Designs for Blast Protection (Available only in Structures special issue)

by Martin J. Fertal, P.E., (M.ASCE), Principal Staff Member; BDM International, Inc., McLean, VA,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1996, Vol. 66, Issue 9, Pg. 3A-5A

Document Type: Feature article


The 1995 bombing of the Murrah building in Oklahoma City was the most deadly terrorist act in this country's history. What can engineers do to prevent such events in the future? Recent headlines have brought to light the very real threat that terrorist explosions pose to buildings and their occupants. The FBI reports that bombings are the most common tactic employed by terrorists, accounting for over 75% of terrorist acts committed in the U.S. from 1982 to 1992. A recent study by the National Research Council also concluded that attacks against civilian buildings pose an unquantifiable threat. For many engineers and designers, particularly in the U.S., assessing explosion risks to buildings represents a new and imposing design challenge. By analyzing the relationships among explosions, structures and occupants, it is often possible to reduce the likliehood of casualties and damage.

Subject Headings: Explosions | Terrorism | Building design | Blasting effects | History | Risk management | Structural analysis | Damage (structural) | Oklahoma | United States

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