Our Services & Approach
We conduct technical investigations of accidents, product failures, and intellectual property disputes for litigators, insurers, and companies. We provide investigations in a broad spectrum of areas involving the performance of materials in structural and mechanical applications, and in chemical and other processes. Our investigations are conducted by the scientific method, and they are data-driven, scientifically sound, comprehensive, and authoritative. Our first priority is to establish the key underlying technical issues and the relevant physical science principles. Then we flesh-out the design, materials performance, structural, and mechanical issues. We are led by people who have started and led substantial scientific and engineering organizations, including investigative ones, and we utilize contemporary project management and coordination processes to meet time and budget constraints and to continuously monitor our progress.
Our approach is based on the fact that the physical sciences (physics and physical chemistry) provide the underpinnings of materials science, mechanics, and structures. The physical sciences provide the fundamental, unifying principles that are applicable across the broad range of technical issues that arise in accidents, product failures, and intellectual property disputes. The physical sciences provide the insight for cutting through the complexity and seemingly uniqueness of each accident, product failure, and intellectual property dispute. The physical sciences provide the framework for identifying the key underlying technical issues and for organizing them and explaining them to non-technical people in a way that makes sense. Materials science (including metallurgy), mechanics, and structural design take the overarching principles of the physical sciences and apply them to the specifics of the accident, product failure, or intellectual property dispute. This is a powerful, unique, and superior approach.
Our approach is also unique when it comes to the many accidents, product failures, and intellectual property disputes that involve moving components of a system such as rotating machinery, engines and transmissions, brakes, slips and falls, conveyor systems, and many others. Most investigative organizations view moving components as mechanical systems to be studied by mechanical engineers, but this is far too limiting a perspective that fails to recognize a huge body of knowledge and experience called tribology, the science of friction, wear, and lubrication. Like the physical sciences, tribological science provides the overarching scientific principles for understanding accidents, failures, and intellectual property disputes involving bodies in motion that contact each other, and lubricants and fuels. The science of tribology incorporates chemists, physical chemists, materials scientists, and mechanical engineers. We are the only investigative organization that formally incorporates the science of tribology as the basis for our investigations into accidents, product failures, and intellectual property disputes involving moving components, lubricants, and fuels.
The strength of our approach is seen in our unique ability to provide testing that includes the world’s largest array of tests for friction, wear, and the properties of lubricants and fuels. These tests are the basis for most of the relevant ASTM standards, and the test instruments we use are widely recognized as the leading instruments in the field. Investigations of accidents, product failures, and intellectual property disputes often involve testing of components, assemblies, and systems. Ad-hoc full-scale tests are the norm, but the downside is that tests of this nature are not supported by a well-established scientific background. Sometimes full-scale testing cannot be avoided, but often we can employ sub-scale testing that uses modified ASTM methods, and that is performed on ASTM-qualified test instruments that provide far greater control and repeatability, and for which there is a well-established scientific basis. Another advantage of our approach is lower cost and quicker turn-around because the test instruments already exist so there is far less costly and time-consuming custom test and test equipment development.