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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Engineering Science (E SC)

E SC 123S Catastrophic Failures--First-Year Seminar (1) First-year seminar that explores design deficiencies through the study of case histories of a number of famous failures.

E SC 123S Catastrophic Failures (1)
(FYS)

Engineered Systems sometimes fail in catastrophic ways. Bridges collapse, buildings bum, airplanes explode, ships break in two, spontaneous combustion occurs, automobiles crash, etc. Virtually all such failures occur because the designers, builders, and or the users have overlooked some unexpected combination of inputs (they seldom fail due to simple overload). For example, a bridge designer may have overlooked (a) the potential danger of aerodynamic loading and mechanical resonance; (b) having a bridge mooring struck by a tugboat; or, (c) the possibility of an earthquake. The ship designer may not have expected a combination of very cold weather and large waves or bad materials, etc. This seminar explores design deficiencies through the study of cash histories of a number of famous failures such as the explosion of the Challenger (modern era) and the sinking of the Titanic that caused catastrophic loss of life. A primary objective of reliving such failures is to alert students to the myriad factors that must be considered for a safe and effective engineering system, and to encourage them to broaden their education so that they will not repeat the mistakes of the past in their own careers.


General Education: None
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: None
Effective: Summer 2000

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.

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