Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico suffers serious damage after cable breaks

Oct 21, 2019
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A bit surprising that one of the supporting cables snapped, was there an unprecedented storm occurring that imposed greater than design loads when it failed? If not then it suggests that the cable must have been gradually deteriorating over a period of time, one would expect that there would be a periodic inspection regime in place (probably both visual and Non Destructive Testing methods such as steel cable magnetic testing) which would be expected to detect problems before failure. Doubtless there will be an investigation into the reasons for the cable failing.
 
Aug 13, 2020
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While it's difficult to determine exactly what's visible in the close-up photo of the snapped cable, the large bundle where the break occurred appears to have a significant amount of material surrounding the cable strands adjacent to the break. It could be corrosion, although the coloration isn't rust (these have to be carbon steel cables).

It seems more like the failure occurred at an anchor point, i.e., it wasn't a break at all, but a failure of a fixture that surrounded and restrained the cable, e.g., a swage (pressure) collar. However, the area where the extra material on the strands is visible appears to be present only a few feet along the length of the cable, which seems very short for such a critically-loaded component.
 

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