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Structural failure can often produce catastrophic results. In many cases, the damage seen after the accident is not indicative of the cause of the initial failure. Fortunately, based on physical evidence, an investigator can frequently determine how and why a structure failed. The most common reasons for a failure include defective materials, defective design, improper assembly, excessive or improper loading or a combination of these. Through testing and structural analysis, it is possible to determine the root cause of the failure and propose solutions to prevent such failures from reoccurring.

Expertise

Questions Answered

We have some 50 years of varied experience in many aspects of structural analysis including:
  • Structural and mechanical properties testing
  • Bending, fracture and fatigue analysis
  • Finite element computer modeling
  • Teaching structural dynamics at Columbia University, NYU & NASA

Case Examples

SUV Roll Cage Strength:
The SUV driver was killed when the roll cage collapsed as the vehicle rolled down an embankment. Mechanical testing and finite element analyses showed that the collapse occurred due to the inferior strength of the windshield frame when compared to the rest of the vehicle's roll cage. We further showed that had the windshield frame structure been the same material and cross section as the rest of the roll cage, the driver would have survived.


Dr. Irving Ojalvo is Chairman of Technology Associates (www.technology-assoc.com), a forensic engineering firm with offices in New York City, Connecticut, and Florida. The firm's technical personnel, all of whom have advanced degrees, perform accident reconstruction involving issues of biomechanics, mechanical, traffic, and human factors engineering.

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