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Forensic engineers investigate materials, products, structures or components that fail or do not operate or function as intended; these defects or failures often cause damage to property, injury, or even death. Their reports and judgments about the causes of failure are used as evidence in personal-injury lawsuits, contract or warranty disputes, and patent and copyright infringement litigation, in addition to criminal cases. Forensic engineers have played a key role investigating some of the major accidents and terrorist acts in recent history, ranging from both space shuttle disasters to engineering studies conducted to determine why both towers of the World Trade Center collapsed so quickly on September 11, 2001, and the I-35W bridge collapse in Minnesota.
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