Review Category : Structural Performance

Modern engineering tools and techniques enable structural engineers to continually redefine the limits of possibility. Nowhere is this more evident than in supertall buildings, where controlling wind-induced sway has become a critical aspect of project success.

The use of tuned mass damping systems has become a mainstay in attaining this control, in large part because each custom-designed system can be tuned to match the as-built characteristics of the building. They also provide a much more efficient solution than adding more mass or stiffness.

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2014 South Napa Earthquake Retrospective

Almost three years have passed since the 2014 magnitude-6.0 South Napa earthquake. The event was the largest in the San Francisco Bay Area since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Ground shaking was significant with accompanying maximum Modified Mercalli Intensities between VIII and IX. Following the quake, many historical unreinforced masonry (URM) buildings in the Napa downtown area sustained damage. Some of these buildings are now restored or are currently undergoing restoration efforts. Others are still awaiting restoration or are in limbo.

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Soft-Story Retrofit Solutions

Recent natural events have provided material evidence of the social and economic impact to large metropolitan areas when a city is not prepared or lacks a robust recovery plan. More than 230,000 people migrated from New Orleans within the first nine months after Hurricane Katrina. The census data showed only 100,000 returned within the following eight years.

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Why Extrapolated Data Won’t Work on Small Structural Steel Sections

In a commercial building fire, the fate of the structure – and the safety of people in, on, or around the structure – may all come down to a layer of protective intumescent coating. However, how can structural engineers be sure they have used the right amount of coating material to provide the necessary fire protection? It all comes down to complying with available specification data, and not making assumptions when data for a specific steel section profile is unavailable.

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Damage-Limiting Construction and Explosion Protection by Deflagration Venting

Many chemical, pharmaceutical, laboratory and general industrial facilities have requirements for storage of chemicals, gasses, fuels, lubricants, and other hazardous materials used in everyday operations. When stored appropriately and not subject to puncture, spillage, and exposure to flame or other ignition sources, these materials are benign and safe.

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Building Assessment and Masonry Construction Performance

Nepal, located within the subduction zone created by the massive Eurasian tectonic plate to the north and the smaller Indian tectonic plate to the south, has eight of the world’s tallest mountains, including Mount Everest and more than 240 peaks over 20,000 feet dotting the northern region of the country.

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Tuned Mass Damper Systems Deliver

In developed cities around the world, space on the ground is becoming scarce. The new trend is to build slender, “mega-tall” skyscrapers. These structures require special considerations to mitigate the effects of wind forces that develop against the building’s façade. Wind forces can cause significant sway or twist, particularly in the upper floors of the skyscraper, and wind-induced accelerations can cause motion sickness for many individuals inside these structures.

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The next edition of ASCE 7 Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures, ASCE 7-16 (ASCE, 2016), is expected to be published in September 2016, in time for adoption into the 2018 International Building Code (IBC) (ICC, 2018). For that edition, ASCE 7-10 (ASCE, 2010) has been modified to include a new Section 12.10.3, Alternative Design Provisions for Diaphragms including Chords and Collectors, within Section 12.10, Diaphragm Chords and Collectors.

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Insulated metal panels can provide a cost-effective exterior cladding solution for a multitude of projects. However, the same mechanical characteristics that enhance the panels’ flexural rigidity and provide weight savings also result in nonlinear response to loading. This is of particular interest in blast-resistant design, where components are often required to deform well beyond conventional serviceability limits.

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Los Angeles is no stranger to earthquakes and, like other cities in California, has experienced extensive damage in previous seismic events, which has led to significant advancements in earthquake engineering. Some might say that L.A. has been the epicenter of seismic code development since the 1933 Long Beach Earthquake. Because of its long history with seismic events and their aftermath, Los Angeles has embarked in a leadership role to create a long-term program to educate the public, help building owners to seismically strengthen their buildings, and improve overall community resiliency after the next earthquake.

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