Suzy Smyth

Suzanne Smyth, Ph.D., P.E., CFI, CVFI

Managing Engineer
Thermal Sciences
Chicago - Downtown
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Dr. Suzanne Smyth has over ten years of experience consulting on a variety of complex mechanical engineering problems in industrial, commercial, and residential settings. She specializes in the application of fire science, combustion, heat transfer, thermodynamics, and fluid dynamics to failure analysis, failure prevention, and risk assessment. Her expertise has been used in a variety of litigation matters as well as in product and process safety assessments and consulting.

Dr. Smyth is experienced in the investigation and prevention of fires and explosions in structures, vehicles, and industrial equipment. She has led scientific fire and explosion cause and origin analyses involving consumer products, on and off highway vehicles, residential appliances, commercial kitchen equipment, heavy equipment, and industrial machinery. She has investigated incidents in the agricultural, transportation, construction, milling, mining, and other chemical and food processing industries.

Dr. Smyth also applies her mechanical engineering expertise to a variety of failures within combustion, mechanical, and fluid handling systems including industrial burners, pollution control equipment, material processing equipment, hydraulics, pneumatics, plumbing, and air handling systems. She has investigated water losses, HVAC failures, carbon monoxide poisonings, unintended releases, and other mechanical failures.

Prior to joining Exponent, Dr. Smyth was a research assistant in the Combustion Physics Laboratory where she studied small-scale catalytically reacting flows of methane and propane. Dr. Smyth has also served as a Teaching Assistant for undergraduate laboratory courses in heat transfer and fluid dynamics.

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2008
  • M.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2005
  • B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Michigan State University, 2002
  • Pi Tau Sigma Engineering Honor Society

    Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society

LICENSES & CERTIFICATIONS

Licensed Professional Engineer, Illinois, # 062.063138

Licensed Professional Engineer, Indiana, #PE11400703

Licensed Professional Engineer, Michigan #6201064645

Licensed Professional Mechanical Engineer, Minnesota, #54668

Licensed Professional Engineer, Wisconsin, ##45465-6

Certified Fire Investigator (CFI), in accordance with the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI), Certificate No. 12-060263

  • Motor Vehicle Fire Credential Endorsement
Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator, NAFI No. 14886-7884

Certified Vehicle Fire Investigator, NAFI No. 14886-7884

Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) training in accordance with OSHA 29 CFR 1910.120

Publications

Smyth, SA, Cox, BL, Hetrick, TJ, Ogle, RA. Lessons Learned from a Milling Explosion, 12th International Symposium on Hazards, Prevention and Mitigation of Industrial Explosions (ISHPMIE), Kansas City, KS, August 12-17, 2018.

Hetrick TM, Smyth SA, Ogle RA, Ramirez JC. Evaluating the potential for gasoline geysering from small engine fuel tanks. ASCE-ASME Journal of Risk and Uncertainty in Engineering Systems, Part B: Mechanical Engineering, 2017 October; 4(2).

Smyth S, Morrison D, Cox B. Application of HBSE to the fire risk of clothes dryers. Proceedings, 2015 IEEE Symposium on Product Compliance Engineering, Product Safety Engineering Society, May 2015.

Morrison DR, Ramirez JC, Smyth S, Fecke MT. Understanding and managing the often-ignored fire & explosion hazards of industrial air systems. 6th CCPS Latin American Conference on Process Safety, Buenos Aires, Argentina, September 15–17, 2014.

Ramirez JC, Smyth SA, Ogle RA. BLEVE energy and aerosol formation: An exergy analysis. ASME 2014 International Mechanical Engineering Conference & Exposition, Montreal, Canada, November 2014.

Hetrick TM, Smyth SA, Ogle RA, Ramirez JC. Evaluating the potential for flashing discharge from small engine fuel tanks. ASME 2014 International Mechanical Engineering Conference & Exposition, Montreal, Canada, November, 2014.

Ramirez, JC, Smyth SA, Ogle RA. Maximum missile velocity from boiling-liquid expanding vapor explosions (BLEVE) using exergy analysis. ASME 2012 International Mechanical Engineering Conference & Exposition IMECE 2012, Houston, TX, November, 2012.

Ogle RA, Smyth SA, Carpenter AR. Investigation of a chlorine gas release caused by the mixing of incompatible chemicals. American Society of Civil Engineers 6th Congress on Forensic Engineering, San Francisco, CA, October 2012. 

Smyth S, Dillon S. Common causes of bus fires. SAE Technical Paper 2012-01-0989, 2012. 

Smyth S, Kyritsis DC. Experimental determination of the structure of catalytic micro-combustion flows over small-scale flat plates for methane and propane fuel. Combustion and Flame 2012; 159:802–816. 

Ogle RA, Ramirez JC, Smyth SA. Calculating the explosion energy of a BLEVE using exergy analysis. 7th Global Congress on Process Safety, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2011 Spring Meeting, Chicago, IL, March 16, 2011. 

Ramirez J, Smyth S, Ogle R. Towards an exergy-based explosion energy model for boiling-liquid expanding-vapor explosions. ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, Denver, CO, 2011. 

Ogle RA, Ramirez JC, Smyth SA. Calculating the explosion energy of a boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion using exergy analysis. Process Safety Progress 2011; 31:51–54. 

Smyth SA, Christensen KT, Kyritsis DC. Intermediate Reynolds/Peclet flat plate boundary layer flows over catalytic surfaces for “micro”-combustion applications. Proceedings, 32nd Combustion Institute, 2008. 

Smyth SA, Kyritsis DC. Intermediate Reynolds number reactive boundary layers in catalytic micro-combustion flows. American Institute of Chemical Engineers Spring National Meeting, New Orleans, LA, April 6–10, 2008. 

Smyth SA, Kyritsis DC. Species and temperature measurements in intermediate Reynolds number boundary layers in micro-combustion flows. 5th US Combustion Meeting, University of California at San Diego, San Diego, CA, March 25–28, 2007. 

Smyth SA, Bijjula K, Kyritsis DC. Experimental investigation of fundamental micro-combustion flows. International Journal of Alternative Propulsion 2006; 1(2/3):294–308. 

Smyth SA, Bijjula K, Kyritsis DC. Experimental investigation of mesoscale boundary layer flows over catalytic surfaces. Western States Section of the Combustion Institute Fall Technical Meeting, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, October 17–18, 2005.

Professional Affiliations

The Combustion Institute

Society of Automotive Engineers (Member, Fire Safety Committee)

National Fire Protection Association

  • Principal member of the Technical Committee for NFPA 505, Fire Safety Standard for Powered Industrial Trucks

International Association of Arson Investigators -- IAAI

National Association of Fire Investigators

Knowledge

News & Events

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2008
  • M.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2005
  • B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Michigan State University, 2002
  • Pi Tau Sigma Engineering Honor Society

    Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society

LICENSES & CERTIFICATIONS

Licensed Professional Engineer, Illinois, # 062.063138

Licensed Professional Engineer, Indiana, #PE11400703

Licensed Professional Engineer, Michigan #6201064645

Licensed Professional Mechanical Engineer, Minnesota, #54668

Licensed Professional Engineer, Wisconsin, ##45465-6

Certified Fire Investigator (CFI), in accordance with the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI), Certificate No. 12-060263

  • Motor Vehicle Fire Credential Endorsement
Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator, NAFI No. 14886-7884

Certified Vehicle Fire Investigator, NAFI No. 14886-7884

Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) training in accordance with OSHA 29 CFR 1910.120