A catastrophic failure is a sudden and total failure of some system from which recovery is impossible. Catastrophic failures often lead to cascading systems failure.
The term is most commonly used for structural failures, but has often been extended to many other disciplines where total and irrecoverable loss occurs. Such failures are investigated using the methods of forensic engineering, which aims to isolate the cause or causes of failure.
Famous quotes containing the words catastrophic and/or failure:
“This is a catastrophic universe, always; and subject to sudden reversals, upheavals, changes, cataclysms, with joy never anything but the song of substance under pressure forced into new forms and shapes.”
—Doris Lessing (b. 1919)
“He who has never failed somewhere, that man can not be great. Failure is the true test of greatness. And if it be said, that continual success is a proof that a man wisely knows his powers,it is only to be added, that, in that case, he knows them to be small.”
—Herman Melville (18191891)