Category Archives: Architecture

New Technology Means Safer Buildings

A new technology from Applied Science International, developed to analyze the behavior of structures exposed to terrorist explosions and unplanned or natural disasters, was announced today by the Homeland Defense Journal. It is expected that this breakthrough will revolutionize how buildings are designed, remodeled and secured especially in the wake of the latest terrorist attacks in London and elsewhere.

Imagine a truck loaded with the equivalent of 4,000 pounds of explosives parking at the curb near the center of a 9-story building. Within 5 seconds of detonation the building is in ruins, having totally collapsed. The explosion takes out a supporting column causing the failure of a main girder and the progressive collapse of the building above. At the end of the day there are 168 confirmed dead and 853 people injured.

New Technology Means Safer BuildingsUntil now, structural engineers have been limited to an approach called the “Finite Element Method”, or FEM, to design buildings. The weakness of FEM- based models is that they bend but do not break; they deform but do not separate. It is not an accurate picture of what happens in reality. Finally, after 12 years of research and development, a new method termed the “Applied Element Method”, or AEM, has been completed, redefining how progressive collapse, seismic wave effect, high wind, glass and blast are viewed and analyzed by engineers.

“The building referred to was the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Using ASI modeling, we now know that if the steel reinforcing bars in the main concrete girder had been doubled, the structure would have better withstood the blast and many more people would have survived,” said Edward di Girolamo, ASI’s Chief Executive Officer.

Knowing potential vulnerabilities of a design allows the making of more informed decisions on structural design and architectural layouts, determining building envelopes and perimeters, opting for alternate material selections, and even developing better security and safety procedures are among the many advantages di Girolamo pointed out.

AEM technology creates a near virtual reality movie depicting the structure’s behavior. By coupling this with ASI’s Extreme Loading for Structures(R) (ELS) software, a new era in securing buildings through a more thorough and viable vulnerability assessment process has been opened. “Vulnerability simulations come to life and are easily understood by engineer and non-engineer alike. Visualizing the assessment sets ASI’s method apart and gives owners and decision makers a clearer perspective on what they need to know to protect their people, their property and their future,” continued di Girolamo.

“For the first time, building owners, designers, architects, engineers, insurance underwriters, and security experts can see what will happen before an event takes place, whether it’s a bomb within a building’s perimeter, an earthquake underneath it, or a hurricane assaulting it from the side. “It is the world’s only real-time progressive collapse analysis software, and it can be used on any structure at any phase — from pre-construction design of structures such as towers, sports arenas and bridges to buildings scheduled for remodeling or demolition — there is no limit to its application.”

For more information about ASI’s new ELS and AES software and vulnerability assessment model visit where a Special Report about ASI and its ground-breaking technology can be downloaded and a video of their technology can be viewed.