Argonne National Laboratory

Upcoming Events

Engineering Failures and the Need for Experience Beyond the Textbook

Argonne Engineering Professionals Seminar
Dave Raske (NE, retired)
November 21, 2012 12:00PM to 1:00PM
Building 208, Room A138
Only about 25 percent of all structural failures are due to the fault of the engineer; but when they occur, more than half are due to a lack of knowledge about how the structure is constructed, how it may be used or abused, or how it can fail [1].

Very few manufacturers or engineering firms bother to train their engineers by sending them into the shop and field to understand how their products are built and used. Consequently, many designs by 'textbook engineers' contain elements that impair construction or make the structure prone to failure by typical but unanticipated use.

This seminar describes four failures, all the result of the inability of the design engineer to anticipate how the construction, use, or abuse might cause a disastrous failure.

[1]David Raske, September 2012.  Terry Wireman, Maintenance basics: The first step toward zero breakdowns, Engineer’s Digest, August 1996, p. 37.