A framework for performance-based optimization of structural robustness Marjanishvili, Shalva M.; Katz, Brian
The possibility of a local structural failure to propagate into a global collapse of the structural system has fueled the continued development of improved computational methods to model building behavior. In spite of these efforts, the recent past has witnessed numerous structural failures in response to extreme loading events resulting from both natural and man-made hazards. These incidents highlight the significant threat to our built environment posed by low-probability-high-consequence events that often induce an inelastic structural response and result in disproportionate damage relative to the initiating event. This paper examines the relationship between load and damage propagation for this unique class of hazards, speaking largely in the context of blast loads resulting from an explosive threat. Common state-of-practice engineering solutions in blast resistant design often strive to adapt conventional deterministic methods to incrementally strengthen a structure on an element-by-element basis, as needed, to address specific load concerns. The resulting design, however, is ill-equipped to cope with uncertainties in building geometry, load characterization, damage propagation, etc. that vary significantly from assumed initial conditions. This paper proposes an alternate performance-based framework to optimize structural robustness in the presence of uncertainties and better inform the decision-making process related to damage acceptance. The design process starts with the characterization of hazards and then calculates the resulting damage propagation and functional loss by deriving and, subsequently, balancing functional relationships between design and consequences. The proposed methodology can be implemented directly to complete performance assessments or can be used as a basis for establishing damage acceptance criteria and provisions to achieve resilient structural solutions.
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