Category Archives: Forensic Engineering

Forensic Engineering

posted January 2020

Larry Hanke, P.E.  is currently attending the NAFE 2020 conference in San Diego. NAFE, The National Academy of Forensic Engineers, brings together professional engineers having qualifications and expertise as practicing forensic engineers to further their continuing education and promote high standards of professional ethics and excellence of practice.

Materials engineering is often an integral aspect of forensic engineering investigations. For more information on forensic engineering and materials laboratory examinations visit the MEE website or view our latest newsletter.

Pictured with Larry is:

(Center) Mark Svare, P.E., IntP.E., Electrical Engineer

(Right) Samuel G. Sudler, III P.E., IntPE, Electrical Engineer

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

Larry Hanke just returned from a visit to the Ottawa Chapter of ASM International. As a member of the ASM Board of Trustees, Larry has been invited to visit many local chapters. These visits are an important way to keep local chapters updated on what is going on in the organization at the national level and for the Board to hear about issues and concerns of the local chapters.  He enjoyed meeting the Ottawa chapter members and hearing about their involvement in Teacher Materials Camp.

ASM Ottawa chapter visit

Nasseh Khodaie and Larry Hanke

Larry presented at the meeting a talk on Forensic Materials Engineering For Product-Reliability Litigation.  In addition, Chapter Chair, Nasseh Khodaie, arranged for Larry to take a tour of the National Research Council (NRC), the Government of Canada’s premier research organization.

Filed under: ASM, Forensic Engineering,

On the Road Again

posted November 2016

Larry Hanke, will be speaking on Forensic Materials Engineering for Product Liability Litigation at the November meeting of  the Metro NY-NJ chapter of ASM International. The presentation will discuss potential materials related problems in product design and manufacturing that can lead to product failures. Failure mechanisms, including fracture and corrosion, as well as the material properties and service conditions that cause these failures will be covered. In addition, he will discuss special considerations for the process of investigating product failures involved in litigation from the materials engineering prospective.

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.


Case Studies

posted September 2015

Three new case studies have been added to our website. We think case studies can provide a better understanding of what we do and how we approach typical projects at MEE.  The three newest additions, Leaks in a Fire Protection System. Cracking Capacitors and Fractured Glass Cooking Pot Lid, highlight the range of experience of our technical staff in solving materials-related problems.


Metallography Laboratory

Some of the most interesting and challenging projects at MEE are the forensic engineering cases. Forensic engineering is application of engineering principles to the investigation of incidents that have or may lead to litigation or other dispute resolution venues. Engineers at MEE practice specifically in the areas of forensic metallurgical engineering or forensic materials engineering. This work typically involves the investigation of failures in structures, products, or components in support of product liability litigation. Our expertise in materials behavior and failure analysis make our staff well qualified for these investigations. The emphasis that we place on clear communication of our findings to our industrial customers serves us well when our engineers are asked to assist the court by testifying in deposition or a trial.

Go to our website to see  a short list of  forensic engineering cases at MEE

Fatigue fracture of improperly-repaired truck trailer side rail

Fatigue fracture of improperly-repaired truck trailer side rail


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.