Forensic Engineering Fundamentals: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Forensic Engineering Fundamentals

1st Edition

By Harold Franck, Darren Franck

CRC Press

487 pages | 243 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2012-12-12
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Forensic engineers often specialize in a particular area such as structures, fires, or accident reconstruction. However, the nature of the work often requires broad knowledge in the interrelated areas of physics, chemistry, biomechanics, and engineering. Covering cases as varied as assessment of workplace accidents to the investigation of Halliburton in the BP oil spill, Forensic Engineering Fundamentals is a comprehensive introduction to the many diverse facets of the field that forensic engineers must be familiar with in their practice.

Topics include

  • The role of the forensic engineer
  • Structures, structural distress, and the importance of standards and codes
  • The failure of appliances—the cause of many water- or fire-related losses
  • Slips, trips, and falls of pedestrians and the accessibility of walking surfaces
  • Industrial incidents involving loss of equipment, injury and loss of life, as well as OSHA and MSHA regulations
  • Standard accident reconstruction involving vehicles
  • Electrical incidents and lightning and the effect of electrical energy on the human body
  • Analysis of fires with an emphasis on thermodynamics, testing, and simulation
  • Carbon monoxide incidents and common fire suppression and warning systems, as well as the various NFPA codes
  • Probability and uncertainty, with some basic calculations available to the forensic engineer
  • Applicable standards and protocols that have developed over the years to protect life and property
  • Offering readers real-world experience drawn from the authors’ 25 years of experience, this volume assists newcomers to the field in understanding the engineering basics underlying the cases they will encounter in their practice. It also serves as a reliable reference for those confronted with issues outside their area of expertise.

    Table of Contents


    Structural Distress

    Substandard Design and Construction

    Some Structural Basics

    Structures: Mechanics and Force Systems

    Newton’s Laws and Equilibrium

    Work and Energy: Conservation Principles

    Properties of Areas


    Mechanics or Strength of Materials

    Allowable Stress and Strength Design Methods

    Chimney Damage

    Truss Analysis

    Example: Truss Failure

    Dynamic Loading

    Wind Damage

    Snow, Hail, and Rain

    Stresses on Cylindrical Pressure Vessels

    Load Analysis on Pilings



    Blasting and Earth Movement

    Introduction to Soil Behavior

    Techniques of Subsurface Investigations


    Identification of Rocks

    Supporting Capacity of Earth Formations

    Stability of Natural Slopes

    Atterberg Limits




    Blasting Damage

    Heavy Equipment Vibrations

    Wave Pressure

    Mold and Environmental Problems

    Airborne Particles





    Building Materials



    Vibrations and Sound


    Ergonomics and Illumination

    Water-Related Losses

    Fluid Statics and Dynamics

    Open Channel Flow

    Hydrology and Water Runoff


    Plumbing and Fittings

    Water Hammer

    Soils and the Water Table

    Appliances and Equipment Failures

    Kitchen and Household Appliances

    HVAC Systems

    Pumps, Generators, and Motors


    Dissolution of Aluminum

    Welding Failures


    Interpreting Electrical Activity

    Component Fracture Mechanics

    Gouge Spacing

    Broken Pole Analysis

    Slips and Falls

    Walkway Safety

    Standard of Care

    American Disabilities Act

    Testing of Slip Resistance of Walking Surfaces

    Force Required to Pull a Dolly

    Biomechanics of Falls

    Sight Distance for Pedestrians

    Pedestrians and Trains

    Departure Sight Distance Calculations

    Moving Vehicle Sight Distance Calculations

    Calculation of Train Speed

    Human Injuries and the Strength of Human Tissue

    Bone Fractures

    Transverse Fracture of Long Bones

    Head Injury

    Head Injury Criterion

    Compilation of Studies Involving Occupant Kinematics and Vehicle Impacts

    Biomechanics of Injury

    Vehicular Collisions with Pedestrians or Bicyclists

    Internal Organ Injuries

    Knee Injuries

    Injuries of the Hand, Wrist, and Elbow

    Teeth Injuries

    Lower Leg Injuries

    Shoulder Injuries

    Hip Injuries

    Industrial and Construction Accidents

    Equipment Losses

    Injuries and Death

    Accident Reconstruction


    Basic Principles of Physics

    Introduction to Energy Methods

    Momentum Methods

    Electrical Incidents and Lightning

    Electrical Distribution Systems

    Some Basic Equations

    Switch Failure

    Current in a Bus Bar

    Current in a Solid Wire Conductor

    Testing of Transistors and Electrical Components


    Impulse Voltages


    Low-Voltage Electrocutions

    Swimming Pool Electrocutions

    Animal Testing

    Medium-Voltage Electrocutions

    High-Voltage Electrocutions

    Human Conductivity

    Response of Human Tissue to Electrical Stimulation

    Electrical Modeling of the Human Body


    Thermodynamic Principles

    Systems and Processes

    Zeroth Law of Thermodynamics




    Explosive Limits

    Flash Points

    Transfer of Heat

    First Law of Thermodynamics

    Second Law of Thermodynamics: Entropy

    Heat Flow

    Explosive Characteristics

    Flow of Gas through a Pipe

    Thermal Conductivity, Convectivity, and Radiation

    Gas Can Burn

    Live Burns

    House Fires

    Car Fires

    Miscellaneous Losses

    Carbon Monoxide

    Chains and Hooks

    Examination of Vehicle Lightbulbs and Filaments

    Defeating Locks

    Vehicle Computer Interrogation

    Engine Wear

    Fire Suppression Systems

    Probability, Sensitivity, and Uncertainty

    Sensitivity and Uncertainty

    Probability and Statistics


    Protocol for Forensic Investigations

    Standard Guide for Forensic Engineering Inspections and Investigations

    ASTM Standards

    FMV Standards

    SAE Standards

    Relevant Construction Standards

    NFPA Standards

    International Standards

    Appendix A: Values of Fundamental Constants (MKS Units)

    Appendix B: Acronyms

    Appendix C: Conversion Factors


    About the Originator

    Subject Categories

    BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
    LAW / Forensic Science
    TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Civil / General