PDF Understanding Building Failures (Understanding Construction)

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Complete with a handy glossary and bibliography, practitioners and students will find this an excellent source of guidance and information for investigating and avoiding building failures. Paperback , pages.

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Description Details Customer Reviews This new edition of Bill Ransom's classic short textbook provides a solid introduction to the study of defects in buildings and, in consequence, to good practice in conservation and repair. Building failures continue to occur despite continuing experience and growing knowledge in the industry; they may even be on the increase due to cost-cutting measures, the inadequate testing of innovative products and techniques, a lack of maintenance, and user abuse and misuse.

New material includes an outline of the principles of building pathology; new sections on deterioration mechanisms, service life prediction and dampness investigation and a glossary and bibliography. A column that is modified from a compact cross-section, like a cylinder, to an extended cross-section, like a pipe, can still support the same load per unit area, but with much greater resistance to buckling.

As a beam, one side is in compression and the other in tension, while the pipe cannot buckle to one side or the other.

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When you do bend a pipe, notice that it crushes inward reducing the cross-section to a line, which bends easily. Tubes need to be supported against buckling. Such a tube has a very high ratio of strength to weight, and hence strength to cost.

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Tall buildings have generally been made with a rigid steel skeleton, sheathed in the lightest materials to keep out the weather. Alternatively, reinforced concrete, where the compression-resisting and protecting concrete surrounds the tough, tension-resisting steel, integrated into a single body, has been used. Such structures have never failed when properly built on good foundations , and stoutly resist demolition. When the lower supports of a steel skeleton are destroyed, the weight of the building seems to crush the lower parts and the upper parts descend slowly into the pile of debris.

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Monolithic reinforced-concrete buildings are diffcult to demolish in any fashion. The World Trade Center towers used neither a steel skeleton nor reinforced concrete. They were designed as square tubes made of heavy, hollow welded sections, braced against buckling by the building floors.

Massive foundations descended to bedrock, since the towers had to be safe against winds and other lateral forces tending to overturn them. All this was taken into consideration in the design and construction, which seems to have been first-rate. An attempt to damage the buildings by a bomb at the base had negligible effect. The strong base and foundation would repel any such assault with ease, as it indeed did. The impact of aircraft on the upper stories had only a local effect, and did not impair the integrity of the buildings, which remained solid.

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The fires caused weakening of the steel, and some of the floors suddenly received a load for which they were not designed. What happened next was unexpected and catastrophic. The slumped floors pushed the steel modules outwards, separating them from the floor beams. The next floor then collapsed on the one below, pushing out the steel walls, and this continued, in the same way that a house of cards collapses.

The debris of concrete facing and steel modules fell in shower while the main structure collapsed at almost the same rate.

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In 15 seconds or so, stories were reduced to a pile 9 stories high, mainly of steel wall modules and whatever was around them. The south tower collapsed 47 minutes after impact, the north tower 1 hour 44 minutes after impact. The elapsed times show that the impacts were not the proximate cause of collapse; the strong building easily withstood them.

When even one corner of a floor was weakened and fell, the collapse would soon propagate around the circumference, and the building would be lost.

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It is clear that buildings built in this manner have a catastrophic mode of failure "house of cards" that should rule out their future construction. It is triggered when there is a partial collapse at any level that breaks the continuity of the tube, which then rolls up quickly, from top to bottom. The collapse has a means of propagation that soon involves the whole structure, bypassing its major strengths and impossible to interrupt. There is no need for an airliner; a simple explosion would do the job. There were central tubes in the towers, for elevators and services, but they appeared to play no substantial role in the collapse, and were not evident in the pictures or wreckage.

I viewed this hour-long production on 30 April