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Primary Disciplines of Technical Expertise

Failure Analysis

Frequently our senior staff are asked to conduct a failure analysis investigation, in which we work backward from a problem, such as a broken part, to the root cause of the problem. Both Dr. Garber and Dr. Blackwood have conducted numerous failure analysis investigations, involving virtually all materials which have practical application. The results of their analyses are typically presented in a bound analytical report, including all original results and describing our methods, our findings and our conclusions. They have worked for both plaintiffs and defendants, and they have appeared for many depositions as well as testifying in state and federal courts in both civil and criminal cases. It is our intention that our reports be complete and free-standing documents, suitable for use and acceptance litigation process.
Our approach to failure analysis is to take the broad approach, asking all of the questions that might be asked and winding up with the solution, whether the cause of failure is the selection of the material, the processing of that material, the design of the component or use of the component beyond its inherent capabilities. They take the position that analysis of conformity to manufacturing specifications may be useful in the design of corrective action, but lack of conformity does not necessarily explain the failure, and the fact that the component conforms to the drawings does not mean that it is of proper design and construction for the application.
Over the years, most of our failure analysis reports, supported by electron microscope data and proper documentation, have presented a clear relationship between a specific problem in materials selection, materials processing, design and/or service conditions and the reason for failure.
Each failure analysis job is done under the direct supervision of either Dr. Blackwood or Dr. Garber, depending on whether the system it metallic (or glass or ceramic) or polymeric.

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