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Safety by Design

What is a Bulkhead?

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A bulkhead is a structure that isolates damage to one area. This is a common technique for designing safe and resilient systems, vehicles, equipment and services.


A bulkhead is a software design technique that divides code into independently deployable units such as microservices. For example, the sections of a website can be implemented as separately deployed cloud services. When one page goes down, the rest of the site stays up.


A bulkhead is a vertical wall in the hull of ships. They originated in the 15th century as a way to keep cargo from shifting in heavy seas. All walls in a modern ships are known as bulkheads. They serve functions such as structural support and dividing space into rooms. Some bulkheads are designed to be watertight and fireproof to isolate damage to one section of ship.


Pressure bulkheads seal the cabin of aircraft for high altitude flight.
Overview: Bulkhead
Definition (1)
Vertical walls in ships and aircraft that serve purposes such as fire, water and pressure containment.
Definition (2)
Structuring code into independently deployable services to improve resilience.
Bulkhead is also an architectural term that has dozens of different meanings depending on context. For example, retaining walls such as sea walls are commonly known as bulkheads.
Related Concepts
Safety by Design

Safety Design

This is the complete list of articles we have written about safety design.
Active Safety
Defensive Design
Error Tolerance
Graceful Degradation
Mistake Proofing
Moving Parts
Passive Risk
Passive Safety
Reliability Engineering
Residual Risk
Safety Controls
Safety Needs
Secondary Risk
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Active vs Passive

The difference between active and passive safety.

Defensive Design

An overview of defensive design.

Self-Destruct Mechanism

An overview of self-destruct mechanisms as a safety feature.

Tactile Information

The common types of tactile information.

Flight Envelope Protection

An overview of flight envelope protection.

Earthquake Detection System

An overview of earthquake detection systems.


The definition of hazard with examples.

Product Safety

Common types of product safety.

Err On The Side Of Caution

The definition of err on the side of caution with examples.


A comprehensive guide to design.

Color Theory

An overview of color theory.

Layout vs Composition

The difference between layout and composition.

Modeless vs Contextual

The difference between modeless and contextual user interfaces explained.

Types Of Design

A list of common types of design.

Design Process

The steps in a design process.

Design Quality

The common types of design quality.

Universal Design

A definition of universal design with examples.

Sensory Design

A definition of sensory design with examples.

Emotional Design

An overview of emotional design.


The definition of elegance with examples.
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