This course is an introduction to the field of failure analysis. It is structured around two key topics: the methods of engineering failure analysis and the science of the modes of failure. About half of the course is dedicated to each topic, with the modes of failure covered primarily by guest speakers who are experts in their fields.
Students examine case studies related to equipment analysis and system design failures, accidents that derive from errors and omissions in the engineering process, and a laboratory investigation of a real-life fire scene. The course addresses product liability, failure modes and effects analysis, failure prevention, engineering ethics, and the engineer as expert witness.