Product Liability and Material Failures 710710

Personal injuries resulting from the failure of a product in service often subject the manufacturer to severe legal liability. Legally, every engineer and manufacturer owes a duty to all others to guard against injury which may occur in any foreseeable uses of his product; if injury results a court may ultimately find the product to be “defective.” The safety and reliability of all products demands improved methods and procedures for material selection, design, fabrication, prototype evaluation, and proper maintenance. In addition to using considerable ingenuity in foreseeing all possible conditions of operation in the use of his product, the engineer must make a critical appraisal of all possible failure modes to which the product might be subjected. Broad considerations must be given to the service environment (including the clumsy incompetents who may operate or use the product). Both in the synthesis of the design and in the development and testing of prototypes, detailed failure analyses must be made to evaluate the potential reliability of the product. Thereafter, a complete and logical analysis of each service failure should be made to determine the cause and prevent a recurrence. Valuable knowledge from prior failures is available in engineering literature from which logical approaches to design and prototype evaluation can be made based on prevention of failure rather than on stereotyped applications of codes and specifications.


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