FE Analysis and Visual Presentation Methodology of Mechanical Systems





Mechanical, Failure, Operator, Maintenance, Animation, Graphics, Visualization, Boiler, Design, Pressure Vessel, Forensic Engineering


The operation of a large industrial or other complex mechanical system incorporates a variety of mechanical and electrical subsystems to perform a given task, some of which require interaction by an operator or worker to oversee and control the process. As with anything mechanical, the system also requires periodic maintenance and replacement of worn parts. During the operation of industrial systems, problems can occur and result in catastrophic failures and/or injury. When applying forensic analysis to such failures, a methodical approach is necessary to allow for a deeper understanding of the overall operation of the system. However, once the forensic analysis has been performed, conveying the findings of such a complex system can be challenging. To assist in describing the system and failure, the use of visualization is a powerful tool to clearly convey the findings as well as normal operation. The following paper outlines the process of building a methodology to investigate and lay the proper foundation for visually presenting the findings. To demonstrate the methodology outlined in this paper, a case study involving a boiler system will be used.

Author Biography

David Danaher David Danaher, Kineticorp

ENGINEERING AND DESIGN: As a professional mechanical engineer, Mr. Danaher has experience in the areas of mechanical design and operation as well as failure analysis. His experience involves product design evaluation, strength of materials analysis, and failure mechanics. Mr. Danaher has also analyzed mechanical components that are part of larger industrial systems to demonstrate their operation as well as any related failures, at locations both nationwide and internationally. The analysis performed in these industrial systems are then illustrated in a three-dimensional environment, breaking down individual components to visually show the mechanics of the operation. Some of the systems previous analyzed by Mr. Danaher include power plants, boilers, industrial valves, oil refineries and paper mills.
Mr. Danaher has also evaluated and analyzed heavy equipment such as skid steer loaders, motor graders, oil field equipment, off road/on road forklifts, combines, and front-end loaders. Mr. Danaher has also worked with government agencies including OSHA to determine system failures and operator interaction on heavy equipment.

ACCIDENT RECONSTRUCTION: Mr. Danaher has extensive experience performing vehicle accident investigations throughout the United States. His hands-on investigative experience includes inspections of passenger cars, motorcycles, trucks, tractor trailers, commercial vehicles and bicycles. He is experienced in analysis of vehicle speeds, crush energy, braking systems, motorcycle braking and performance, driver reaction, time-space analysis, and dynamics. Mr. Danaher has also been trained and certified on downloading and interpreting ACM and ECM (“black box”) data from passenger and commercial vehicles. He has investigated and analyzed hundreds vehicular accidents and applies his knowledge of vehicle dynamics, simulation, crush energy, momentum, and driver response to accident reconstruction. Frequent aspects of these investigations involve analysis of brakes, tires, seat belts, airbags, and other vehicle systems. Mr. Danaher also has working experience with engine, drivetrain, and suspension failure analysis. In addition, Mr. Danaher has evaluated accidents involving recreational activities and equipment. Mr. Danaher has also authored publications related to forensic engineering for the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and the National Academy of Forensic Engineers (NAFE). Mr. Danaher has also presented numerous seminars regarding vehicle accident investigations and reconstruction, product design and failure analysis, seat belts and airbags, and occupant kinematics.


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How to Cite

David Danaher, David Danaher, and Sean McDonough. 2022. “FE Analysis and Visual Presentation Methodology of Mechanical Systems”. Journal of the National Academy of Forensic Engineers 39 (1):1-11. https://doi.org/10.51501/jotnafe.v39i1.817.