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Re: Seismic Design

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Every time I go "Back East" I marvel at the skinny little columns supporting elevated expressways, bridges, and buildings, and know instinctively that they couldn't be located in California.

Ralph Hueston Kratz, S.E.
Richmond CA USA

In a message dated 8/27/05 12:07:15 PM, gskwy(--nospam--at) writes:

Actually, what I want to tell him is how the building would be different.
I.e., how someone could look at the plans for an office building in Chicago and know it had not been designed for high seismic forces.   What zone is Chicago in now?
Gail Kelley 
-----Original Message-----
From: Christopher Wright <chrisw(--nospam--at)>
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Sent: Sat, 27 Aug 2005 13:22:00 -0500
Subject: Re: Seismic Design

On Aug 27, 2005, at 12:26 PM,
GSKWY(--nospam--at) wrote: 
> How would you explain to a non-engineer  how a building that has been > designed for a place where earthquakes are likely would be different > from a building designed for say, Chicago. 
The difference is response to lateral loads. If I wanted to go to no trouble at all I'd find a marker pen with a flat end and set it upright on a sheet of paper. Show him that it can support a lot of load in compression provided there's no side loads. When you jerk the paper sideways even a little the pen falls down. That really demonstrates kinematic instability and not structural instability, but there's no point beating the subject to death. You want to demonstrate the difference between gravity and lateral base load response. 
Christopher Wright P.E. |"They couldn't hit an elephant at 
chrisw(--nospam--at) | this distance" (last words of Gen. 
.......................................| John Sedgwick, Spotsylvania 1864)