Modern Marvels: Engineering Disaster, recounted 4 different engineering failures that could have been thoroughly avoided if human, design and material factors have been regulated more carefully. As of now there are more required regulations to assure that these incidents will never occur again.
The first disaster mentioned in the movie was PEPCON, a jet fuel plant in Nevada. The plant made a chemical compound called Aluminum Perchlorate that is highly combustible. The containers for the chemical compound were made of rubber and tin making it more susceptible for the disaster. In this case there were many human errors that occurred . The containers were not sealed or contained properly, thus when someone was welding nearby sparks flew in and caused the explosion to occur. In the plant itself there wasn't any fire hazard equipments such as extinguishers leaving the workers to attempt to put out the fire with a hose. The disaster however maximized due to the fact that the plant had been built on a natural gas line . From this experience there are more required rules and regulations set in place in order to ensure that the probabilities that another disaster would occur due to human error would lessen.
The second disaster is the Milanus Bridge collapse in 1983,Connecticut. The section of the bridge collapse due to both human error and engineering failure. The section of the bridge was held up by two pins that have corroded from the exposure to water. One pin broke and the bridge was not engineered to be supported by only one pin its failure set a precedent and now all bridges are supported by a hinge that would be able to support the bridge in case a similar occurrence of one pin failing occurred again. There are also regular check ins to ensure that the pins have not been thoroughly corroded over time.
The third disaster is the dam failure in Pennsylvannia ,Jonestown Flood of 1889. This failure swept away an entire town and was caused due to engineering mistakes. The mesh green that was originally a solution to keeping fish from goi over the dam became a hazard as debris collected throughout the mesh green. And when the dam broke it caught fire and caused more damage to the already devastating situation. Now as a precaution there are more regulated check in for dams
The fourth disaster was the Ocean Ranger Offshore drilling oil rig. This semi submerged ship was located in Alaska that provided already a dire weather that can cause severe damage when there is any danger. The control room wasn't elevated enough and the disaster occurred due to a big storm and a broken window that damaged the controls. The ship corner started sinking however the people on the boat were not trained and know there was a way to override the system. As the boat was sinking the life boat launching system proved to be faulty and the amount of lifeboats did not have the capacity to hold everybody on the boat. Now it is made mandatory for all personnel know how to use control the boat, and the lifeboats must have 200% capacity.
In the second film we explored the causes of the disasters that occured in the Hyatt Regency Hotel and the Jefferson Salt Mine incident.
The major cause of the failure in the Hyatt Regency Hotel, was to much miscommunication as the developer kept switching engineers. The fourth floor walkway was originally supported by one pin and was changed to two pin without changing the rest of the structural support ; and hence the force that was needed to cause it to collapse decreased by half, and the 4 th floor walkway collapsed when people were walking through it.
In the Jefferson island salt mine incident, an oil team was drilling off the shore for oil. The human error of miscalculation lead to an accidental drilling of a salt mine which caused a whirlpool effect that drained most of the lake and ruining the ecosystem in the area.
Most of these disasters are minor errors and careless mistakes that grow and become an extremely debilitating death trap. The errors are unalarming until an extreme weather crisis hits and completely destroys the structure itself and endanger others in it .