ELR-052 Ethics Case Study: Tacoma Narrows Bridge: 2 PDH

ELR-052 Ethics Case Study Tacoma Narrows Bridge

Description of the Ethics Case Study: Tacoma Narrows Bridge

The Ethics Case Study: Tacoma Narrows Bridge online PDH course is a part of the Ethics, Laws and Rules category of courses. This course will examine the ethical issues that arose from the 1940 collapse of the Tacoma Narrows bridge in Washington state.  This was one of the most dramatic bridge collapses in history, with fortunately no loss of life and little property damage other than the bridge itself.  The collapse took place less than a year after completion of construction of the bridge.  Out of this incident a serious ethical issue was illuminated for the engineering profession. Specifically, at what point is the profession’s theoretical and experiential knowledge insufficient to justify moving forward with a specific project or design scheme?  And in the presence of weak experiential knowledge, is there a practicable way to supplement the experiential knowledge so as to move the project forward?  In this course you will learn about how the engineering profession gained important new insights into the importance of aerodynamics in bridge design as a result of the ethical dilemma faced by the designers of the first Tacoma Narrows bridge.

This course will give engineers and others an ethical framework within which to address many complex engineering projects that challenge the limits of engineering theoretical knowledge and experience.

This course is intended for engineers, architects and other design and construction professionals wanting to learn about the ethical issues that were raised by the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows bridge, and the lessons engineers learned from this major engineering incident.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, you will:

  • Learn about the history of the project and the economic, commercial and national security issues that shaped its development.
  • Learn about the two different design approaches suggested by different engineering teams.
  • Learn about the ominous oscillations observed both during and after construction.
  • Learn about the previously unseen mode of oscillation observed on the day of its collapse.
  • Learn from file photos, and a link to an on-site video, what observers at the scene saw at the time.
  • Learn about the technical investigation that followed the collapse.
  • Learn about the vortex-shedding/resonance theory.
  • Learn about the aerodynamic flutter theory.
  • Learn about the ethical lessons learned from collapse of the Tacoma Narrows bridge.
  • Learn about a tool employed by bridge engineers today to address the issues illuminated by the Tacoma Narrows bridge collapse.

Refunds and Cancellation Policies

The course is accepted by the Professional Engineering boards in states listed on this page. In an unlikely case the course is not accepted by the board listed on this page, we will refund the full payment and will pay for you to take another course of equivalent monetary and PDH / CEU value. For complete list of courses related to Ethics, Laws and Rules category of courses please click here.

Length of the Course / Activity

This course is intended to be studied at self-pace and it should take on average of 2 hour to read and be able to comprehend the material to successfully past the online quiz

Course Quiz

To receive the certificate of completion for the above 2 PDH online course, you will need to take a 15 question multiple choice quiz based on the reference material supplied and pass with minimum score of 70%. There is no time limit for the quiz and it can be taken multiple times until a passing score of 70% is achieved

Certificate of Completion

Once you achieve a passing score of 70% on the quiz you will receive and be able to print your Certificate of Completion as a record of your continuing education. PDH Star will keep a record of your certificate for the duration as required by your state of licensure. You will be able to log on to your account and view and print your past Certificate of Completion

State Acceptance

This course is accepted in all states mandating continuing education:

AK, AL, AR, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WI, WV, and WY

For detailed state by state requirements click here

Need help?

Do you need help choosing the right course or package for you? Please give us a call or send us an email and we will be happy to provide guidance on which courses are most relevant for you and create a customary course package


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