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Re: Concrete vs. Steel

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     To be in charge of a project and prescribe the wrong material (even for
economical reasons) is like a doctor prescribing the wrong medicine because
the patient can't afford the right one.  In engineering as with medicine,
this can lead to death.
     I believe that concrete has been WRONGLY prescribed ANYWHERE in a high
seismic risk zone.  The EQ's in Turkey, Bay Bridge, Japan etc. are obvious
proof of this.  Yes, it is possible to construct a concrete structure that
will withstand a Richter 10 but THAT would be UNeconomical.
     Granted that Northridge revealed problems with steel and brittle
fracture, it will be easier to overcome this than to take the mass out of
concrete.  Concrete has it's advantages but only in a compatible location.

Greg in Oklahoma
-----Original Message-----
From: Fariborz Tehrani <fmtehrani(--nospam--at)>
To: seaint(--nospam--at) <seaint(--nospam--at)>
Date: Friday, October 22, 1999 12:56 PM
Subject: Re: Concrete vs. Steel

>Dear Scott
>I'm not going to tell you about advantages and disadvantages of concrete or
>steel structures and the parameters which affect the material selection
>procedure for a specific structure. You know that. So I think the best
>answer is giving you a survey of my works. I have worked as a structural
>engineer in Iran (you say Middle East) for more than 8 years. Here is
>structural types that I designed:
>1-Residential apartments and educational buildings (High schools, etc.)
>less than 4 stories: Concrete (Cement is more available than steel shapes
>for ordinary owners).
>2-Residential and Office buildings with more than 4 and up to 10 stories:
>Concrete and steel (No preferences).
>3-Residential and Office buildings more than 10 stories: Steel (because of
>pumping difficulties, construction speed, poor quality of ready mixed
>concretes and so on).
>4-Industrial frames with large spans: Steel (Steel structure
>is lighter, can be built in parts- ready for installation in site, and the
>best thing is that they can reinstall and relocate!)
>I moved here in Los Angeles last year. You know that most of the small
>buildings in LA have wood structure. But I'm in specialty structure
>business. We use everything including steel, aluminium, stainless steel,
>fabric, glass, ..., except concrete! Concrete hasn't have enough
>for a decorative, exposed and lightweight structure.
>Good luck
>Fariborz Tehrani                       Phone: (310)509-8826
>Civil Engineer                           Fax: (530)481-9532
>BSCE, MSCE, PE                    Voice Mail: (877)743-6206
>email: fmtehrani(--nospam--at)
>>From: Scott Maxwell <smaxwell(--nospam--at)>
>>Reply-To: seaint(--nospam--at)
>>To: seaint(--nospam--at)
>>CC: jwight(--nospam--at)
>>Subject: Concrete vs. Steel
>>Date: Fri, 22 Oct 1999 09:47:04 -0400
>>Dear fellow structural engineers:
>>I have received a request from one of my professors from school.  He has
>>been asked by ACI to look into the issue of the use of concrete vs. steel.
>>The question has been raised as to whether strucutural engineers are more
>>likely to pick steel over concrete, and if so...why?  I can give a fair
>>answer for the Detroit area, but they are also looking for input
>>So, I would appreciate it if you have any thoughts on the matter.  If you
>>have an opinion, then you can respond either to myself or to the list, and
>>then I will forward the information onto my professor.  I would also
>>appreciate it if you could specific which area of the country (or world)
>>you are from so that we can get an idea of "regional" preferences.
>>BTW, there is a little bit of a time restraint...I need to get any
>>forwarded by Thursday of next week (10/28) at the latest.
>>Thanks much,
>>Scott E. Maxwell, PE
>>Structural Engineer
>>SHG Inc.
>>500 Griswold, Suite 500
>>Detroit, MI  48226
>>Phone: (313) 442-8253
>>Fax:   (313) 442-8297
>>Work Email:     smaxwell(--nospam--at)
>>Personal Email: smaxwell(--nospam--at)
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