The topic of the Nano High lecture was “Why Things Break” by Robert O. Ritchie. He had an impressive resume and graduated from Cambridge University in the UK. I learned a lot of things at this lecture. For example, mems are micro machines. Things can break by plastic deformation, instantaneous fracture, fatigue (delayed fracture), environmentally assisted cracking (delayed fracture), and by corrosion and/or wear (surface damage). Most of the time, things break because of fatigue and small cracks.The Tacoma narrows bridge near Seattle messed up in 1990. “Liberty Ships” could be manufactured in as little as 5 days in Sausalito during World War II. As a result, some 30% of “Liberty Ships” suffered catastrophic failure. Another example is the Air France charter flight from Paris to New York in July 25, 2000. Concorde crashed into a hotel shortly after take-off, 5 miles from the airport, with 109 fatalities. The tires attributed to a small piece of metal on the runway causing the bursting of a tire which punctured the fuel tank.
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