Top 10 Worst Engineering Failures

The scientific and engineering principles upon which the world is based and on the basis of which alot of complex figures and theories are deciphered some times also go wrong and cause catastrophic casualties. Here we list the world’s worst engineering failure:

No. 10: Tacoma Narrow Bridge

The Tacoma Narrows Bridge was the third longest suspension bridge in the United States at the time, with a length of 5939 feet including approaches. Its two supporting towers were 425 feet high. The towers were 2800 feet apart.

The reason behind the failure of Tacoma Narrow Bridge was Strong winds which caused the bridge to collapse on November 7, 1940. At first, 35 mile per hour winds energized the bridge’s transverse vibration mode, with amplitude of 1.5 feet. This motion lasted 3 hours. The frequency of wind matches with the failure frequency amplitude of the bridge and ultimately making it to fall. In addition, a support cable at mid-span snapped, resulting in an unbalanced loading condition. The bridge response thus changed to a 0.2 Hz Torsional vibration mode, with amplitude up to 28 feet.


No. 9: Cleveland East Ohio Gas Explosion

The East Ohio Gas explosion took place on Friday, 20 Oct. 1944, when a tank containing liquid natural gas i.e. Methane, equal to 90 million cubic feet exploded, setting off the most catastrophic fire in Cleveland’s account. The bang and fire destroyed one square mile of the city of Cleveland, Ohio, and killed 131 people, including 55 East Ohio workers.


No. 8: Hyatt Regency Hotel Walkway Collapse

The Hyatt Regency Inn was constructed in Kansas City, Missouri in the year 1978. This hotel consisted of a 40 story building tower and conference facilities, which were linked by an open idea atrium. Inside the entrance hall, there were three walkways that connected the hotel to the conference facilities on the second, third, and fourth floors. The atrium was 145 feet long, 117 feet wide and 50 feet high.

On July 17, 1981 at 1900 hours, a piercing crack was heard as the second and fourth floor walkways came roaring down to the ground level. There were about 2000 people gathered in the entrance hall for a dance contest. After the fall down, 114 people were found dead and left more than 200 were indignant. The breakdown of the Hyatt Regency walkway was an amalgamation of different properties and material things. The most important cause was the faulty design in the walkways.


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