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Re: Concrete vs. Steel

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Wow, Greg, have you invited the flood gates to be opened here!  In
California graduate structural engineering curriculums, courses are taught
that focus exclusively on reinforced concrete ductile frames.  (An
excellent text on this subject is "Seismic Design of Reinforced Concrete
and Masonry Buildings" by Paulay & Priestley.)  Moreover, there are a
number of design engineering companies in California that work almost
exclusively in concrete; obviously they are able to do it efficiently, else
they would not be in business!

To extrapolate, as you have, and say that because concrete buildings
collapsed in the recent Turkey earthquake we should not use concrete in
seismically active areas is obscene.  Refer to the reports of the collapsed
buildings in Turkey, and you will see that it was primarily poor design and
construction that caused the failures:  poor and wrongly-placed lap splices
and poor or no confining steel, primarily.  With each new earthquake,
domestic or international, we certainly learn more about earthquakes and
the limitations of our past designs.


Brennan Johnson
EQE International
Irvine, CA

     To be in charge of a project and prescribe the wrong material (even
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