Forensic Engineering Investigation of the Catastrophic Breakdown of a Diesel Engine in an Emergency Generator Set

Authors

  • Daniel P. Couture, PEng, DFE, FEC Arcon Forensic Engineers

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.51501/jotnafe.v37i1.99

Keywords:

Denver, Generator set, diesel engine failure, oil gallery obstructions, filter gasket, forensic engineering

Abstract

A large-displacement 16-cylinder diesel engine was coupled with a 1750 kW-rated generator set to provide emergency power to an international airport parking facility. It had been in service for seven years, and had accumulated only 242 operating hours from a regular monthly test procedure. On the day of the incident, less than three minutes after starting up, the engine began smoking, running roughly, and then failed catastrophically. A forensic engineering investigation was undertaken to determine the cause. Two cylinders in opposite banks had been damaged. The proverbial “smoking gun” was found — an obstruction comprising a rubber gasket within the main oil gallery leading to these cylinders. The investigation explored the probable method and means that this gasket was entrained into the gallery. The results of the analysis attempted to provide for an assessment of relative liability of the parties.

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Published

2021-01-08

How to Cite

Couture, D. P. (2021). Forensic Engineering Investigation of the Catastrophic Breakdown of a Diesel Engine in an Emergency Generator Set. Journal of the National Academy of Forensic Engineers, 37(1). https://doi.org/10.51501/jotnafe.v37i1.99

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Articles