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Re: Apartment Building Collapse

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For an interesting sidelight on this topic you might read "The Deacon's
Masterpiece Or, The Wonderful One-Hoss Shay" by Oliver Wendell Holmes. 
Any library should have it.


				Daryl Richardson

Scott Maxwell wrote:
> I am not totally sold on probabalistic design either.  The key thing is
> that I would not place a guarantee on a building not collapsing due to
> some unforseen natural event for any period of time.  I would tell someone
> that the more money one is willing to toss at the structural components,
> then the those components can be designed into a stronger structural
> system, and the more likely the structure could survive a certain level of
> natural event.
> I would also add that someone could design the most "perfect" structure
> that could theoretically survive 50 years (assuming a extreme natural
> event didn't take it out), but if it is poorly maintained, then that
> structure may not last 20 years is effective use.  An excellent example
> are many bridges and highways in the state of Michigan.  Many of the
> bridges and highways had "expected" lifetimes here.  However, since for
> many years in the recent past maintanence of the highways and bridges has
> been a low priority, many are in need of replacement prior to the end of
> their "expected" life.  It also doesn't help that our truck weight limits
> are twice that of state with next highest limit (if I recall correctly).
> Scott
> On Thu, 14 Dec 2000, Christopher Wright wrote:
> > >translates into a recurrance period of about 2500 years
> > Given the scarcity of 2500 year old buildings and the fact that
> > earthquake measurements go back maybe 100 years, my guess is there's more
> > to it.
> >
> > Don't mind me, I'm as skeptical about probabalistic design (cf. Feynman's
> > comments on the Challenger failure probabilities) as I am about LRFD. But
> > I'm not letting it interfere with Christmas. ;->
> >
> > Christopher Wright P.E.    |"They couldn't hit an elephant from
> > chrisw(--nospam--at)        | this distance"   (last words of Gen.
> > ___________________________| John Sedgwick, Spotsylvania 1864)
> >
> >
> >
> >