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Structural Engineers Association of New York

Unrecognized, but in Plain Sight: Recurring, Costly Infrastructure Failures

  • 19 Apr 2016
  • 6:15 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place.


Unrecognized, but in Plain Sight: Recurring, Costly Infrastructure Failures

This lecture will be presented by Julie Mark Cohen, PhD, PE, SECB 

This event is co-sponsored with ASCE 

1.5PDHs offered 

Dr. Julie Mark Cohen, PhD, PE, SECB will present some of the failures that have recurred since at least the early 1930s, such as stress corrosion and fracture of improperly coated high-strength steel, the inability to inspect various strategic locations in structures (including fossilization of structural steel within concrete), and reliance upon non-redundant critical components (bridge rocker bearings, bridge steel pins and hangers, and even some transfer trusses in buildings). Due to various harsh environments that had significant effect on increasing the rate of corrosion, etc., there are certain cases where these failures occurred shortly after the bridges and other structures were placed in service. All of these failures were reported in articles and papers that were published in newspaper articles, journals, and professional magazines.

U.S. infrastructure is in dire straits, deteriorating in plain sight -- crumbling, cracking, corroding, collapsing.

Three of the four main reasons are as follows:

• The public's demand exceeds the capacity of infrastructure.

• Infrastructure has not been maintained (i.e., cleaned, painted), thus allowing deterioration.

• Infrastructure has been allowed to wear out.

Dr. Julie Mark Cohen will also discuss her perspective regarding the fourth reason partly responsible for the visible crumbling, cracking, corroding, collapsing infrastructure , she will also introduce the Science, Technology, and Society (STS) methodological tool of knowledge management systems (KMS) and the potential for its enhancement to better understand the encompassing failure of the lack of knowledge transfer to and within structural engineering. Specifically, she will offer insight on knowledge creation and lack of knowledge carriers, conveyors, and users among related engineering fields. Dr. Cohen presented a similar talk at the New Orleans ASCE Section's Annual Conference - Sept. 2015.

Speaker: Julie Mark Cohen, PhD, PE, SECB

Julie Mark Cohen is an alumna of RPI's School of Architecture from the era in which taking eleven courses in materials, construction, and structures was a possibility. Her graduate degrees include a MASc in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo, an SMCE in structural reliability from MIT, and a PhD in structural engineering from Cornell U.

Registration opens at 5:45pm. Seminar begins promptly at 6:15pm

Advanced Registration will close the day before the event. Walk-ins welcome.

For SEAoNY & ASCE members, registration is $25 in advance or $35 at the door.

For non-members, registration is $40 in advance or $50 at the door.

Students are free with valid student ID.

The event will take place at the Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place. 



(t) 646.736.0694



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