Learn from others' mistakes: Engineering case studies database

“It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed lessons of failure.” –Bill Gates

Why make mistakes when you can learn from others'? By studying engineering failures, engineers and students can learn what not to do and how to create successful designs. 

NYU Libraries is now offering trial access to Engineering Case Studies Online—a comprehensive collection that provides in-depth, impartial analysis of key engineering failures. It includes video and text resources for 50 of the most frequently taught and seminal case studies around the world together with supplementary materials from more than 1,000 additional failures. The database will be available on trial until May 13, 2014 so take a moment to check it out, and let us know if you would like the library to subscribe. 

Materials in the collection include:

  • bridge collapseFeature-length video documentaries of major failures.
  • Detailed case studies describing key engineering concepts and issues.
  • Event timelines and maps.
  • Audio footage and transcripts.
  • Simulations depicting precisely what went wrong.
  • Primary footage of accidents, including related news segments.
  • Testimonies from participants, victims, and witnesses.
  • Images, accident reports, blueprints, and other key archival content whenever available.
  • Bibliographies of authoritative materials from newspapers, websites, and journals.
  • Specially written cases that explore engineering ethics.

Example cases include:

Air France flight 4590
Apollo 13
The Big Dig
Boeing 787 Dreamliner
Chernobyl power plant
Deepwater Horizon oil rig
Ford Pinto
Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant
Hyatt Regency walkway
Space shuttle Challenger
Tacoma Narrows bridge