Episode 26: μ: When Materials Failure Leads to Wildfire
Play • 13 min

When you hear of massive wildfires you probably think of the usual suspects: lightning, a campfire carelessly left unattended, maybe a cigarette butt thrown from a vehicle? What you probably don't think of is materials fatigue of a steel hook. This micro episode centers on the story of the Camp Fire in Butte County, California that took 85 lives, decimated the land, and was the biggest insured disaster that year. A look at what mistakes PG&E made ranging from their lack of records keeping to materials incompatibility and testing methods that led to the deadliest fire in California's recorded history.

Articles Discussed:

  • 2020 @TubeTimeUS Twitter documentary [LINK]

  • 2016 Daware, Insulators Used In Overhead Power Lines [LINK]

  • 2004 Iacovello and coworkers, Analysis of stress ratio effects on fatigue propagation in a sintered duplex steel by experimentation and artificial neural network approaches [LINK]

This episode is sponsored by Matmatch. Check out how they can help you find the perfect material for your next engineering project! This episode is also sponsored by Materials Today, an Elsevier community dedicated to the creation and sharing of materials science knowledge and experience through their peer-reviewed journals, academic conferences, educational webinars and more.

Thanks to Kolobyte and Alphabot for letting us use their music in the show!

If you have questions or feedback please send us emails at materialism.podcast@gmail.com or connect with us on social media: Instagram, Twitter.

Materialism Team: Taylor Sparks (co-creator, co-host, production), Andrew Falkowski (co-creator, co-host, production), Jared Duffy (production, marketing, and editing)

Keywords: wildfire failure fatigue camp fire PG&E

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