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Exploding Consumer Products

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Date Published

August 19, 2020


Bucks County Bar Association




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Typically the word “explosion” conjures the image of a sudden blast with a fire ball. This type of explosion involves a rapid chemical reaction (chemical energy) as the initial source of energy. In the realm of consumer products, an explosion is more often associated with the mechanical energy utilized by the product, and while some consumer product explosions look like our traditional mental image, others have been aptly described by some engineers (with a bit of tongue in cheek) as a “rapid onset of disassembly”. Unfortunately, the ramifications of some explosive consumer product failures can include injuries/death, broken equipment, damaged property and can lead to fire or water losses. Typically, a specific series of events leads to a loss or mishap, and a failure analysis to identify mechanisms for failure is important in both coverage issues and potential subrogation claims. In this presentation we will cover the general science behind why some consumer products fail in an explosive manner due to the mechanical energy they utilize, and how a competent and reliable failure analysis is required to determine the root cause of the loss. We will also provide case studies for several types of failures, as well as tips for understanding what type of expertise one should be looking for to investigate a particular case or claim.

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Daniel McDonough
Mechanical Expert & Accident Reconstructionist - ARCCA

Mr. McDonough is a mechanical engineer and accident reconstructionist specializing in the safety ofmechanical systems and... Read More

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Program Titles and Supporting Materials

This program contains the following components:

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