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Design Paradigms by Henry Petroski

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10

Historic Bridge Failures and Caveats for Future Designs

 

 

 

The relationship between success and failure in design constitutes one of the fundamental paradoxes of engineering. The accumulation of successful experience tends to embolden designers to attempt ever more daring and ambitious projects, which seem almost invariably to culminate in a colossal failure that takes everyone by surprise. In the wake of failure, on the other hand, there is generally a renewed conservatism that leads to new and untried design concepts that prove ironically to be eminently successful precisely because the design process proceeds cautiously from fundamentals and takes little for granted. As the new design form evolves and matures, however, the cautions ...

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