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Collapse of Big Dig Ceiling in Boston Is Tied to Glue – New York Times

Posted by on July 11, 2007

Collapse of Big Dig Ceiling in Boston Is Tied to Glue – New York Times

The supplier in Boston, Powers Fasteners, noted that the fast-set epoxy was not for long-term use but that information was “in the fine print,” said Mr. Magladry, and no one recognized that the material would weaken.The failure dumped 26 tons of concrete and hardware on the 15-year-old Buick sedan in which Milena Del Valle was riding, and on the surrounding roadway. Her husband, the driver, escaped with minor injuries.

The board tested both formulations of epoxy available from Powers and found that the “standard set” type worked fine, but within 80 days, all the samples using the “fast set” formulation had failed.

A spokeswoman for Powers, Karen Schwartzman, said the company was asked to supply its “standard set” product, did so, and assumed it had been used. Perhaps the construction companies had the “fast set” product on hand for another part of the job and used that instead, Ms. Schwartzman said.

Last night, I used some Underwater Sticky flexible epoxy to bond a metal pipe with a PVC coupler. It’s amazing how a small, overlooked detail can cause so much carnage.