professor ben schafer's thin-walled structures research group - johns hopkins university


Structural Design for Unforeseen Events


From "Stability Degradation and Redundancy in Damaged Structures"

The objective of this paper is to assess the promise of a novel tool for structural safety decision-making in severe unforeseen hazards. A straightforward measure is put forth for measuring the intensity of unforeseen hazards: the number of connected members removed from a structure in a brittle fashion. The tool selected for assessing this severe demand is the reduction in the buckling load capacity (stability) of the structure under service loads. Two examples of planar steel frames quantitatively demonstrate how the stability of structures degrade under this severe damage. Degradation of the buckling load, as members are removed, provides an efficient and unique tool for assessing fragility against unforeseen hazards in buildings. Further, a coarse, but efficient measure of progressive collapse is provided by the condition number of the stiffness matrix for the damaged structure. Comparison of a moment frame with and without cross-bracing indicates the beneficial role of redundancy as damage increases. Challenges remain, particularly in determining reasonable distributions for the intensity, improving the computational efficiency of the analysis, and insuring the degrading stability response tracks a buckling mode of interest. A framework for incorporating the analysis into decision-making, similar to that developed in seismic performance-based design, is provided.


Schafer, B.W., Bajpai, P. (2005). "Building Structural Safety Decision-Making for Severe Unforeseen Hazards." Proceedings of 2005 NSF DMII Grantees Conference, Scottsdale, Arizona. (pdf)


Schafer, B.W., Bajpai, P. (2004). “Stability Degradation and Redundancy in Damaged Structures.” Annual Technical Session and Meeting, Structural Stability Research Council, April, 2004. Long Beach, CA. (pdf) (presentation)


Bajpai, P., Schafer, B.W. (2003). “Progress Towards Structural Design for Unforeseen Catastrophic Events.” ASME National Congress. Washington, D.C. (presentation)



The research described on this web page is partially sponsored by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF-DMII-0228246).



last edited on 07/19/05