Failure analysis, Schadenspiegel and Schadenfreude

Munich Reinsurance (www.munichre.com) 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. See www.hsb.com/thelocomotive/
Pittsburgh Pete
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