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Hinman Pulse

March 15, 2012

Back to School

by Shalva Marjanishvili & Brian Katz

The Civil Engineering department at Santa Clara University took a bold leap in the Fall of 2011 and offered its students an Intro to Blast Analysis course taught by Hinman's Technical Director, Shalva Marjanishvili.  The course work focused on high-level concepts of reliability and structural system behavior in response to air-blast loading effects - a class of high intensity loading which most engineering students and professionals are unfamiliar with.  A strong believer of learning by experience, Marjanishvili gave students the chance to get their hands dirty with mini-projects that mimiced a day in the life of a blast engineer, requiring modeling of geometry and material properties and dynamic analysis of element damage.

Encouraged by the positive response to this class, Marjanishvili is returning to Santa Clara University and offering a second course in the upcoming Spring 2012 school term.  The follow-up class is titled "CENG 244: Progressive Collapse and Structural Integrity".  The class is intended to serve as an introductory course, covering the fundemental prinicples of structural collapse analysis and design.  Although a common subject withinin the structural engineering professional world, few students gain exposure to this topic during their collegiate careers.  Marjanshivili hopes to equip students with the ability to do the following by the course's end:

  1. Understand the mechanisms of progressive collapse
  2. Understand the philosophies of design of structures to resist progressive collapse
  3. Understand the concepts of structural integrity and robustness
  4. Perform static and dynamic analysis using SAP2000 to determine possibility of progressive collapse
  5. Design steel and concrete moment frame structures to mitigate the possibility of progressive collapse

This class is, ultimately, meant to highlight trends within the structural engineering community, which are pushing for a better understanding of  collapse behavior and mitigation strategies.  In order to design a building to stand tall and resilient, we must first know what will cause it to topple down.


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