Building robustness research during World War II

Smith, P.P., Byfield, M.P. and Goode, D.J. (2010) Building robustness research during World War II. Journal of Performance of Constructed Facilities, 24, (9), 529-535. (doi:10.1061/(ASCE)CF.1943-5509.0000115).


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This study reviews research carried out in the U.K. to understand and improve the robustness of buildings when subject to blast from high explosive bombs. The work concentrates on the performance of ordinary civilian buildings, with particular emphasis on multi-storey buildings framed in either reinforced concrete or structural steelwork. At the time, some of the data was used to enhance conventional building construction, principally on Government buildings, and some was used to aide post-war hardened building construction. The two main UK researchers whose work is the basis of this paper (Professor Sir Dermot Christopherson and Professor Lord Baker) identified a number of building weaknesses that led to local or progressive collapse, including connections in steel framed buildings, as well as detailing weaknesses in reinforced concrete constructions. This paper reviews these features, as well as those that added resilience to bomb damage, with particular emphasis to the use of masonry infill panels in framed buildings. Much of the information on building performance is relevant to today's engineers engaged in the design of buildings to survive blast from terrorist attacks involving the vehicle borne improvised explosive device.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1061/(ASCE)CF.1943-5509.0000115
ISSNs: 0887-3828 (print)
1943-5509 (electronic)
Keywords: forensic engineering, progressive collapse, buildings, design, steel, concrete, high explosive, blast, structures
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D731 World War II
T Technology > TH Building construction
U Military Science > U Military Science (General)
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Civil Engineering and the Environment
ePrint ID: 74101
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
8 January 2010Made publicly available
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2010
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:07

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