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RE: ASD vs LRFD -- Scoreboard

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> -----Original Message-----
> From: Fountain Conner [mailto:fconner(--nospam--at)]
> Sent: Monday, June 14, 1999 10:09 PM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)
> Subject: ASD vs LRFD -- Scoreboard
> ...  Three take the position that LRFD is inevitable; relax
> and enjoy it.

That's a bit disingenuous, Fountain, comparing LRFD to rape.

That's not what was said. What WAS said is the LRFD is "the future." You
question the meaning of that, so I'll tell you.

All current and future research into steel structure behavior is being done
with principles of LRFD theory as a basis. When I say it is a "more rational
method," I mean that LRFD theory represents the state-of-the-art as far as
knowledge concerning such behavior is concerned.

You can continue to use ASD, and your structures will be fine, I'm sure.
However, your personal understanding of what is going on in them will
continue to be limited, because the theory and body of knowledge that makes
up the sum and total of ASD theory is necessarily limited.

The point here is to be an ENGINEER, not a hack.

I don't mean to be offensive in this regard. I'm sure that "hacking" will
get you through the day with safe structures. If that's satisfactory to you,
then by all means go for it.

I do admit to getting impatient with those "wise heads" who will immediately
jump on newly-minted graduates, telling them they need to "unlearn all the
stuff they learned in school." There is plenty for these kids to learn in
the real world of engineering practice, without telling them that everything
they know is wrong.

> ...  One says that anyone who doesn't accept his pro LRFD
> prejudice is a
>    fool.

No one said that, certainly not I. What I DID say was, I know old engineers
who still use WSD for concrete, and we joke about them. They are "funny" in
some ways. They talk about "bond stress" for development of rebar as if that
actually has some significance in the real world. They don't want to learn
anything new.

I do think that if I ever got to the point where I didn't want to learn
anything new, I'd get out of this business and go sell insurance. Learning
and growing in my knowledge of structural engineering is what keeps this
interesting for me. It certainly isn't the wonder and privilege of my day to
day working world (reports, administrative issues, budgets, etc.)

I have used LRFD exactly ONCE, briefly, for some bridge design. But I know
from my brief experience with the new AASHTO LRFD code, that it is head and
shoulders above the old Standard Specifications because it got rid of so
much inconsistent baggage (and even recognized, along the way, the
possibility that one might actually have to deal with torsion in concrete).

There is more than just a theory going on here. There is a move afoot for
structural engineers to recognize that there is so much we all have yet to
learn about structural behavior. Most of the people in this group run rings
around me in that department, and I continue to be in awe of them. But the
fact that I still have so much to learn, again, keeps me vital in this

> ..  Three, including Charlie Carter, hint that the
> international market is
>    driving the switch.

Ah, it's the "new world order." Kofi Annan is behind it all!

> ..  And one -- Bless you Michael Valley...  actually rose to
> the challenge
>    to show why LRFD might be better.

Many people have, but it won't stop you from continuing to use ASD. I don't
really care about your preference in structural steel design, but it saddens
me to see the next generation being told they need to unlearn all the
"foolishness" they learned in school.