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Professor B. P. Hughes (F) (University of Birmingham): I should like to congratulate the author on a most interesting and useful paper, and for his presentation of the theoretical background to the crack width predictions given in the current British Codes of Practice. Dr. Beeby has asked, ‘Is the picture reasonable and right, and what limitations has it?’
S. B. Desai (M): It can be observed from the formulae given in the paper (as well as clause A.3.2 of CP 110) that the calculated crack widths in RC members are proportional to the covers provided to the reinforcing bars. Because of this, the design of structures exposed to severe conditions (e.g. a marine environment) seems to have to satisfy somewhat over-stringent criteria.
The computer debate
From Mr M. K. Hurst his views on the use of computers: I have been following with interest the debate on computers which has been continuing in the Verulam columns, and I would like to add my two-pennyworth. It seems to me that computers have two distinct advantages over the human brain-their ability both to store and retrieve vast quantities of information and to perform lengthy calculations on them, both operations being performed extremely rapidly and accurately. As long as computers are used to perform just these functions, as is the case in most business applications, they are being used to their best advantage.