Fuel Contamination – Gasoline vs. Diesel Fuel

In recent news, gasoline distributed to multiple gas stations in Florida has suspected to have been contaminated with diesel fuel. The contamination could have serious consequences – at the time of this blog post, Hurricane Idalia is traveling across Florida and up the east coast. Florida officials have warned that contaminated fuel could potentially disable vehicle and generator engines when needed most. We asked a Failure Analysis expert from ARCCA to help us understand why contaminated fuel can be a serious issue. Why is diesel contamination in gasoline a problem? Gasoline and diesel are chemically very similar. They are composed…..

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Human Factors Presentation at Slips, Trips, and Falls International Conference

One of ARCCA’s forensic experts Catalina Mantilla, Ph.D. recently presented ‘The Importance of Foot Posture Strategies at Initial Contact during Stair Descent for Forensic Incident Investigations’ at the Slips, Trips, and Falls International Conference. This presentation focused on a study performed by several members of the Human Factors group at ARCCA, including Dr. Mantilla, Vasiliki Kefala, Ph.D., Angela Levitan, Ph.D., CPE, and Tim Joganich, MSES, C.H.F.P. Falls on stairs are commonly claimed to be caused by slipping on the tread nosing, but few studies have explored specific foot kinematics at initial contact during stair descent. Further understanding of such kinematics…..

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Check out our recent publication in NAFE

A multidisciplinary team of ARCCA experts recently published ‘Nondestructive Forensic Investigation of a Scissor Lift Fatality’ in Vol. 40 No. 1 of the Journal of the National Academy of Forensic Engineers (NAFE). This team includes Michael Stichter, PhD, PE, DFE, (NAFE 1162M), Zachary Ball, PhD, PE, Carl Jewell, PhD, and Wade Lanning, PhD of ARCCA’s Failure Analysis and Biomechanical Engineering groups, as well as assistance from ARCCA’s test engineer Jeremy Robbins, BSME. After a worker was found fatally pinned between the top rail of a scissor lift and an overhead beam, rescue attempts were frustrated by unresponsive lift controls. ARCCA…..

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Can My Video Be Enhanced?

Video Surveillance of Car Accident

“Stop… Right there… Zoom, enhance!” We’ve all seen this happen on TV – a suspect is caught on a grainy security camera, but the skilled technicians of the crime lab are able to enhance his face to identify him. Or maybe they zoom into an image in order to read a license plate. It all sounds easy – it’s often no more than a few key strokes away! Unfortunately, in the real world, enhancing video isn’t nearly as easy. There are a number of factors that affect the ability of video analysts to “enhance”, or improve, the quality of a…..

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ARCCA’s New Video Forensic Capabilities

ARCCA is excited to announce a new addition to our capabilities: we now have an in-house Axon Certified Forensic Video Examiner. This improves on our existing video investigation and analysis abilities, with a variety of new tools and techniques. Video data is available in a growing number of cases. Security footage, dash cams, body worn cameras, and more all provide a wealth of information for investigators. While video evidence is often correctly seen as a gold standard, issues can often arise during recording or playback. Our experts are skilled at analyzing video for evidence that can otherwise be overlooked. Timing…..

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Fractographic Analysis of The Shards of Narsil

Fractology of Sword

In The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Boromir discovers that the pieces of the sword Narsil are being kept at Rivendell. Of course, in the first scene of the movie we see how Narsil is shattered in a battle against Sauron when Sauron steps on it. But suppose, instead of Boromir, a forensic engineer found the Shards of Narsil. What could they learn from the pieces? Preserving the evidence The first thing that should be done with a fractured part is to make sure to preserve the pieces and their fracture surfaces – the areas where…..

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Live Collision and Human Kinematics Demonstration

Five of ARCCA’s engineers recently conducted a training session for the Puget Sound Special Investigators focusing on human kinematics during a motor vehicle collision. Amanda Stone, Ph.D., presented on the basics of accident reconstruction, occupant kinematics during different collision configurations, and the various protection systems in place throughout the vehicle. Brendan Morse, P.E., M.S., C.H.F.P., ACTAR, Wade Lanning, Ph.D., Ian Grissom, B.S., ACTAR, and Brad Probst, M.S., then conducted a live practical demonstration of three vehicle collisions. Two vehicles, one with an anthropomorphic test device (ATD) positioned in the front seat, were collided in different configurations to investigate the effect…..

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The Glass Bridge from Squid Game

glass bridge from Squid Game

One episode of Squid Game (Netflix, 2021) features a glass bridge consisting of pairs of glass panels where one of the pair is tempered glass and the other is “normal” glass. According to the show, one of the tempered glass sheets is strong enough to hold the weight of two people. But the normal glass would break if one person stepped on it. But was this realistic? We asked an ARCCA Expert: Is there as much difference between tempered glass and “normal” glass as claimed in the show? Did the glass behave realistically? Could you tell the difference between the…..

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Your Forensic Evidence Must Be Stored Properly To Avoid A Spoliation Claim

Every product liability claim involves a product, right?  And the most basic rules of evidence dictate that that product be stored in an appropriate manner, such that the evidence is not damaged, destroyed or altered in any meaningful way from the time of an incident.  You should always insist that your evidence be stored properly and appropriately by an experienced evidence storage facility.  Leaving evidence in a barn or in someone’s garage or closet is a sure way to invite a spoliation of evidence claim. When it comes time to inspect the evidence by experts from all sides, the evidence…..

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