Berkeley Engineering And Research Inc shares our findings by publishing research papers. The material is based on experiments, scientific literature, and peer review. We are proud to say that our reports have been used to set public policy and legal precedents.
“Failure Analysis and Prevention of Fires and Explosions with Plastic Gasoline Containers” was recognized as the Best Paper of the Year for 2011 (Volume 11) by the Journal of Failure Analysis and Prevention. The Award was formally presented at the ASM Leadership Awards Luncheon held in Pittsburgh, Pa. on October 8, 2012.
“Minimizing risk through improved safety features: How to choose technologies” was written in 2011, when a team at BEAR was asked to provide forensic engineering and economic analysis on the BP Deepwater Horizon well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. One piece of the analysis consisted of evaluating the possibility of a stand-by blowout preventer that might have shortened the time and amount of uncontrolled release of oil and hence lessened the damages caused by the well blowout. A straightforward cost/benefit analysis was performed.
“Your Pink Cadillac! How Much Is It Worth? What Can Forensic Economists Learn from Nonpecuniary Benefits?" is a review of the literature on nonpecuniary benefits derived from employment. It is provided in order to assess nonpecuniary losses and damages suffered by an employee in wrongful termination cases and in injury cases that lead to long-term unemployment. The review shows instances where nonpecuniary damages are quantifiable in terms of a multiplier, and this research allows the forensic economist to provide opinions in specific cases. This review also shows where forensic economists cannot comment on nonpecuniary damages in easily quantifiable terms.
“US Liftboat Trinity II: Engineering Design, Risk Assessment, and Ethics" was written in reference to Thursday, September 8, 2011, when the US Liftboat, Trinity II, experienced damage to the stern jacking leg from heavy weather associated with Hurricane Nate. Listing badly, the crew decided their best course of action was to abandon the ship. A detailed review of the Trinity II's history revealed that it was previously owned by an engineering company that provided offshore risk and hazard assessment services. This same company sold the Trinity II "as is" despite numerous design deficiencies. The paper discusses these deficiencies, as well as the ethical duties of a registered engineering company to correct such problems and inform unaware future owners about them.
“The Deepwater Horizon Blowout: An Update - Drill String Buckling and Shearing" discusses the event on April 20, 2010. The Deepwater Horizon mobile offshore drilling rig experienced a blowout while abandoing a well (after cementing operations). The primary piece of equipment used to stop a blowout in progress is the blowout preventer (BOP). This six-story tall, 400-ton piece of equipment is located on top of the wellhead on the ocean floor, 5,000 feet below sea level. The BOP contains five dual ram-like devices to control a well, which are described in numerous reports. The backstop device, if all fails, is the blind shear ram (BSR) that can both shear drill pipe that may be in the well as well as seal the well. The Chemical Safety Board (CSB), in approving its final report in April 2006, claimed the BSR failed "for reasons the offshore drilling industry remains largely unaware of..." This is an issue that must be considered in an emergency, along with upper bound pipe shear properties and the friction forces that develop in closing a BSR during a blowout. These issues have been inadequately addressed in the industry, but are detailed in the paper.
“Gall Thomson Connecter Release - Hawaii Single Point Mooring Terminal" contains information and analysis regarding the Gall Thomson marine breakaway connector (GTC) incident on May 19, 2006. It was in a floating hose when it released unexpectedly during the offloading of the ship Front Sundra at the Tesoro Hawaii single point mooring (SPM). The analysis clearly indicates the GTC release resulted from the combination of three causes: 1) A new breakstud preload procedure, 2) A breakstud design that is highly susceptible to fatigue, and 3) A lack of a proper "Fitness For Service" evaluation.
“Flame Arrestors for Gelled Alcohol Containers" describes pour and explosion testing, an analysis performed on gelled alcohol containers with and without flame arrestors at BEAR. The vapor space in an alcohol container is in the explosive range at room temperature at the time of purchase; the research further demonstrates that flame arrestors can be used on gelled alcohol containers without inhibiting flow and that flame arrestors are effective in preventing injuries to users by inhibiting ignition inside an alcohol or gelled alcohol container.