Noah Berger photo

06 June 2001 | Structural engineering graduate students Erik Madsen and Brant Jones inspect a concrete floor following a June 4 test in Davis Hall of a system to make buildings bomb resistant. In a demonstration of the new mechanism designed to prevent the kind of catastrophic collapse seen in the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building a team led by Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Hassan Astaneh removed a critical support column and gradually applied 190,000 pounds of force to a replica of a federal courthouse to be built in Seattle. Connector bolts failed, tons of concrete and steel groaned ominously, and the massive floor sank several feet as pressure was applied but never collapsed.
The new system one of several blast-resistant designs under study relies on steel cables, embedded in the floor, to bear the weight of the floor if a support column is knocked out. The research is funded by the General Services Administration in an effort prevent loss of life in the event of future attacks on federal buildings.


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