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Engineering Expert Witness Case Study:
Gas Processing Plant Fire


A compressor valve cover failed in a gas processing plant. The resulting fire caused one fatality, multiple serious injuries and millions of dollars of damage. Finite element models were prepared and analyzed for the valve cover per the design print, per an exemplar cover and per the failed subject cover. Hand calculations using formulas available for up to 200 years were performed, with the results matching the modern finite element results. Opinions expressed included that the calculated stress levels did not provide an adequate safety margin, and identified two causes of failure: the designer's choice of flange design and the presence of a manufacturing defect. case study

 
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