What is Forensic Engineering? Understanding Geoforensics

April, 30 2019


An essential process in the study and analysis of geologic events and how their causes

Forensic engineering is the science behind understanding the longevity, as well as the failure, of a variety of different structures and buildings. A subject long-since associated with TV dramas, forensics is more than just the study of people – it includes the study of just about everything else too.

What is Forensic Engineering?

If a bridge collapses, a building is destroyed, or a component fails in a larger structure, it is the job of forensic engineers to figure out the reasons behind that failure to create stronger structures and reduce those issues in the future. If you’ve heard of the term ‘reverse engineering‘, forensic engineering is that concept put into action, to gain insight and data into what caused the engineering issue in the first place.

It also requires high levels of attention to detail, plus incredible accuracy – forensic engineers train for years to become experts in their craft, starting with a degree in engineering before becoming a professional engineer. From that point, they can gain the experience and knowledge necessary to apply their skills to forensic situations which require a great deal of insight, skill, and expertise.

How Forensic Engineering Works

So, in theory, a structural forensic engineer is someone who looks at what causes structures to fail – but how does that apply to real life? With so many different cases that require forensic engineering, each one is entirely different. But the basics are that the forensic engineers must use data and their expert insight to examine the site of failure or issue and analyze that information to gain an understanding of what they believe caused the problem. This information can then be reverse engineered into a solution that can be applied to future structural builds or assembly.

What are Geoforensic Studies?

Forensic geology
, or geoforensics, is a closely related area of forensic engineering which bases its subject further from human-made structures and more towards materials and items found naturally on the planet. This could be anything from petroleum and minerals to cliffs, rocks, rivers, and deserts. But these two fields are especially linked when you examine natural events that result in the failure or destruction of human-made objects, such as earthquakes.

Using forensic engineering and geoforensics combined

In Southern California, earthquakes are a regular occurrence, making forensic engineers and geoforensics two sides of the same coin. With vibration monitoring services and other data gathered following earthquakes, these two professionals can work together to develop a greater understanding of structural issues in buildings as a result of seismic activity – and help them resolve those issues with better, more quake-proof designs — the perfect combination.

At G3Soilworks, we provide the consultancy you need to get ahead when it comes to geotechnical information and geological insight. Contact us today to find out more about how our service can help you maximize your productivity, and improve your profitability.

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