Understanding Structural Integrity & The Causes of Structural Failure

Anywhere in the world, we hear news about catastrophic accidents, structural failures, and natural disasters. These can be devastating, especially if it results in casualties and injuries. That’s why it’s crucial to have a dedicated team of professionals and engineers, such as civil structural forensic engineer, who can assess the damage on time and analyze the resulting damage. They will find out the many factors involved and how they may have interacted in a structural failure. They have the knowledge and expertise to explain the results of their investigations. They bring back understanding and objective to the aftermath of the disaster.

Structural integrity plays a role in all of these, primarily if the disaster revolves around structural failure. It’s an engineering field that will ensure a structure or a structural component is fit for everyday conditions. It must also provide safety even in certain situations that exceed its original design. It must aim to prevent deformation, breaking, and catastrophic failure. So what are the different causes of structural failure? Let’s find out here.

Weak Structures

One of the leading causes of structural failure is a weak structure. If the structure is not strong enough to withstand the limit of the load, it is subjected to, and it can cause deadly disasters. Some of the common denominators are an inappropriate choice of material or a flawed geometric design.

Deterioration of Structure

There are many reasons a structure will deteriorate. Some examples include corrosion, fatigue, wear, rot, or creep. Deterioration due to fatigue often begins with cracks forming at regions of the structure with high stress. These cracks will continue to grow due to the cycle of loading, and it can cause sudden failure. Some of the reasons may be inappropriate geometric design, wrong choice of materials, and poor maintenance.

Errors in Manufacturing

Another common reason why there are structural failures is due to failure of using the proper materials. Engineers may also neglect to use the correct manufacturing procedures or standards. Error in manufacturing also includes poor workmanship and components being out of tolerance.

Use of Defective Materials

Some contractors choose to use defective materials because they want to save money. But sooner or later, the structure easily gets damaged due to these materials, and it causes deaths and injuries. In addition, these materials usually don’t conform to standards, resulting in a lower load bearing capacity than initially designed.

Not Considering Environmentall Factors

Another common mistake of engineers is their failure to mitigate certain environmental considerations. Such considerations include environmental disasters and natural calamities. All of which can result in structural failures.