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Re: Concrete vs. Steel

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     So as not to mess up the current thread,  I'll save my comment for
later.  It's not the same but similar to the Hoover Dam story (and actually,
with imagination, a possibility).

-----Original Message-----
From: Brennan Johnson <BJohnson(--nospam--at)>
To: seaint(--nospam--at) <seaint(--nospam--at)>
Date: Friday, October 22, 1999 4:52 PM
Subject: Re: Concrete vs. Steel

>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