15 Of The Most Devastating Engineering Miscalculations In Modern History

In the video below, watch some of the most devastating engineering miscalculations in modern day history.

Bridge 9340 collapse in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Bridge 9340 collapse in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

August 1, 2007 the The I-35W Mississippi River bridge (officially known as Bridge 9340) was an eight-lane, steel truss arch bridge that carried Interstate 35W across the Saint Anthony Falls of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States. During the evening rush hour on August 1, 2007, it suddenly collapsed, killing 13 people and injuring 145. The bridge was Minnesota’s third busiest,[4][5] carrying 140,000 vehicles daily. The NTSB cited a design flaw as the likely cause of the collapse, noting that a too-thin gusset plate ripped along a line of rivets, and asserted that additional weight on the bridge at the time of the collapse contributed to the catastrophic failure. The bridge carried an estimated 140,000 vehicles a day. The gusset plate holding the bridge failed causing the bridge to fall into the Mississippi River. The NTSB cited the design flaw as the likely main cause of the collapse.

The Tacoma Narrow's Bridge.
The Tacoma Narrow’s Bridge.

November 7, 1940 the Tacoma Narrow’s Bridge collapsed due to high winds. The 1940 Tacoma Narrows Bridge, the first Tacoma Narrows Bridge, was a suspension bridge in the U.S. state of Washington that spanned the Tacoma Narrows strait of Puget Sound between Tacoma and the Kitsap Peninsula. It opened to traffic on July 1, 1940, and dramatically collapsed into Puget Sound on November 7 of the same year. At the time of its construction (and its destruction), the bridge was the third-longest suspension bridge in the world in terms of main span length, behind the Golden Gate Bridge and the George Washington Bridge.

Lotus Riverside Block 7 Shanghai, China.
Lotus Riverside Block 7 Shanghai, China.

On a Saturday morning of late June, 2009, a 13-story apartment building collapsed. Lotus Riverside Block 7 lay next to a river, and the foundation structure consisted of Precast Concrete Piles. When excavating sub-grade parking garage, construction workers dumped the removed soil adjacent to Block 7, on the side of the building opposite the river. During a heavy rain, the soil became dense and fluid with water. This caused a sideward pressure on the piles and soil below the structure. The piles snapped and the building toppled over. Unfortunately, the collapse killed one worker and affected nearby citizens. After investigation, it was concluded that the collapse was caused by the excess soil storage during construction.

Deepwater Horizon explosion 2010.
Deepwater Horizon explosion 2010.

Deepwater Horizon was an ultra-deepwater, dynamically positioned, semi-submersible offshore drilling rig owned by Transocean. On 20 April 2010, while drilling at the Macondo Prospect, an uncontrollable blowout caused an explosion on the rig that killed 11 crewmen and ignited a fireball visible from 40 miles (64 km) away. The fire was inextinguishable and, two days later, on 22 April, the Horizon sank, leaving the well gushing at the seabed and causing the largest oil spill in U.S. waters.

The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.
The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.

On January 28, 1986, the NASA shuttle orbiter mission STS-51-L and the tenth flight of Space Shuttle Challenger (OV-99) broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, killing all seven crew members, which consisted of five NASA astronauts and two payload specialists. The spacecraft disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 11:39 EST (16:39 UTC). Disintegration of the vehicle began after an O-ring seal in its right solid rocket booster (SRB) failed at liftoff.

See all 15 of these devastating engineering miscalculations that led to man-made disasters in the video below:

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