Engineering Failure: What are the common mistakes?
Figure 1 Highland Towers collapsed
“On December 11, 1993 at 1:35pm, the first tower of the Highland Towers apartment complex in Selangor, Malaysia fell, ultimately killing 48 people. The cause of failure was attributed to a landslide that occurred due to pipes that burst, allowing for the barren ground near the site to wash away”– source
Indeed, engineering is one of a field that has been contributed to change the face of this world. The man-made innovations and inventions through these past few decades have been nothing short but incredible. But, shortcuts in engineering design can lead to a massive disaster.
Despite the great development by the engineers, the presence of even a slightly small mistake can lead to an unforgettable catastrophic disaster. The disaster has been a result of design failure, under or overestimations, insufficient knowledge and many more.
In the demands of society, science and technology meet and as a result, engineering is being introduced. These demands include – building, computer software, vessels and aircraft. Newer technology and infrastructure creation must be met efficiently and cost-effectively.
To achieve all of the goals mentioned above, the designated person; especially the engineer must have a mutual approach with all of the departments for the specified demands in hand.
Well, for some engineers, it is hard for them to accomplish the goals as they put the cost margin first instead of the safety of the building occupants. Usually, they made some shortcuts in the design to reduce the costs of construction and fabrication.
Figure 2 Retaining wall failure
Safety importance is emphasized in the field of engineering. By learning from past engineering failures, it really can bring up the sense of reality to what possibly could happen when neglecting the safety precautions method.
By conducting some tests such as; tensile testing, finite element analysis and failure theories may help the engineers to gain information about how much amount of maximum force and stress can be applied to a specific region of the design. These precaution measures help to reduce failures.
Nevertheless, these disasters have been a subject of study and research for the new generation engineers. The investigation is done so that they can learn what is the most common mistakes by engineer and improve the engineering system for a better future.
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