TESTING

We use tests in many of our cases to buttress our opinions. Oftentimes the tests are simple and quick, but we have done elaborate testing, complete with computerized data acquisition.

A gasoline tanker rolls over in Sacramento on a neighborhood street, slides into a field, and leaks gasoline that burns out several buildings. The National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB) in its report on the accident, produced an analysis, replete with calculations, showing that a short-lived pressure spike, generated when the tanker hit a ditch, popped a sensor off one of the manhole covers, allowing gasoline to leak at a high rate. Our tests, which took no more than a day to set up and carry out, showed that the device did not leak, let alone pop off at pressures ten times greater than the NTSB calculated.

 

Packing bands holding a heavy steel coil break as the coil is being hoisted. The coil unwound like a huge watch spring, striking the operator and severely injuring him. We tested 50 like bands to failure using a high-speed computer-based data acquisition system and learned that the stress concentration generated when the bands were stretched over the coil's sharp corners reduced their strength by about 40 percent.

 

A plaintiff says he is seriously burned by a lighter. Our short test program using several exemplars duplicated the damage to the subject lighter when one lighter was used to heat the case of another.

 

A forklift in a dusty Iowa paper warehouse starts a $40MM blaze. We tested an exemplar to determine if temperatures high enough to burn paper dust could develop near the handbrake if it were partially engaged.

 

A gasoline tanker in Providence suffers a blowout and rolls over on a ramp onto nearby soft earth. The manhole protectors dig in and fail to protect the manholes and their appurtenances. Gasoline spills out and catches fire. We set up a test program to determine the loading under which the protectors failed and related that loading to requirements in the Federal Regulations.

 

 

 

Kerosene heaters can cause devastating fires. In the 1980's and early 1990's we tested more than 30 such heaters; our work provided an explanation for kerosene heater flare-up and showed how the heaters made by one manufacturer were more liable to flare up than those made by others.