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Expert Witness Mr. O'Brien-Bills, PE:
Forensic Engineering Testimony, Consultation and Engineering Accident Investigations

Mr. O'Brien-Bills, PE is an expert witness and consultant to assist lawyers, legal teams, and clients to find the engineering truth and opine on the engineering.

Fire Tube Scotch Marine (FTSM) Boiler furnace explosion with injury.

Mr. Roland O'Brien-Bills, PE has been an expert witness in a modest number of cases from 2001 to 2014. Also, during that period he has provided accident investigations and consultation for corporations in both private and public sector. Since, he has taken leave for three (3) years, he is now able to devote his knowledge, experience, training and education to clients.

Mr. O'Brien-Bills, PE has expertise in accident investigations dating back to 1980 for insurers. Since that period Mr. O'Brien-Bills, PE has used his skills as an accident investigator and forensic engineer to provide expert witnessing and consultation for explosions, fire-balls and fire events to steam condensate explosions as well as to highly-explosive TCS or SiHCl3.

Here are some past case expert witness summaries and Location:

  • Pipe Failure by Steam Condensate Water Hammer with Two (2) Fatalities - District of Columbia
  • Pipe Flange Bolting - Hydraulic Water Hammer - Flooding - New York
  • Asbestos - Injury - Illinois
  • Improper Boiler Shutdown - Injury - New York
  • Steam Turbine Poor Application - Restoration - New York
  • Warehouse Freezer Evaporator Failure - Spoilage and Restoration - Hawaii
  • Pressure Vessel Shell Plate Lamination - Restoration - Texas
  • Hot Water Boiler Expansion Cushion Tank Failure - Injury - Connecticut
  • Boiler Stack Failure - Building Fire - Restoration - Wyoming
  • Hot Water Boiler Explosion - Injuries and Restoration - Maine
  • Uninsulated Steam and Condensate Piping - Injury - Maryland
  • Warehouse Freezer Evaporator Failure - Spoilage and Restoration - Massachusetts
  • Boiler Furnace Explosion - Injury - Maryland
  • Poor Hot Water Application - Injury - New York
  • Poorly Designed Aboveground Storage Tank Ladder - Injury - New York
  • Steam Turbine Explosion and Wreckage - Fatality - Louisiana
  • Piping Failure Steam Condensate Water Hammer - Fatality - New York
  • Chemical Piping Flange Failure - Injuries - New York

Here is a list of some of the Consulting / Accident Investigation work and Location:

  • Water Tube Boiler Water Wall Tie Strap Failure - New York
  • Steam Boiler Explosion - Florida
  • Rotating Pressure Vessel Explosion - North Carolina
  • Medium Temperature Hot Water Boiler Corrosion Failure - Canada
  • Waste Heat Boiler ASME Code Design and Application - Africa
  • Wood Chip Storage Application - Maine
  • High-Temperature Hot Water Piping Failure - New York
  • Cast Iron Boiler Furnace Explosion - New York
  • FTSM Boiler Furnace Explosion - New York
  • Chemical Pressure Vessel Storage Tank - Rupture - New York
  • Water Tube Boiler Meltdown - New York
  • High-Temperature Hot Oil Pipe Fitting Impact Failure - New York
  • Steam Plant - New Water Tube Boiler Failures - New York
  • Pressure Vessels Freeze Damage for Restoration - New York
  • Chemical Aboveground Storage Tank Explosion - New York
  • FTSM Boiler Burner Control Failure - Michigan

Wire Mesh preparation for FEA Finite Element Analysis on Pressure VesselMr. O'Brien-Bills, PE has inspected and evaluated many thousands of boilers, pressure vessels, machinery, and electrical machinery and electrical distribution equipment (switch gear and transformers) and the processes they are applied to in the States of Texas, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania, as well as Puerto Rico, and the country of the Dominican Republic.

His experience includes metallurgy for generators/boilers/waste heat/HRSG, risk engineering, boiler inspections and useful life studies, electrical machinery assessment, as well as engineering design for piping to concrete structures.


Risk Engineering Calculation for Probability

The results are simplified. A Risk Engineer should be consulted in every case. This is used to determine the probability or number of failures per year that your facility is or can experience. In the mathamatical model I have labeled the object as PRESSURE VESSELS, but you can substitute this for say steam turbines or boilers; however, using this model for steam or process piping requires extra steps. If you have zero-pressure vessel failures then enter the number '1.' This value of '1' will base your probability at this very moment. Therefore, as the aging of the pressure vessels in your facility accumulates without failure so will the chances of a fail decrease. Ideally, a industrialized country can experienced a pressure vessel failure every (approximately) 450-million pressure years, then your probability will decrease to 4.5x10-7 failures per year. Finally, a probability of 0.001 failures per year is the same as 0.1% or the same as 1 in 1,000 chance of a failure occurring this year.
Number of Known Pressure Vessel Failures
Number of Pressure Vessels
Estimated Average Life of Pressure Vessels in Facility

Pressure Vessel Calculation -internal- for thin wall Pressure Vessels

The results are approximate. An Engineer needs to be consulted in all cases. Thinned walled pressure vessels 10%r>t. Material stress value can be found in the International ASME B&PV Code Section 2 based on the rated temperature on nameplate. A joint efficiency of 1=seamless pipe or radiography of 100%.  To find the joint efficiency review the International ASME B&PV. The minimum thickness does not consider the corrosion allowance. The deformation and burst are at best an estimate and are displayed as a teaching tool for carbon steels only where their behaviors are reasonably predictable. The Deformation is based on the yield strength and the burst is based on the ultimate tensile strength. Finally, a pressure vessel should be at least 1/4-inch thick regardless of the internal pressure.
Pressure MAWP
Inside Diameter
Stress Value
Joint Efficiency
1.0 - 0.65
Minimum thickness
Deformation thickness
Burst thickness


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