FESA is an active Australian professional association collaborating in forensic technical investigations, reconstruction of accidents and failures, and research.
Established in 2008, we work to -
December 7 2017 meeting
We had an excellent Christmas meeting at the Auburn Hotel, Hawthorn, Melbourne, with over 30 guests enjoying conversation, a good meal and two excellent presentations:
Engineers John Dimopoulos and Peter Hart shared the billing .
John spoke first on Falls on Stairs and Steps - causes, current design rules, slip measurement, investigation methods, the contribution of vision to an incident, and what courts look for in evidence.
Accurate measurement apparatus for stairs:
Peter Hart spoke next on The Great Electrolytic Capacitor Fiasco. He explained how plastic electrolytic capacitors (of Class P0) have caused many fires (eg in evaporative cooler compressors) by the ignition of gas produced by progressive micro-breakdown of their thin dielectric:
First, Peter took us back to basics for those of us a few decades on from electrical theory. Capacitors provide the kick to initiate rotation in a two-coil induction motor:
The so-called self-healing plastic capacitor was developed with very thin electrode layers wrapped tightly together around polyethylene film (the dielectric). With time, faults occur in the dielectric and arcing happens (self-cauterising the fault), but there is flammable gas produced.
In time the container may fail, and/or a spark ignites the gas - and where the capacitor is in a hot location (out of the fan's cooling air stream, on a summer roof), trouble follows ...
Peter, who has written about fifty reports on fires attributed to P0 capacitors, went on to speak of the inexplicable failure of regulators to act.
A very good night, with two practical, interesting and well-presented talks.
October technical meeting:
A crew of some 20 members and guests attended our Melbourne meeting and dinner on 26 October 2017.
We heard two good presentations: Darren Cram from ATTAR described forensic investigation and analysis of a metal component from an engine, and then investigation of faulty aluminium milk pods:
Next, Ted Dohrmann from Dohrmann Consulting took us through several cases studies of product failures, where his firm was engaged as experts in litigation or in assisting the Australian Competition and Consumer Authority with recalls and product bans:
Good conversation and across-the-table discussion followed over dinner:
Thoughtful members conceiving penetrating questions ...
Looking for a forensic engineer?
Please note: opinions and advice given by speakers at FESA meetings, as well as on this website, are personal to their sources or authors, and do not represent the views of FESA Inc or its elected officebearers.