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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.
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
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”’