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Safety by Design

What is a Self-Destruct Mechanism?

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A self-destruct mechanism is a feature that allows a machine or device to destroy itself under certain circumstances.


Self-destruct mechanisms can be used as a safety feature. For example, rocket boosters may be equipped with a self-destruct mechanism so that they can be destroyed when they malfunction to prevent them from going too far in an out-of-control manner.

Data Security

Devices may be designed to wipe data under certain circumstances as a data security measure.


A self-destruct mechanism was deployed shortly after the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster on January 28, 1986. Two solid rocket boosters were self-destructed simultaneously 37 seconds after the initial explosion as they spiraled back towards the ground. This was triggered by the Range Safety Officer who determined the rockets were a threat to people on the ground.
Overview: Self-Destruct Mechanism
Safety by Design
A feature that allows a machine or device to destroy itself under certain circumstances.
Preventing out of control equipment from hurting people.
Security resources such as data from authorized use.
Related Concepts

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.

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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