In “Lesson Amid the Rubble”, the author says that engineering in contradictory. She says this because you learn things that can seem to be opposites. One example that she says is that engineers want to push the boundaries of what is possible but at the same time, they are careful when comes to promoting change. What she means is that engineers want change to happen to see how far we can go, but at the same time do not want to promote these changes because they can have different consequences both good and bad. For design purposes, this means that engineers want to change designs up and push the limits of the materials. This could be to try to find a more efficient way of something to move or for a stronger but less expensive item. Inside automobiles, the airbag is an example of a contradiction in engineering. The airbag is designed to protect passengers in the case that there is moderate damage to the car. However, airbags, while being safe, can cause damage to the passengers. The airbag is an engineered object that mitigates major injuries in favor of smaller injuries. It’s a solution that helps keep the passenger from getting harmed, but in the process of it’s deployment, slightly arms them.
On February 6th, 2018, SpaceX’s rocket, Falcon Heavy, was launched into space. While the launched was an overall success, the main core booster of the rocket, did not successfully land and crashed into the water. Prior to the launch though, there were a few risks that could have turned the launch into a disaster.
On the falcon heavy rocket, there were 3 core boosters that could have a lot of problems with them. At anytime during the launch, they could have messed something up because of all the vibrations happening up there. There also could have been an issue when shockwaves interact with each other.
A second example of a risk is the ice formation in higher altitudes damaging the side boosters. Since the speed of the rocket is so high, having ice fall off the rocket would be striking the boosters at an incredible speed with a possibility to puncture them.
The rocket boosters, while having been tested on the ground, were never tested in a flight in the real world. While it shows confidence that they should work under real life experiences, having the first time for it to be tested on a rocket as strong as the falcon heavy was risky.
One risk that was not accounted for, was the amount of ignitor fuel needed to help the center core land. Elon Musk said on twitter that the reason the main center core failed was because it ran out of the fuel. This happened due to the other engines having to be relit.
The overall launch of the Falcon Heavy was a success with minimal failure. The only thing that seemed to fail was that they did no anticipate the rockets having to be relit as much which resulted in the center core not having any fuel to slow down a landing.
On April 20th, 2010, BP, an international oil and gas company, had an oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico causing millions of gallons to spill into the ocean. The explosion happened when methane gas expanded and reached the drill which caused the gas to ignite and explode. This caused the deaths of 11 workers which were never found despite a 3-day search operation. In the article from The Washington Post, they mainly talk about the environmental and political dilemmas it causes. The article talks about mainly how serious the effects of the oil has on the wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico. While it is mostly about the environmental causes, it does discuss the possible solutions that BP wants to try. “BP said it would attempt to drill two relief wells to intercept the oil flow and divert it to new pipes and storage vessels. It said it was also working to fabricate a dome to cover the leak area and channel it into a new pipe to storage facilities.” However, in an engineering article, they deconstruct what happened in the event. They describe the process of how the drilling happens. They say that when testing the cement seal on the drill, after the third test, something gave irregular results. The president of global business lines and chief health, safety, and environmental control officer for Halliburon testified that they should continue. The two articles, while talking about he same event, talk about different aspects of it. The article from the Washington Post emphasis’ what happens in the political and ecological sides of the spill. They tell the public what happens because of the spill and do not emphasize on why the explosion happened. With the article from ASME, it talks about the probable cause of the explosion. They want the reader to understand why the event happened and what could have been done to prevent it.
Editor, Tariq Malik Space.com Managing. “Elon Musk Explains Why SpaceX's Falcon Heavy Core Booster Crashed.” Space.com, 14 Feb. 2018, www.space.com/39690-elon-musk-explains-falcon-heavy-core-booster-crash.html
Hess, Peter. “SpaceX: 3 Ways the Falcon Heavy Launch Could Go Very Wrong.” Www.inverse.com, 5 Feb. 2018, www.inverse.com/article/40966-falcon-heavy-technical-risks-boosters-turbulence.
Mufson, Stephen. “Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Creates Environmental and Political Dilemmas.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 27 Apr. 2010, www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/26/AR2010042604308.html.
Borchardt, John K. “Deconstructing the Deepwater Horizon Blowout.” ASME.org, Sept. 2011, www.asme.org/engineering-topics/articles/safety-and-risk-assessment/deconstructing-the-deepwater-horizon-blowout.