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Design Paradigms by Henry Petroski

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6

The Design and Collapse of the Dee Bridge

A Paradigm of Success Masking Error

 

 

 

Except in cases where spectacular public works or loss of life is involved, the details of specific engineering failures are seldom discussed outside the narrow discipline of obvious relevance. Recently, there have been some notable exceptions, of course, including the collapse of the elevated walkways in the Kansas City Hyatt Regency Hotel in 1981 and the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986. Such colossal failures have been headline news, and few engineers of any discipline are unaware of the most probable causes of the failures, at least in a general sense.

Less spectacular and less recent failures tend to be remembered only within the industry ...

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