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Hinman Pulse

October 03, 2012

ASCE Forensics Conference Presentation: Structural Collapse Mitigation

by Brian Katz

Be on the lookout for exciting discussions about structural collapse mitigation, at this year's ASCE 6th Congress on Forensics Engineering taking place in San Francisco, California from October 31 – November 3.  Recognizing the need to better understand the computational uncertainties associated with occurrence of low-probability-high-consequence events, Hinman's Brian Katz and Shalva Marjanishvili will present the results of a stochastic nonlinear dynamic analysis study to set the stage for broader discussion regarding the limitations of current numerical analysis methods and discuss innovative alternatives.

The possibility of local structural failure to propagate into global collapse of the structural system has fueled the continued development of improved computational methods to model building behavior, as well as "best practices" engineering standards.  In spite of these efforts, recent events are bringing the issue of collapse mitigation to the forefront and highlighting the shortcomings of existing design practices.  The catastrophic nature of structural collapse dictates the need for more reliable methodologies to quantify the likelihood of structural failures and strategies to minimize potential consequences.

Conventional collapse resistance methodologies approach this catastrophic and, oftentimes, unpredictable structural behavior in a deterministic manner.  These methods are rooted in concepts of robustness, which strive to preserve structural system integrity against variations in loading and other deviations from initial design assumptions, which have the potential to introduce instability.  Keeping with the intent of robust building design, the conference presentation will highlight an alternative approach rooted in probability theory that evaluates susceptibility to collapse based on measured uncertainties in the structural element response at the point of incipient failure.

Hope to see you there!

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