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Tawfik | Materials & Forensic Engineers
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Role and ethics of a forensic engineer while undertaking an investigation. Contrary to popular social belief, its isn't akin to the CSI tv drama...unless you read their complicated report findings http://thevarsity.ca/2017/01/08/forensic-engineering-isnt-all-csi/

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Accelerated wheel wear paralyses Victorian regional train network
The rapid wheel wear detected on a fleet of regional passenger rail cars has reportedly been implicated with the suspension of approximately 80% of Victorian train services across the regional network since January 2016.

The immediate suspension of the affected Vlocity DMU (Diesel Multiple Units) train sets from service was implemented by the operator, V/line for safety precautions to avoid the elevated risk of any derailment incidents.

The consequence of this incident has caused extensive transportation delays to regional train passengers, and activated an impromptu maintenance/replacement regimes for the track infrastructure and train wheel sets for several months.


http://www.linkedin.com/pulse/accelerated-wheel-wear-paralyses-victorian-regional-train-tawfik?trk=pulse_spock-articles

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Growing fire risk in residential towers amid poor quality aluminium facades infiltrating construction

An investigation in to November 2014 fire incident at the Lacrosse high rise apartments by the Melbourne Fire Brigade (MFB) revealed that the external walls were constructed from combustible materials and hence, contravened the Building Code of Australia. 
The external walls of the Lacrosse high rise which consisted of aluminium composite panels had contributed to the vertical propagation of the flames, leading to an uncontained fire over numerous floors in a matter of minutes.
Further investigation suggest the aluminium composite panels comprised of a polyethylene core. Polyethylene is consistent with a common type of plastic/polymer type material.  Independent tests were undertaken in accordance with Australian Standards 1530.1 Combustibility Test for Materials to interrogate the combustion and flame propagation characteristics of the aluminium composite panels used in the Lacrosse high rise. The test findings confirmed that the aluminium composite panels did not comply with AS 1530.1-1994 which condemns it as a prohibited combustible material for use in this type of building structure.
Aluminium composite panels implicated with spreading of vertical fires in high rises has been widely reported in literature for over eight years particularly in the United Arab Emirates;  See table below & images below. Approximately 70% of high rise tower constructed in the United Arab Emirates comprise of aluminium composite panel with a combustible thermo-plastic type cores similar to that used in the Lacrosse residential tower in Melbourne.
 It is not uncommon for foreign cladding suppliers to endorse a fire resistance grade to their construction products in accordance with international standards or designation without proper testing or independent certification. This can lead to false interpretations about their actual combustibility characteristics in accordance with Australian Standards unless carefully review by an appropriately qualified expert.

The use of aluminium cladding in high rise construction have reportedly been used for decades in Australia. It is unclear as to how many high rise developments in Australia have utilised non-compliant aluminium cladding unless a comprehensive audit is undertaken.

A senate inquiry in to the safety and compliance of imported construction materials in Australia has been established amid growing trends in use of non-compliant structural steel, fasteners, glass panels, electrical cabling  and aluminium cladding.



References:
http://www.thenational.ae/business/property/the-torch-blaze-reignites-concerns-over-cladding-used-for-dubai-towers
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/dubai/11427715/Dubai-Marina-Torch-Tower-fire-Londoner-tells-of-how-he-slept-through-a-towering-inferno.html
http://www.constructionweekonline.com/article-19692-fire-and-safety-code-amended-on-exterior-cladding/
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-27/cheap-cladding-turns-apartments-into-time-bombs/6501716
http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/sharjah-families-back-in-al-tayer-fire-tower
http://www.constructionweekonline.com/article-16634-sharjah-al-baker-tower-fire-caused-by-cigarette/
MFB Post Incident Analysis Report, Lacrosse Docklands 673-675a La Trobe Street Docklands
http://www.fireengineering.com/articles/2010/05/modern-building-materials-are-factors-in-atlantic-city-fires.html
http://www.nickxenophon.com.au/media/releases/show/safety-check/

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Significant deterioration plaguing numerous residential towers on Gold Coast

Dozens of steel reinforced concrete residential towers on the Gold Coast which are nearing the end of their design life (40-50 years) are reported to exhibit significant concrete deterioration in the form of concrete cancer.

