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A reinforced concrete office block of 7 storeys was recently damaged by IRA bomb attack. The bomb was placed on the first floor in an end bay and opposite to a staircase, and did considerable structural damage. The bay of first floor on which the bomb was placed was demolished and a hole was blown in the second floor slab above. This, together with damage to external columns, wall beam and solid end gable were all that might have been expected from the size of the bomb employed. However, and at first sight without explanation, large areas of the 6 in thick 'flat-slab' first floor were also damaged. In spite of the fact that these bays could have suffered only from secondary or reflected blast, deflexions of up to 8 in appeared in the middles of several of the 15 ft square bays.
The ‘Stability’ report has taken some time to develop but the timing of its appearance has coincided with a period of very active re-thinking of our basic structural philosophy. In particular, it seems to form the third member of a trilogy which began with the Aims of Structural Design and has coincided with the issue of recommendations
on Future Building Regulations.
A study of the detailed stress distribution in brickwork is essential for the proper understanding of the behaviour of this composite material. The authors are thus to be congratulated for their work in applying the finite element method of analysis to a brickwork disc under diametrical load, taking into account the non-homogeneous nature
of the material.