Tag Archives: fracture-critical

Designing to Avoid Disaster: the Nature of Fracture-Critical Design

Dean Fisher discussed fracture-critical design at the 2012 TedxUMN conference.A new book by Dean Thomas Fisher, Designing to Avoid Disaster, draws a connection between recent catastrophic events like the collapse of the I-35W bridge and the flooding of New Orleans, and fracture-critical designs: structures that are susceptible to complete and sudden collapse should one part not perform as intended. In New Orleans, the failure of the levees during Hurricane Katrina illustrate why a system lacking redundancy–a duplication of critical components–turned a minor failure into a major catastrophe: "While Hurricane Katrina certainly stressed that system with high winds and waves," writes Fisher, "the flooding of the city came after the hurricane had begun to subside. The levees, weakened by the…

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