Investigation of Full-Scale Performance of Structures—Research Potentials

by James S. Cohen, Elstner Associates, Inc, Princeton Junction, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Structural Engineering in Natural Hazards Mitigation


It is well known that actual, or true, behavior of completed structures does not necessarily conform to often simplified analysis predictions. This may be due to any of several reasons such as, interaction of structural and architectural elements, unanticipated load paths, material non-linearity, frictional effects and 'shake-down' following extreme loads. Analysis normally compensates for these unknown effects by incorporating factors of safety. However, as the true degree of safety is usually unknown, this can result in a failure in a structure to perform as expected, whether with regard to over-performance or under-performance. There is thus a need to determine those areas of behavior of complete full-scale structures which significantly deviate from accepted analysis assumptions. It is proposed that a selection of completed structures and structural/ architectural systems is made based upon maximizing the cost-benefit ratio of the research and that these are instrumented, monitored and tested to determine their true behavior, including their mutual interaction. The final goal is to identify behaviors which significantly deviate from common analysis assumptions and prepare recommendations with regard to improved analysis, design and construction practices.

Subject Headings: Structural analysis | Architecture | Load factors | Structural safety | Wind engineering | Structural members | Structural behavior | Construction materials

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