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Materials, Chemistry & Biology

Our diverse range of skills and expertise spans across material failures, chemistry and contamination to plant pathology.

We can identify why a material failed, how an incident occurred and determine root cause such as human error, a design or manufacturing flaw, poor material specifications or process implementation.

Our Materials, Chemistry & Biology expertise


Chemistry is an integral part of modern life, both in the commercial and domestic


A composite material is any multicomponent material that contains two or more distinct constituents or phases, i.e. it is made from a combination of two or more different types of constituent material. Perhaps the most familiar

Concrete & Aggregates

Concretes, screeds and aggregates are the backbone of the building industry. Without these materials many structures simply could not be built. Yet the failure of these can have catastrophic

Contamination & Pollution

Fires, explosions, floods, water and chemical leaks, building collapses and other calamities can give rise to issues of contamination. It is not uncommon for machinery, building structures, stock etc. to become contaminated

Electronic Materials

Electronic components rely on various materials such as polymers, metals, and ceramics in order to function. Issues with any of these materials can cause failures, resulting in hazards like fires or power surges. Hawkins Forensic

Fibres & Textiles

Fibres and textiles can be used in a surprising array of critical equipment, from ropes and straps, to Kevlar gloves and PPE. Failure of these items can lead to serious injury or loss of

Glass & Ceramics

Ceramics are familiar materials in everyday life and typically fall into one of the following groups: glasses, structural clays, whiteware, abrasives, cements and advanced ceramics. These are easily recognised all around us, from


Losses involving metallurgical failures occur in a wide range of industrial and domestic environments and can lead to high value claims or even loss of


Losses involving failures of packaging can cause damaged products. This can be very costly and can lead to high value claims or even damage to reputation and loss of consumer confidence.

Plant Pathology

Plant pathology is the study of any factors that cause a plant to express symptoms that are abnormal for the plant in the environment in which it is growing. These symptoms could be leaf spots, tissue discolouration, blight,


Polymers, or plastics as they are more commonly known, are used in all aspects of modern-day life: from pipework to paint coatings, textile fibres to automotive components and adhesives to hot water bottles. Plastics are imbedded


Water chemistry is crucial when considering the compatibility of components with it. This could be ocean going structures or simply components in domestic plumbing systems. We can take samples of water and analyse them, including


Timber can be used for decorative or structural purposes; the way a piece of wood might react to environmental conditions varies hugely depending on type and cut. Hawkins has examined many claims relating to the degradation of

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Why Hawkins?

Hawkins is an industry leader with proven expertise and practical experience, married with a real awareness of our clients’ needs.  

Rapid Response

  • 24/7 availability
  • Early site visit
  • Prompt reporting

Quality Service

  • A specialist team of forensic engineers and scientists
  • Proven expertise and practical experience together with a rigorous peer review system

Breadth & Depth

  • Over 100 impartial experts across an international network of offices
  • Over 50 different areas of specialism

Commercial Awareness

  • A range of services to suit your needs
  • Combining successful outcomes with cost sensitivity

“Clients come back to Hawkins because of our honesty and integrity.  Our subject matter experts have sound technical knowledge and expertise, married with a real commercial awareness of what our clients need.  Hawkins provides a rapid response, giving quick accurate advice and communication of the evidence in a way our clients can act upon.”

Dr Andrew Prickett, Managing Director, Hawkins