Humankind has achieved great engineering feats, from underwater tunnels to skyscrapers, yet for all its intelligence, it is still far from infallible. We often hear news of engineering disasters and they are bound to happen because like humans, technology too is evolving and it is not perfect.
A Comprehensive List of Engineering Disasters
Humankindhas achieved great engineering feats, from underwater tunnels to skyscrapers,yet for all its intelligence, it is still far from infallible. We often hearnews of engineering disasters and they are bound to happen because like humans,technology too is evolving and it is not perfect.
Engineeringdisasters occur because of flaws in design, human error, and certainuncontrollable situations. The Chernobyl nuclear disaster occurred because ofdeficiencies in the design and not sticking to guidelines. On the other hand,the World Trade Center's internal structure failure was not because of debrisload, but the collapse was caused by fire alone. While constructing a building,tunnel, or a bridge, engineers always plan and design considering few importantaspects that could affect the engineering structure in the real-time. Forinstance, a bridge would be designed considering traffic density for the nextten or fifteen years, earthquake loads, and hydrostatic pressure. Now it is notpossible for a human mind to plan and design for unseen situations that mightarrive in the future. No one would have expected the World Trade Center tocollapse because of excessive heating despite the presence of fireproof systemswell in place. Through this guide to engineering disasters, we will discusssome of the not so popular engineering disasters of the recent times andlook also at recorded human responses when things suddenly go badly wrong.
Failed Bridges across the World
Bridgefailures affect our connectivity, and if the bridge fails at a remote location,places might be isolated from the main land or other regions for a long periodof time. For instance, the Tay Bridge in Scotland was destroyed when a violentstorm hit the bridge. Its destruction was due to design failure as well asproblems with construction. We have listed a few articles here that cast lighton the cause and effect of failed bridges.
- The Tay Rail Bridge Collapse
- The Dee River Bridge Failure - A Forensic Analysis
- Minneapolis I-35 West Bridge Failure
Failures on the High Sea
Marinershave a tough life and if an engineering breakdown occurs on a voyage, it couldbe real pain if you do not know how to handle it. Even the mighty, supposedlyunsinkable Titanic failed because an iceberg hit it and tore it into twopieces. Mariners need to take extra care with repair tools and backups becausebeing stranded in the midst of the Atlantic Ocean is not a good idea at all.Bad luck is something that can hit anyone, and the only way out is a positiveapproach and enough repair backup. Loss of oil rigs and accidents at thedrilling sites are other problems which mariners encounter frequently. Throughthe articles listed in this section, we learn about famous marine engineeringfailures and the real-life experiences of two of our writers at Bright Hub aswell.
- Boiler Tube Meltdown at Sea - a 78 Hour Stop Amidst the Sea
- The Sinking Story of Titanic
- Failure of Ship's Crane Brake - A Personal Experience
- The Sinking of the OBO Carrier MV Derbyshire
- The Failure of the UK-France Aircraft Carrier Design
- The Failure of the Piper Alpha Oil Rig
- Liberty Ship Design Flaws and Failures
Nucleartechnology is all set to change the world in the coming years. However, thereis a huge disadvantage associated with the nuclear energy and that is nuclearradiation. Unlike other engineering failures, the nuclear disasters have thepotential to affect more than one generation. The Chernobyl Disaster inUkraine, the Tokiamura Disaster in Japan, and the Chalk River disaster inCanada are some of the accidents that saw the devastating effects of a nuclearaccident. In this section, we have listed a few articles highlighting thenuclear disasters of recent times.
- Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant - A Tragic Disaster
- History of Tragic Nuclear Power Plant Disasters
- Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant Disaster
- Tokiamura Nuclear Power Plant Accident
- Japan Nuclear Meltdown: What Actually Happened?
Inthis section we have compiled a list of five most devastating engineeringdisasters of recent times that shook the world. The impact these engineeringdisasters had on our society was huge. However, engineering has always beenabout failure and learning from it and that's what the engineering fraternitydid and still doing to make our lives better.
- The Boston Molasses Tank Explosion and Flood
- May 1842 Versailles Train Crash (Established proof of metal fatigue)
- The St. Francis Dam Failure in California (Safety factor miscalculated)
- History of the Worst Flour Mill Explosions
- Lumpur Sidoarjo Oil and Gas Disaster (Lusi mud volcano)
Herewe have compiled few articles highlighting common modes of failures ofbuildings, machines, and other engineering structures. These articles willenable you to learn about and analyze common causes of failures. Learning fromothers' mistakes is the best way to learn and reduce the probability offailure, and through these articles we get to know about most common mistakesand causes. Here we have exclusive articles that throw light on how frequencyleads to failures with regard to power plants, why structures fail, what arethe most common modes of construction failures, and much more.
- Failures due to Natural Frequency Resonance
- Reasons Behind Common Structural Failures
- Reasons Behind Common Construction Failures
- Understanding Tube Failures in High Pressure Boilers
Wheneverwe talk about engineering disasters, we cannot ignore natural disasters. Oflate Tsunamis have affected the world greatly and Japan became its latestvictim in 2011. Tsunamis affect our daily life greatly and affect ourengineering structures badly.
- Tsunami - A Natural Disaster
- Complete List of Natural Disasters
Lessons Learned from Engineering Failures
Wealways learn from our mistakes, and the engineering fraternity has alwaysincorporated lessons learned from engineering disasters to at least avoid thesame kind of failure again. For new types of failures, we can always staypositive that more lessons are learned at the cost of less damage.
Arethere any other topics concerning engineering disasters that you would like tosee covered at Bright Hub? If so, please include your suggestions in thecomments section below. Please note that comments are moderated and take sometime to appear.