Tragic Accidents Resulting from Mechanical Failures

Technicians on work

Rigorous product stress testing is what defines the modern world. This may sound a bit far-fetched, but there is enough reason to back this claim. Without industry-grade testing, people would never see the age of 50. Machine components (and the machines themselves) undergo stringent tests before being put out there. If not, people are at constant risk since they’re almost always around the contraptions.

The efforts of experts and the likes of HASS manufacturing companies are precious. If not, then several of the world’s deadliest disasters would be regular occurrences. One terrible fact about these incidents is that many are due to mechanical failures. Again, this points to stringent pre-production testing and its importance in preventing disasters.

Space Shuttle Challenger

The date January 28, 1986 saw the launch of NASA’s Space Shuttle Challenger. It could’ve been a proud moment for the spectators and everyone involved, but the spacecraft was engulfed in flames just 73 seconds into the launch. All seven crew members died in the accident, and the worst thing is that many people saw it happen live on TV.

Investigations identify a malfunctioning O-ring as the primary cause. An O-ring is a rubber seal that forms a joint between different mechanical components. Reports say that this O-ring deteriorated, causing flames to interact with the external fuel tank. As a result, components broke off and hit each other, causing an explosion. The O-ring should’ve been able to withstand the tremendous stress — it’s in a rocket-propelled space shuttle, after all.

Chernobyl Nuclear Plant

On April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine exploded and released 50 times the radiation of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs. While it didn’t kill a lot of people outright, it did render the surroundings permanently inaccessible due to lethal radiation levels.

Investigators say that the explosion is caused by an experiment gone wrong. Chernobyl’s engineers needed to power the reactor down, but levels dropped to an extremely precarious 1 percent instead of the ideal 25 percent. An unexpected power surge further escalated things when the reactor’s emergency shutdown system failed. Apart from hardware failure, it might be due to human error both during and before the accident. Components were not up for the stress of working amidst highly volatile substances and situations, and the staff failed to heed safety protocols.

Chernobyl, Challenger, and all other disasters resulting from mechanical failures could have been prevented, but what the world now has are lessons which can help keep such tragedies from happening again.