Architects looking at buildings in Japan after an earthquake, observe that Building A has collapsed because the structural frame was not braced to resist the force of the earthquake. From this observation we can make the following generalization:

Buildings tend to/ are likely to collapse during an earthquake if their structural frames are not braced to resist the force of earthquakes.

7. Look at this table about other hazards:

Country

Hazard

Possible effect

Precautions taken

a)

Iran

hailstorm

penetrate the roof of a light structure

make roof covering hail resistant

b)

All countries

thunderstorm

cause structural damage to tall buildings

fit a lightning conductor

c)

Hot-dry countries

sandstorm

damage exterior surfaces of a building

stop by erecting barrier screens a few metres from the building

d)

Africa

attack by termites

destroy the wooden components of a building

treat wood with preservatives

e)

All countries

fire

cause structural damage to buildings

use fireproof materials

What observations do you think you could make about buildings in the above countries?

Example: During a hailstorm in Iran, the roof of a light structure was penetrated because the roof covering had not been made hail resistant.

What generalisations can you make?

Example: Roofs of light structures in Iran are likely to be penetrated during a hailstorm if they are not hail resistant.

8. Readthis:

The gravitational force on a structure can be divided into dead loads and live loads. Dead loads can be calculated accurately because they rarely change with time and are usually fixed in one place. Live loads are always variable and movable, so no exact figures can be calculated for these forces.

Structures must also resist other types of forces, such as wind or earthquakes, which are extremely variable. It is impossible to predict accurately the magnitude of all the forces that act on a structure during its life; we can only predict from past experience the probable magnitude and frequency of the loads.

Engineers never design a structure so that the applied loads exactly equal the strength of the structure. This condition is too dangerous because we can never know the exact value of either the applied loads or the strength of the structure. Therefore, a number called a 'factor of safety' is used. The safety factor is defined as the ratio of the probable strength of the structure and the probable loads on the structure. This factor may range from 1-1 (where there is little uncertainty) to perhaps 5 or 10 (where there is great uncertainty).

Now answer these questions:

1. Can the loads from the internal partitions of a building be estimated accurately? Why?

2. Can the loads from storage in a building be estimated accurately? Why not?

3. How can an engineer predict the possible loads that will occur on a structure?

4. Why do engineers never design a structure so that the applied loads exactly equal the strength of the structure?

5. When there is great uncertainty about the loads on a structure and the strength of a structure, does an engineer choose a high or low safety factor?

6. When does failure occur?

9. Look at the pairs of drawings and discuss them:

Each pair of drawings shows a design mistake which could be dangerous, and a way of reducing the danger.