Catastrophic failure

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A catastrophic failure is a sudden and total failure from which recovery is impossible. Catastrophic failures often lead to cascading systems failure. The term is most commonly used for structural failures, but has often been extended to many other disciplines in which total and irrecoverable loss occurs. Such failures are investigated using the methods of forensic engineering, which aims to isolate the cause or causes of failure.

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For example, catastrophic failure can be observed in steam turbine rotor failure, which can occur due to peak stress on the rotor; stress concentration increases up to a point at which it is excessive, leading ultimately to the failure of the disc.

In firearms, catastrophic failure usually refers to a rupture or disintegration of the barrel or receiver of the gun when firing it. Some possible causes of this are an out-of-battery gun, an inadequate headspace, the use of incorrect ammunition, the use of ammunition with an incorrect propellant charge, [1] a partially or fully obstructed barrel, [2] or weakened metal in the barrel or receiver. A failure of this type, known colloquially as a "kaboom", or "kB" failure, can pose a threat not only to the user(s) but even many bystanders.

In chemical engineering, thermal runaway can cause catastrophic failure.

Examples

Original Tay Bridge from the north Original Tay Bridge before the 1879 collapse.jpg
Original Tay Bridge from the north
Fallen Tay Bridge from the north Tay bridge down.JPG
Fallen Tay Bridge from the north

Examples of catastrophic failure of engineered structures include:

See also

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Teton Dam Dam in Fremont & Madison counties, Idaho

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The Banqiao Reservoir Dam is a dam on the River Ru (汝河), a tributary of the Hong River in Zhumadian City, Henan province, China. The Banqiao dam and Shimantan Reservoir Dam are among 62 dams in Zhumadian that failed catastrophically or were intentionally destroyed in 1975 during Typhoon Nina. The dam was subsequently rebuilt.

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Squib load Firearm malfunction

A squib load, also known as a squib round, pop and no kick, or just a squib, is a firearm malfunction in which a fired projectile does not have enough force behind it to exit the barrel, and thus becomes stuck. This type of malfunction can be extremely dangerous, as failing to notice that the projectile has become stuck in the barrel may result in another round being fired directly into the obstructed barrel, resulting in a catastrophic failure of the weapon's structural integrity.

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1975 Banqiao Dam failure

The 1975 Banqiao Dam failure was the collapse of 62 dams including the largest Banqiao Dam in Henan, China due to Typhoon Nina of 1975. In August 1975, the dam failure created the third-deadliest flood in history which affected a total population of 10.15 million and inundated around 30 cities and counties of 12,000 square kilometers, with an estimated death toll ranging from 85,600 to 240,000. The flood also caused the collapse of 6.8 million houses. The dam failure took place during the Chinese Cultural Revolution when most people were busy with the "revolution"; the Communist Party of China (CPC) as well as the Chinese government subsequently hid the details of the disaster until the 1990s, when The Great Floods in China's History (中国历史大洪水), a book prefaced by Qian Zhengying who served as the Minister of Water Resources of China in 1970s and 1980s, revealed part of the information to the public for the first time.

References

  1. Hal W. Hendrick; Paul Paradis; Richard J. Hornick (2010-12-12). Human Factors Issues in Handgun Safety and Forensics. CRC Press. p. 132. ISBN   9781420062977 . Retrieved 2014-02-24. Many firearms are destroyed and injuries sustained by home reloaders who make a mistake in estimating the correct powder charge.
  2. Gregg Lee Carter, ed. (2012-05-31). Guns in American Society. ABC-CLIO. p. 255. ISBN   978-0-313-38670-1 . Retrieved 2014-02-24. ... and left the copper jacket lodged in the barrel, leading to a catastrophic failuer of the rifle when the next bullet fired hit the jacket remnants.