FEA = Finite Element Analysis
As a product liability professional, it is important that you know what
Finite Element Analysis (FEA) can do for you. If you don't, your
adversary might. Whether you serve plaintiffs, defendants or both,
you're probably already familiar with FEA.
Simply put, if a loss, injury or death is due to something bending
or breaking, FEA can help explain the failure.
An experienced FEA expert can determine the stresses and displacements
in the failed part. When compared to industry standards, earlier
designs and competitive designs, this often identifies the cause of
failure, and hence the responsible party.
As in any field, your choice of an expert is important in making your
case. It's not unusual for an inexperienced FEA analyst to generate
incorrect results; this is both a warning to the wise and a strategy
for dealing with the other side's expert.
FEA results lend themselves to color plots and animations, making
conveying the key concepts to the jury much easier.
Watch for the next issue of Courtroom FEA.
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