June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.745.1 - 12.745.12
Findings from Workshops on Failure Case Studies in the Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics Curriculum Abstract
The study of engineering failures can offer students valuable insights into associated technical, ethical, and professional issues. Lessons learned from failures have substantially affected civil engineering practice. For the student, study of these cases can help place design and analysis procedures into historical context and reinforce the necessity of life-long learning. Three approaches for bringing forensics and failure case studies into the civil engineering curriculum are possible. These are stand-alone forensic engineering or failure case study courses, capstone design projects, and integration of case studies into the curriculum. The ASCE TCFE Education Committee held four annual one-day workshops in Birmingham, Alabama and in Cleveland, Ohio for a total of approximately 75 engineering educators. The participants estimated that over 135 courses and nearly 4,000 students would be affected by the project per year. The participant workbook had case studies in engineering mechanics, structural engineering, other civil engineering courses, ethics/professional issues/capstone design courses, and forensic engineering/failure analysis courses. Presentations for classroom use were provided on a CD. The materials have also been disseminated on a web site. This paper also reviews how the use of case studies can help programs meet ABET accreditation requirements.
The study of engineering failures can offer students valuable insights into associated technical, ethical, and professional issues. Lessons learned from failures have substantially affected civil engineering practice. For the student, study of these cases can help place design and analysis procedures into historical context and reinforce the necessity of life-long learning.
Engineering education is about teaching students to design. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) defines engineering design as “the process of devising a system, component, or process to meet desired needs. It is a decision-making process (often iterative), in which the basic sciences, mathematics, and the engineering sciences are applied to convert resources optimally to meet these stated needs.”1
A simplified definition of engineering design might be: • Anticipate everything that can possibly go wrong (identify all possible failure modes) • Devise a system, component, or process that will have satisfactory performance, measured against these failure modes. This definition must be tempered by the awareness of the need to balance safety and economy. In order to design safely, therefore, it is necessary to know all of the applicable failure modes. This, in turn, demands knowledge of how structures and systems fail.
This paper discusses work to integrate forensics and failure case studies into the civil engineering and engineering mechanics curriculum in order to teach design and address ABET
Delatte, N., & Bosela, P., & Rens, K., & Carper, K., & Sutterer, K. (2007, June), Findings From Workshops On Failure Case Studies In The Civil Engineering And Engineering Mechanics Curriculum Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1912
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