Boston is home to much history and folklore. And, sometimes the history of the city sounds like folklore. One example is the case of the Great Molasses Flood. To those who have never heard an account of this disaster, it sounds too strange to be true. But, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction!
On January 15, 1919, following the failure of a storage tank, a wall of molasses 15 feet high flowed through the North End neighborhood of Boston at a speed of up to 35 miles per hour. The force by which the gooey substance moved was enough to sweep away cars and trucks, demolish buildings and even take out one of the supports for the elevated train that moved above the city.
The Great Molasses Flood caused the death of 21 people and killed countless animals. In addition, 150 people were injured. Although memories of the disaster eventually faded away, the smell of molasses would remain in the North End of Boston for decades.
This ethics course will look at how the pre-World War I environment in Boston’s North End resulted in the tank being located in such a densely populated area. We’ll see how the project’s almost impossible schedule contributed to the disaster. We’ll learn about the manager of the project, and how his education and work background left him ill-prepared to take on such a task.
We’ll see how an unusually high ambient temperature swing contributed to the tank’s failure. We’ll also discuss how the tragedy impacted the engineering profession, as well as industry as a whole. Finally, we'll discuss lessons to be learned from this incident which are still applicable to executing projects a century later.
The student must take a multiple-choice quiz consisting of ten (10) questions at the end of this course to obtain PDH credits.
Specific Knowledge or Skill Obtained
This course teaches the following specific knowledge and skills:
- How the site selection process ultimately led to the large number of casualties
- How project schedule constraints contributed to the disaster
- Why the tank was not thoroughly leak tested
- The unique weather conditions that precipitated the tank rupture
- Warning signs that were not heeded by company managers
- Why “out of spec” material was accepted by the project and how it affected the tank’s factor of safety
- Why building codes, inspections and permitting processes failed to prevent the tragedy
- Lessons learned from this tragedy, as well as its long-term impact on the engineering profession
Select your preferred method of study
PDF Document - Self Study - $28.95
Flash Course - $28.95
Using this method you will download and read a PDF document. This document can be downloaded and then read on your computer or other device that supports the PDF format. Or you can print the course to read anywhere. The PDF file is the complete course document.
Once you have completed your study of the document, use the My Account link at the top of any page of our website to log into your account, select "Courses Purchased But Not Completed" and then "Take Quiz."
Your computer or other device probably already supports the PDF format. The latest version of Adobe Reader for PDF files can be downloaded free.
If you are having trouble viewing the file on a desktop or laptop computer, right click the link, then "Save Target As" to save the file to your computer. On both Mac and PC, you can access the course directly from your computer's hard drive by double-clicking the icon. Apple iPad users hold your finger on the link, then select "Open In iBooks" or select another app from the menu. Most Android device users can simply click the link to View.
This course requires the use of your computer to view the course material. For your convenience, a printed copy of the course in the traditional printed fashion will be available for download at the end of the presentation.
PDHengineer Interactive courses use Flash technology to make the presentation available to you. If you are unsure if your computer supports Flash, you can click here for a quick test. (Most laptop and desktop computers support Flash and it is probable that you already have the Flash plug-in installed on your computer. If not, you can click here for the free download. Apple’s iPad does not support Flash, although Android tablet computers generally do.)
Once you purchase the course, you will be given a special web address that you will use to view the course. The course will contain review questions to test your knowledge of the material presented. At the end of the presentation, you will be prompted to log in to your PDHengineer account to take a multiple choice quiz. Passing this quiz with a score of 70% or higher is required to earn PDH credit.