Failure analysis, Schadenspiegel and Schadenfreude

Munich Reinsurance
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posts large Acrobat files of
their newsletter, Schadenspiegel (Losses and Loss Prevention) on their
web site. It should be called schadenfreude (shameful joy, or pleasure
taken from someone else's misfortune), because it has descriptions of
their interesting insurance claims cases. A few of these are failure
analyses. Many are just big disasters that are truly weird.

The latest issue, 2004/2 has an article titled "water damage mystery
solved" about a corrosion failure in a flow controller.
However, it also has "City refuse collectors' strike turns residents
into arsonists - Conflagration in a car spares warehouse". It
happened in Tel Aviv. The annoyed but still resourceful residents set
fire to several waste bins to get rid of the stinking refuse.
Unfortunately, one bin was leaned against the wall of an auto parts
warehouse which had an inadequate fire and smoke detector system. The
building burned for three days till it was a total loss. I've been
told the Hebrew sign literally reads "disaster garage" which probably
means body shop, but was correct in this case.

Munich Reinsurance has a long history in failure analysis. The
English version of their 2 hardback volumes of 288 case histories, E.
J. Pohl's "The Face of Metallic Fractures" came out over forty years
ago, in March 1964.
I think that Hartford Steam Boiler Insurance Company's "The
Locomotive" is the oldest periodical to consistently cover failures.
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Pittsburgh Pete
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Pittsburgh Pete
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