Failure as source of engineering judgment: Case of john Roebling
The proper use of the concepts and realities of failure is essential for successful design practice, which involves proper engineering judgment. Among the most valuable sources of good design judgment are case studies of how great engineers designed against failure. John Roebling is among the engineers whose works provide excellent models of good judgment and the explicit use of the knowledge of failures in designing successful structures. Roebling's use of failure concepts and case studies to avoid failure in his own designs provides a paradigm for good engineering practice generally. Although the analytical state of the art has certainly advanced since Roebling's time, the basic ideas of good engineering practice are no different now than they were in the 19th century. It therefore follows that a study of the methods of model engineers like Roebling can help develop judgment in modern engineers and thereby reduce the occurrence of failures in modern designs. © ASCE.
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