Category Archives: Fire investigation

Larry Hanke,P.E. and Neal Hanke, P.E. will be presenting a talk on the role of the metallurgical engineer in fire investigations at an October 12 educational seminar in Lakeville, MN. The seminar is directed at fire investigators, insurance professionals and lawyers to highlight the importance of laboratory testing  of artifacts in a successful investigation.

Larry Hanke, P.E.

Neal Hanke, P.E.

Larry and Neal will provide their expertise on:

  1. A fundamental understanding of how structural and electrical materials behave at elevated temperatures.
  2. How material behaves under stress.
  3. How to evaluate component failures that may contribute to fire and explosion
  4. A better understanding of how to identify electrical arcing
  5. How anomalous material behavior can lead to incorrect conclusions about the conditions during a fire

MEE Materials Engineer, Neal Hanke, recently spoke at the International Association of Arson Investigators Training Conference in Orlando Florida. Neal’s presentation on Materials Analysis in Fire Investigation was part of a 4 hour course on Arc Mapping: Continued Research and Updates. The conference is attended by fire investigators, scientists, engineers, insurance adjusters and attorneys from around the world.

Neal’s presentation was designed to provide a better understanding of what a materials science engineer can add to the investigation of a structural fire and some of the methods used in the laboratory. The materials science engineer’s contribution to a fire investigation typically has a quite narrow focus, but can provide enlightening information that can help in the investigation on the progression and possibly the cause of the fire.


Larry Hanke had another opportunity this past month to talk about the role of metallurgical engineers in fire investigations at a full day seminar for  fire investigators and insurance company representatives sponsored by Whitemore Fire Consultants. Attorneys and engineers presented talks on assembling teams and conducting origin and cause investigations.  Larry’s talk focused on how an engineer with expertise in failure analysis and forensic engineering can be an integral part of an investigative team.  Using standard tools such as Scanning Electron Microscopes  as well as newer tools like laser dimensional scanning the metallurgical engineer can identify structural and property changes in materials aiding in the determination of  the cause or causes of the failure to help assign liability for the damages.







Principal Engineer, Larry Hanke, spoke at the spring seminar of the Wisconsin chapter of the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI) on materials analysis for fire investigations The purpose of the presentation was to describe and demonstrate what a metallurgical engineer can add to the investigation of a structural fire or explosion. His presentation included an overview of important principles of metallurgical and materials science,  descriptions of the analytical methods used in finding the modes of failure, and case studies of investigations at MEE where material science has been instrumental in the investigation.

The following image was taken at MEE using a metallographic microscope.

Melting from electrical arcing on corrugated stainless steel tubing perforation

Melting from electrical arcing on corrugated stainless steel tubing perforation