Concrete cancer is a natural yet major degradation process in reinforced concrete structures caused by the expansion of the embedded steel reinforcement due to steel rusting.

Rusting of embedded steel reinforcement can be caused by the gradual loss of the concrete’s passive protection to the steel through carbonation and/or exposure of steel reinforcement through Chloride ion (i.e. Salts) penetration.

Concrete cancer is more prevalent in reinforced concrete structures exposed in harsh marine environments (i.e. beach side) where the atmosphere contains high levels of airborne salts from the sea and exhibits higher humidity.

Rusting of the embedded steel reinforcement causes it to expand in volume thus creating tensile stresses in the concrete which leads to cracking, delamination and spalling of concrete segments. This exposes adjacent sections of embedded steel reinforcement to the environment which undergo rusting thus perpetuating and propagating the degradation process of concrete which eventually comprises the structural integrity of the structure if unattended.

The falling of spalled concrete segments from the Gold Coast high rises may also create a serious hazard to human life or property if the issue is left unattended.

The legislation of Queensland’s Body Corporate Community Act is reportedly under review to ensure steel reinforced building structures in the Gold Coast are appropriately inspected, maintained and adequately repaired.

However the repair cost of concrete cancer in some residential towers can be exorbitant to reinstate it to the minimum structural standard requirements. Such a scenario, may result the tower to be condemned and eventually demolished.

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/time-up-for-gold-coast-high-rise-as-concrete-cancer-warnings-loom-20150616-ghop5g.html


Reference:
Time up for Gold Coast high rise as concrete cancer warnings loom, June 16, 2015, Brisbane Times
Warning to check for 'concrete cancer' in older unit high rise complexes, Cairns Post, Nick Dalton, January 15, 2014

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Fatalities and multiple injuries in the Gulf of Mexico accident caused by a collapsed oil platform
 
An incident occurred on Tuesday 5 May 2015, where a Petroleos Mexicanos owned oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico experienced a partial collapse to one its legs during a manoeuvre to undertake offshore maintenance resulting in 2 fatalities, 10 injuries and evacuation of over 100 personnel.
 
The collapse of a platform leg is reportedly implicated with structural failure which ultimately caused the tilting and partial sinking of the entire jack-up type platform.  An oil slick was reportedly detected in the area although the extent of oil leak is unconfirmed.
An investigation to the cause of the accident and structural failure has been announced by federal prosecutors.
 
Reference: Johnson T. 2 dead as Mexican odfshore oil rig collapses in Gulf,  Sunherald, May 5, 2015
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GAS PIPELINE RUPTURE CAUSED BY CORROSION FAILURE LEAVES THOUSANDS OF SOUTH AUSTRALIANS WITHOUT GAS SUPPLY FOR A WEEK


Gas supply to several thousands of businesses and residents in regional South Australia was severed when the Moomba to Adelaide transmission line ruptured on Sunday 12 April 2015.’
The asset owner (Epic Energy SA) reported that the rupture of the gas pipeline was caused by very fine hairline cracks in the wall of the pipe attributed to stress-corrosion cracking. The contributing factors are believed to be ground movement, operating pressure of the pipeline, corrosive exposure environment.

The Department of State Development is conducting an independent investigation to determine whether the SCC could have been detected during maintenance inspections to avoid failure of this major pipeline.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-22/gas-pipeline-rupture-caused-by-stress-corrosion-cracking/6412114

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WEST AUSTRALIAN ENGINEERING FIRM PROSECUTED FOR NEGLIGENT DESIGN OF A LARGE CRANE WHICH COLLAPSED IN 2013 DAMAGING BUILDING & NARROWLY MISSING MULTIPLE WORKERS

An #engineering firm pleded guilty to breaching the Mine and Safety Inspection Regulations at perth court in relation to a 2013 crane accident. The #accident was associated with non-compliant design modiciations made to a large crane undermining its structural capacity causing the boom to fold in half and spectacuarly collapse during a lift at a Karara mine site. http://www.safetowork.com.au/news/crane-designer-fined-for-2013-accident
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