How about the infamous "bad capacitors" that came out of Taiwan for a few years (and still to this day sometimes). I can't think of anything engineering related that has had such a far-reaching and diverse effect on pretty much every electronic device you can think of, and as an added bonus probably nobody in the class will have heard of it.You name it televisions, computers (several of the Dell Optiplex and Precision lines and iMac G5s coming to mind first), even cars. Literally EVERYTHING made using these capacitors fails after 6-12 months, sometimes in spectacular and unexpected ways. The best part is that the story of how it actually happened is quite interesting . . . . corporate espionage gone wrong! A company stole the formula for capacitor electrolyte from a rival company, without realizing it was an incomplete version. EVERY capacitor made using this formula quite literally explodes over time, popping the top and leaking crusty brown electrolyte everywhere. It has cost the industry billions of dollars in recalls and warranty extensions.
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