and origin, environmental compliance, subrogation and litigation assistance.

The scope of our laboratory services consists of:

Transportation Forensic Services

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Our experts are able to conduct field investigations, consult and provide expert testimony in biomechanical analysis, collision reconstruction and vehicle failure analysis.

Our collision investigation and reconstruction experts possess unmatched experience, education and training in the field of transportation collision analysis.

Our transportation forensic services include:

  • Accident Investigation
  • Collision Reconstruction
  • Vehicle and Component Failure Analysis
  • Electronic Data Retrieval
  • Biomechanical Analysis