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Electric Power Failure Analysis & Prevention
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Corrosion Science & Technology
Electrical & Thermal Performance
Power Systems Engineering / Power Management
Risk Management & Hazard Analysis
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Transmission & Distribution Services
Exponent works closely with the electric utility industry in matters relating to power generation, transmission, and distribution. These studies and investigations range from the failure analysis of major electrical equipment to line-siting studies involving the analysis of electric fields and power-line rights of way. This close working knowledge of electrical power systems has been applied to the electric utility industry, and in addition, has given Exponent a unique perspective to solve electrical problems in industrial applications, public buildings, and other areas where electric power is generated, controlled, and distributed.
Exponent has the expertise needed to analyze complex problems and failures in power plant generating equipment and electrical and control systems; substation transformers, circuit breakers, and switchgear and related relay and control systems; and other electrical power handling equipment. In addition to conducting root-cause analyses related to equipment and system failures, Exponent’s experience has been used by the electric utility industry to defend their operating and maintenance practices before public bodies such as the Public Utility Commissions, in a number of states.
Equipment failure investigation begins with a comprehensive understanding of the equipment, experience in its use, knowledge of operation and maintenance practices and references to equipment design and engineering practices. This combination of talents makes it possible to develop an overall understanding of the problem and to efficiently direct the germane elements of an investigation.
In 2008, a revised National Electric Safety Code will require an analysis of arc-flash hazards in the work place and posted advice on the personal protection equipment that must be worn to gain access to live electrical equipment. Exponent has the expertise to analyze the hazards associated with personnel access to energy zones in the vicinity of equipment that has arc-flash risk. Our scientists and engineers have completed many investigations involving personnel who have been injured or died in such arc-flash events.
Exponent’s team of electrical experts has performed detailed analyses of electrocution scenes in which unknown, hidden, and difficult-to-find electrical hazards existed. In our investigations, Exponent endeavors to determine how the incident occurred, whether or not it was a natural phenomenon (e.g., lightning near a bus shelter), and the role played by the original installation, maintenance of the installation, and later revisions that might have been made to render a previously safe condition unsafe.
Because of the diverse background, knowledge, and experience of Exponent’s team of power engineering experts, Exponent is not limited to after-the-fact investigations. We also apply our expertise to research in new applications in the power generation and distribution field. For example, this includes studies related to distributed energy storage under control of the user, and interfaces with the user’s electric energy supplier.
The Electrical and Semiconductor Practice works closely with Exponent’s other disciplines. Mechanical engineering and materials sciences play a key role in electrical power systems analyses and investigations. The Thermal group often works closely to investigate fires and explosions fires and explosions that prove to be electrical in origin.