Case Studies in Forensic Metallurgy

Photo of a damaged leg brace.

Metallurgical analysis of this leg brace helped determine why it failed suddenly. (Image by Prof. Kenneth Russell.)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Fall 2007



Cite This Course

Course Description

Course Features

Course Highlights

This course contains original reports and photos pertaining to each case study. In addition, many cases include links to the relevant edition of "Calamities," a column by Prof. Russell.

Course Description

TV programs such as "Law and Order" show how forensic experts are called upon to give testimony that often determines the outcome of court cases. Engineers are one class of expert who can help display evidence in a new light to solve cases. In this seminar you will be part of the problem-solving process, working through both previously solved and unsolved cases. Each week we will investigate cases, from the facts that make up each side to the potential evidence we can use as engineers to expose culprits. The cases range from disintegrating airplane engines to gas main explosions to Mafia murders. This seminar will be full of discussions about the cases and creative approaches to reaching the solutions. The approach is hands-on so you will have a chance to participate in the process, not simply study it. Some background reading and oral presentation are required.

Related Content

Kenneth Russell, and Kyra Sedransk. 3.A27 Case Studies in Forensic Metallurgy. Fall 2007. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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