Vol. 6
A "typical" case     

Unless you work in a very specific legal niche, you have no such thing as a typical case. That's true of cases that can benefit from finite element analysis (FEA), too. No two cases are the same, but this "typical" case study demonstrates aspects these cases have in common.

Without a finite element analysis,
these opinions would be difficult
or impossible to develop.

"The tires on a consumer cart were misread and overinflated."

As in most accidents, the failure was caused by a combination of factors. One factor in this case was the font and size of the pressure rating on the sidewall of the tire. The rating was misread leading to the tire being overinflated.

"One rim failed catastrophically causing injuries to the person using the cart."

A failure analysis was necessary to explain what happened. A skilled metallurgist was retained to examine the failure sites. Roensch & Associates was retained to provide a finite element analysis to estimate the stresses and deflections in the rim at various inflation pressures. Those results were verified with hand calculations.

"Opinions expressed included that the split rim design did not provide an adequate factor of safety at the labeled working pressure, and that overinflating the tire would highly overstress the rim."

Without a finite element analysis, these opinions would be difficult or impossible to develop.

As discussed in previous issues of Courtroom FEA, the bottom line is this: If you have a case where a loss, injury or death was caused by something bending or breaking, FEA can help explain why the product failed, which can often identify the responsible party.

There's nothing typical about that.

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