Engineering Disasters 3 - Documentary Films
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The I-35W Mississippi River bridge collapse in August 2007 provides an iconic example of an engineering disaster.
Shortcuts in engineering design can lead to engineering disasters. Engineering is the science and technology used to meet the needs and demands of society. These demands include buildings, aircraft, vessels, and computer software. In order to meet society’s demands, the creation of newer technology and infrastructure must be met efficiently and cost-effectively. To accomplish this, managers and engineers have to have a mutual approach to the specified demand at hand. This can lead to shortcuts in engineering design to reduce costs of construction and fabrication. Occasionally, these shortcuts can lead to unexpected design failures.
1 Importance of safety
2 Background of failure
3 Failure due to static loading
4 Failure due to fatigue
5 Failure due to miscommunication
6 Infamous disasters in engineering
6.1.1 Tay Bridge Disaster (1879)
6.1.2 Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapse (1940)
6.1.3 Hyatt Regency Hotel walkway collapse (1981)
6.2.1 Challenger explosion (1986)
6.2.2 Columbia disaster (2003)
6.3.1 Liberty ships in WWII
6.3.2 Steamboat Sultana (1865)
7 See also
Importance of safety
In the field of engineering, the importance of safety is emphasized. Learning from past engineering failures and infamous disasters such as the Challenger explosion brings the sense of reality to what can happen when appropriate safety precautions are not taken. Safety tests such as tensile testing, finite element analysis (FEA), and failure theories help provide information to design engineers about what maximum forces and stresses can be applied to a certain region of a design. These precautionary measures help prevent failures due to overloading and deformation.
Background of failure
Failure occurs when a structure or device has been used past the limits of design that inhibits proper function. If a structure is designed to only support a certain amount of stress, strain, or loading and the user applies greater amounts, the structure will begin to deform and eventually fail. Several factors contribute to failure including a flawed design, improper use, financial costs, and miscommunication.