Metallurgy Expert Evaluates Factory Piping Rupture


Metallurgy Expert WitnessThis case involves piping in a large confectionery factory in Arkansas that suddenly burst while in use. The piping in question was used to transport water for use at various points in the company’s production line, and had been installed relatively recently. On the date of the incident in question, the factory’s machinery was being turned on for that day’s production run when the water pipe suddenly exploded, sending torrents of water into critical machinery as well as flooding the factory floor. As a result of damage caused by the pipe explosion, the factory was forced to replace a significant amount of expensive equipment, which cause significant production delays and profit losses. It was alleged that the piping had not been manufactured to resist the internal pressures encountered in its application at the factory, despite the manufacturer’s assurances that it was adequate.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Please describe your familiarity with materials used for piping.

Expert Witness Response E-125169

I am currently an associate professor of metallurgical engineering at a university in Missouri. I have more than ten years experience in the materials science of metallic materials for structural applications. Specifically, I study the relationships between processing (melting, solidification, chemistry, processing, and heat treatment) on mechanical properties and fracture. I am an expert in the failure analysis of structural components, mechanical testing to ASTM standards, and several analytical characterization techniques such as OM, SEM, EDX, OES, XRD, among others. I am familiar with most metallic alloys such as irons and steels that used to construct piping. I am also familiar with the manufacturing routes and heat treatments used in the production of pipe and tube as well as ASTM standard specifications and mechanical testing. I would be able to determine if the failure mode is related to processing history, heat treatment, or chemistry. In the last three years, I have served as a consultant for two major steel manufacturers on a number of customer quality issues relating to service failures.

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