NWDMAN-MADEEngineering Failures In History: Why They Occurred And What We Can Learn From Them

Engineering Failures In History: Why They Occurred And What We Can Learn From Them

Engineering Disasters List

There are many actions within a wide variety of industries that have led to great disasters. Ones that have deeply affected our planet, sometimes causing deaths, ripping apart communities and leaving a lot of destruction in their path. Amongst these are engineer disasters, failures and accidents in this sector have prevailed in some of the worst and most devastating outcomes seen in the world. Whilst this is a horrible aspect to witness and in many cases very complicated to understand, we hope that through these engineering mishaps we have learnt enough to prevent the same issues from occurring again in the future. Today we are going to be taking a deeper look into some of the worst engineering failures in history and what happened as a result of such an accident.

Famous Engineering Disasters 

The biggest engineering failures have a reputation purely because of the destruction and havoc they caused. Some of these effects affected entire populations, countries and most importantly our environment. They are famous for their long term impact and have been researched by scientist for many years as a way of trying to figure out, why the problem occurred and how others in the industry can prevent it from reoccurring in the future. Some of the worst engineering fails have arisen as a result of shortcuts during the design process, weak structure and too much external pressure. The engineering sector is one of the highest demand, society is always looking for more, greater and better. This type of science, technology and intricate structure is used to create many of the designs which hold the structure of most of our large scale technology. A simple misstep, structure fault or even communication issue can result in a massive engineering failure that has far greater risks than you could ever imagine.

Engineering Disasters List 

In order to fully understand the severity of an engineer failure, it is important to look back in history at some of the worst engineering catastrophes. Some of the most famous engineering failures have gone down in history and are remembered purely because of the impact they had. Some of the worst failures seen on this list of engineering disasters include: 

The Hindenburg Disaster 

The Hindenburg Disaster

The Hindenburg Disaster is an engineer fail that that put a large halt towards the aircraft industry. This was a German Airship that was set to land in New Jersey in the year 1937. During the landing process, the aircraft was set on fire and was destroyed killing 35 passengers and severely injuring 97 others. When this incident was invested it was found that the fire broke out as a result of an electrostatic discharge and consequently stopped passenger air flights for months after.

Quebec Bridge 

Quebec Bridge

The collapse of the Quebec Bridge in Canada was an engineering fail that actually happened twice. In both the year 1907 and later in 1916. The first collapse killed 75 workers in a matter of just 15 seconds. The second failure happened just as the bridge was near compilation but due to a sructual issue collapsed killing 13 men with it. 

Titanic 

Titanic disaster

The Titanic is one of the worst engineering disasters of all time. Its story is still told to this day as it became a great learning lesson for the future of the engineering world moving forward. Originally the titanic was deemed unsinkable, but a slight collision with an iceberg eventually sent one of the largest ships in the world at the time sinking to the bottom of the ocean. When scientifically researched it was found that because of haste in the manufacturing process there were faults in the structure and design as well as low quality steel which is ultimately responsible for the sinkage and mass killing.

Charles De Gaulle Airport Terminal 

Charles De Gaulle Airport Terminal

The collapse of the Charles De Gaulle Aiport Terminal is one of the biggest engineering disasters to date and resulted in 4 deaths and 3 severe injuries. This disaster engineering failure happened as a result of the weak structure, design flaws, purely placed steel, weak beams and a lack of support systems. Because of this structural mishap, a huge portion of the Terminal 2E roof collapsed, destroying everything in its path.

The Space Shuttle Challenger

The Space Shuttle Challenger

The disaster of the space shuttle challenger failure is one of the biggest engineering failures of all time. It lead to tragic loss and was seen in real-time as it was broadcast live on national television. This disaster took place on January 28, 1986, when a space shuttle was launched in the air breaking apart in just 73 seconds after liftoff. With it killed all 7 astronauts on board. Through investigation, it was found that this collapse happened as a result of a structural issue that resulted in the shuttle external fuel tank exploding. This was one of the most devastating events by NASA and created devastating and embarrassment for the company and alot of grief for the families of the astronauts it took down with it. 

Air France Concorde Crash 

Air France Concorde Crash

Another one of the major engineering failures that have occurred to date is the Air France Concorde Crash. A devastating airline crash killed all 109 people on board. This occurred as a result of one of the most massive engineering mistakes leaving the tire of the airline blown out right at the beginning of takeoff. This overlook on attention to detail and lack of proper checking protocols meant that a large fragment f the tire rubber hit the fuel tank on the wing, making it rupture, setting a fire and eventually causing the entire engine to fail. Upon further investigation, there were some issues picked up with the electrical wiring system of the plane, lack of routine maintenance checks and an overweight aircraft.

Skylab Disaster 

Skylab Disaster

Another one of the top engineering disasters is the destruction of America’s first space station Skylab. This disasters engineering mistake cost the country billions of dollars and were truly tragic for the population and all the workers involved. Skylab was launched on May 14, 1973, and was built using hardware from the Apollo Moon program. As a result of design and structural issues, Skylab lost both its primary solar panels during takeoff and experienced severe damage to its sunshade. They tried many times to fix these damages up due to a faulty initial structure it was eventually unfixable and same crashing down over time. Most of it landed in the ocean and caused a lot of pollution and environmental damage.

There are many other major engineering disasters that have taken place over time, each resulting ins severe and damaging outcomes that have been harmful to many aspects of our planet.

Common Engineering Failures 

When looking at all these major engineering accidents there are some common themes that occur throughout them all. Its commonalities like this are helpful to learn from and can be somewhat avoided in similar events that will be structured and built in the future. Some of the most common engineering mistakes include : 

  • Running too many prototype tests 
  • Lack of management in the industrial design process 
  • Lack of communication 
  • Failure to be precise and pay attention to detail
  • Failing to keep safety in mind through each element of the design process 
  • Missing and overlooking smaller parts and details 
  • Stretching engineering businesses to thin in order to try to obtain a larger profit 
  • Failure to admit when something does not look right or a small mistake is made 
  • Failure to prepare thoroughly 

The Bottom Line 

As you can see as a result of even small mistakes and structural issues within the engineering process of building some of the most important pieces of technology and foundations there have been accidents that have had large and damaging impacts. Within the engineering field, it is important to understand that every element of the design and building process needs the same amount of care and attention. Rushing and overlooking aspects for design can result in catastrophes that create far greater damage than the time it may take to fix the design issue beforehand.

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