Robert Sparling B.Eng.Mgt., P.Eng.

Senior Vice President & Practice Lead, Materials & Product Failure / Piping & HVAC
Direct: 647-738-5645

expert summary

Rob is a Senior Forensic Materials Engineer, with 20 years of industry experience. For the past 7 years, Rob has acted as the Principal of the Materials Failure analysis group at -30- Forensic Engineering. Rob possesses over 12 years of failure analysis and related work experience in the Aerospace industry. He has specialized experience in the causes of failure of a wide variety of consumer and industrial products.   He also investigates personal injuries associated with a wide variety products including power tools, amusement rides, scaffolding, lifts, doors, glass bottles/cups, hoisting equipment, and many other products.


  • Product Liability Investigations
  • Personal Injury Investigations
  • Mechanical Failure Analysis
  • Gas and Steam Turbine Failure Analysis
  • Rotating Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Piping and Plumbing Analysis
  • HVAC and Fancoil Failures
  • Boiler Tube Corrosion and Failure
  • Furniture Injury Investigations
  • Industrial/Construction Failures/Injury Investigations
  • Fractography and Fracture Surface Analysis
  • Analysis of Welded, Brazed or Soldered joints.
  • Material Characterization and Identification
  • Metallurgical Analysis of the Microstructure and Mechanical Properties of Materials
  • Corrosion Characterization and Assessment
  • Personal Injury/Failure Amusement Rides
  • Scanning Electron Microscopy and Energy Dispersive X-Ray Analysis
  • Glass and Ceramic Failures
  • Plastic and Polymer Failures

academic background

Bachelor of Engineering and Management, Summa Cum Laude, McMaster University, 1995

professional experience

-30- Forensic Engineering 
Principal – Materials Failures Group and Senior Forensic Materials Engineer
November 2008 – Present, Toronto, ON

  • Lead investigator in over 2000 failure investigations
  • Over 750 detailed technical reports produced
  • Over 175 personal injury investigations
  • Product performance/standard compliance and personal injury
  • Product failure investigations
  • Gas and steam turbine failure investigations
  • Industrial Diesel Engine Failures
  • Heavy Equipment Failures
  • Fuel oil tank corrosion investigations
  • Cases involving plumbing failures
  • Welding, soldering and brazing failure investigations
  • Industrial equipment failure investigations
  • Automotive component failure investigations
  • Amusement Ride investigations including swings and Ferris wheels
  • Investigating failures resulting from inappropriate material selection
  • Cases involving the characterization and/or identification of materials

Liburdi Turbine Services Ltd.
Senior Materials Engineer – Processes
January 2008 – November 2008, Dundas, ON

  • Welding - GTAW, PAW, SAW, Laser Welding
  • Vacuum and Controlled Atmosphere Heat Treatment
  • Brazing and Wide Gap Brazing
  • Elevated Temperature Welding
  • Automated Welding
  • Induction heating
  • Thermal spray coatings
  • Chemical Stripping
  • Machining of Steels, Stainless Steels and Superalloys
  • Electro-Discharge Machining (EDM)
  • Metal and Glass Bead Peening

Senior Engineer-Manufacturing
2004 – April 2007, Dundas, ON

  • Responsible for Aerospace and Industrial Gas Turbine component repairs including:
    • Engineering responsibility for projects totalling more than $30,000,000 in revenue
    • Communication of engineering changes to 120 shop floor staff
    • Material deviation and conformance evaluation
    • Process flow and monitoring

Liburdi Automation Inc.
Senior Project Engineer - Automated Brazing Equipment
April 2007 – January 2008, Dundas, ON

  • Process/system development including:
    • Developing a novel brazing process for applying cubic boron nitride to turbine blades
    • Designing a $1,000,000 automated vacuum brazing system incorporating, high speed/resolution infrared temperature measurement, robotic part manipulation, automated part handling, induction heating, 10-9 Atmosphere vacuum chamber and pumping system
    • Leading a build team of 2 engineers and 3 technicians
    • Overseas system installation and support

Liburdi Engineering Ltd. 
Senior Metallurgical Engineer
2001 – 2004, Dundas, ON

  • Producing and reviewing detailed technical reports on-site inspections, remaining life and reparability of gas turbine and jet engine components
  • Conducting more than 30 failure analyses on gas turbine components
  • Developing shop floor level repair specifications for gas turbine components
  • Developing modified wide gap brazing process for new industrial gas turbine blades
  • Managing a multi-year, $5,000,000 new part manufacturing project

Metallurgical Engineer
1997 – 2001, Dundas, ON

  • Performing over 200 component life and failure analysis
  • Developing wide gap brazing process

professional societies and associations


  • Professional Engineers of Ontario
  • Ontario Society for Professional Engineers
  • A Society for Materials (ASM International)
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
  • National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE)

awards and achievements

  • 2011-2013 ASM, Canada Counsel
  • 2012-2015 ASM, Ontario Chapter, Treasurer
  • 2011 Chair, ASM, Ontario Chapter
  • 2009, 2010 Vice Chair, ASM Ontario Chapter
  • The Shell Canada Prize in Engineering and Management
  • Hogooven’s Summer Internship Award
  • National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada Summer Research Grant
  • American Standard Award
  • Canadian Ceramics Society Scholarship
  • The MMG-Neosid Canada Limited Ceramic Engineering Prize

court and other appearances

  • Qualified as an expert witness in Ontario Superior Court as expert in metallurgical analysis, plumbing and underground services
  • Qualified as an expert witness in an Ontario Ministry of the Environment Tribunal as an expert in materials engineering, vacuum systems, corrosion, failure analysis and stress analysis of failed objects


  • “Forensic Engineering Tracks Valve Failures”, Valve Magazine, July 2013
  • “Problems in the Pipes”, Claims Canada, 2011
  • “When Objects Break, Protecting the Evidence”, Claims Canada, 2010
  • “Liburdi Power Metallurgy, Applications for Manufacture and Repair of Gas Turbine Components.”, 6th International Parsons Turbine Conference, Dublin, Ireland, 2003
  • “T-64 Third Stage Nozzle Braze Repair.”, ASME Turbo Expo, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, 2003
  • “Liburdi Power Metallurgy, New Compositions for High Strength Repairs of Turbine Components,”, ASME Turbo Expo, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2002


  • “Method for Manufacturing an Abrasive Coating on a Gas Turbine Component”, International Patent, 2009

speaking engagements

  • “Fuel Oil Leaks”, Canadian Oil Heat Association, 2016 Annual Conference, June 2016
  • “Review of Fuel Oil Tank Failures in Ontario, Canadian Oil Heat Association, Ontario Chapter, September 30, 2015
  • “Review of Fuel Oil System Failures in Ontario”, Failure Analysis and Prevention Symposium, Montreal, October 2013
  • “Fuel Oil Tank Failures and Spills”, OMIA Conference, March 2010
  • “Diesel Engine Failure/Burning Steel”, ASM Ontario Chapter, October 2009

standards committees

  • CSA B125, “Plumbing Fixtures”, Standard Committee, Voting Member Since 2013



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