High profile, high impact, high stakes

Past and present projects

UQ Materials Performance has been involved with investigating several high profile engineering failures. We have a proven track record of delivering independent advice in high stakes scenarios. Our materials characterisation services are used by our clients to inform various critical decisions.


Fatalities in mining
Queensland Government Mines Inspectorate has engaged UQ Materials Performance on several occasions to the investigate fatalities at mine sites. In recent years, tyre and wheel failures have been involved in more mining fatalities than any other single contributor. The findings from UQMP’s investigations have led to significant changes to industry practices, and the invention of a potentially life-saving device patented by UQ.
Flammable cladding
The Grenfell Tower fire was the worst UK residential fire since WWII. The fire spread rapidly as a result of flammable aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding. Since the disaster, UQ Materials Performance has been active in testing and identification of ACM cladding. Hundreds of samples from buildings around Australia have been analysed by UQ Materials Performance . We are certified by the Insurance Council of Australia for identifying flammable cladding products.
Train derailments
Derailments of passenger and freight trains can cause extensive injuries and deaths, as well as major service disruptions, loss of cargo and environmental damage. UQ Materials Performance has investigated numerous derailments over the course of our 20+ years in operation. Our findings and recommendations have also allowed operators to improve maintenance and inspection practices to better protect against future failures.
Victorian bushfires
The 2009 Black Saturday bushfires resulted in 173 fatalities and destroyed homes. UQ Materials Performance investigated the failures of overhead transmission lines known to have initiated several of the bushfires. UQ Materials Performance provided key expert witness evidence in Victoria’s largest class action.
Water tank collapse
In October 2015, a large tank at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital collapsed during construction, sending 2.7 million litres of water over an adjacent road. Fortunately, no one was injured. UQ Materials Performance was involved in a rapid-response forensic failure investigation and the provision of expert opinion.
Highway truck explosion
In September 2014, a major truck explosion occurred after a truck carrying more than 50 tonnes of ammonium nitrate rolled, caught fire and exploded on the Mitchell Highway, south of Charleville, injuring eight men. UQ Materials Performance was engaged to investigate a key link in the chain of events that led to the explosion.
Electrical product recalls
Faulty solar isolator switches and sub-standard home electrical wiring have been assessed by UQ Materials Performance . Some of these products have been blamed for causing house fires around Australia. Our findings were key to the Electrical Safety Office and the ACCC issuing bans, product recalls and contributing to industry safety bulletins.
Burst water mains
UQ Materials Performance has investigated the cause of numerous ruptures of water and sewerage pipelines, including one on the Gold Coast Highway and another in Sunshine Coast that cut water to 8000 homes. Our findings have allowed councils to better manage their assets, plan replacements and, in some cases, to pursue losses.
Durability reviews
Kinetic façades are an eye-catching feature of modern buildings, designed to flutter naturally in the breeze. Owing to our understanding of material weathering mechanisms, UQ Materials Performance is frequently engaged by architects, suppliers and builders to conduct desktop design reviews of façades and other building elements to ensure they will achieve their design life.