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The Structural Engineer

A structure is vulnerable if any damage produces consequences that are disproportionate to that damage; conversely, a structure is robust if it can withstand arbitrary damage. The purpose of this paper is to present a new theory of structural vulnerability. It is a theory of structural form and connectivity, the purpose of which is to identify the ‘weak links’ within a structure. It is not a theory of the response of a structure to loads. Z. Lu, Y. Yu. N.J. Woodman and Professor D.I. Blockley

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The Structural Engineer

Mr K. G. Brunskill (M) I am surprised that the discussion contains no mention of Dr Paul Abeles who pioneered all the work on the inverted T-beam and whose beam and slab tests of the late 1940s and early 1950s were well recorded in The Structurul Engineer at the time.

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The Structural Engineer

Dr S. B. Desai (F) (Department of the Environment, Transport & the Regions) I congratulate Professor Beeby for drawing the attention of structural engineers to some important problems in the provision of structural safety at a conceptual level. During his presentation, he emphasised that adequate safety factors, adequate robustness, and the avoidance of mistakes, are three independent requirements for the provision of structural safety. However, I am concerned that the following statements in his paper remain open to misinterpretation by engineers: Page 16 (‘Introduction’): ‘Adequate robustness is provided so that the structure can withstand accidents and unforeseen events without suffering damage disproportionate to the cause’. Page 18 (‘Mistakes’): ‘One thing that can be done to limit the consequences of mistakes is to provide “robustness”’

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The Structural Engineer

As he recorded in his President’s message, the start of Professor Clark’s year in October 1998 was significant in that it saw the repayment of the Institution’s loan with Barclays Bank, successfully concluding the financial strategy that had been adopted since 1994. It was a turning point, allowing the Institution to move forward with a very positive strategy for the future. Prof Clark said: ‘It has not been easy, but the Institution has emerged stronger and more cohesive due to the unstinting support of the members and their response to the supplementary subscriptions’. Kathy Stansfield

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The Structural Engineer

John Roberts, the incoming President, is perhaps best known for work on complex steel structures, refurbishment of historic buildings and the highly specialised field of theme park rides.

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The Structural Engineer

CO2 emissions Mr E C. Beale, from South Croydon, provides more background to the thinking behind his contribution to our 16 February 1999 column: Given that CO, emissions from humans are several times as great as the total from fossil fuels, it would seem that the minimum would be 3 times as great and that livestock emissions might be as great again. This does not take account of all the sources of CO, in the natural world, which might be as great as the previous total.

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