Failure Analysis of an EckAdams Office Chair from the Maintenance and Operations (M&O) Building,
NASA Engineering Directorate Materials Science Division Kennedy Space Center, Florida
"A 17 year old EckAdams model number 5353 chair was submitted for failure analysis when the cylinder of the chair failed during use. Both macroscopic and microscopic indications of fatigue were observed on the cylinder fracture surface, indicating that the cylinder progressively failed due to the bending stresses imparted on the cylinder during a reclining motion. The stress on the cylinder was likely exacerbated by failed welds that were observed between the chair back mounting plate and the base plate, which ...."
Keith's note: Yes, NASA KSC actually did a full-blown failure analysis of an old piece of office furniture that broke. That's right - an old office chair broke (surprise) and the rocket scientists descended upon it as if it were a Mishap Investigation Board - like the kind that you set up after a rocket blows up. Included in this analysis were detailed SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope) and stereo microscopic imagery analysis. I would be willing to bet that the cost of this analysis certainly exceeded the cost of simply replacing the broken chair and that it vastly exceeded the actual value of the 17 year old chair itself. You hear people defending the way that NASA operates and then something like this shows up. You have to wonder if there is any common sense in the management manuals they use these days. I wonder if KSC PAO can dig up the actual cost of this CFA (Chair Failure Analysis).