Strain Compatibility Visualized

Some engineering concepts are easy to explain. For example, the idea that stress and strain are related can also be expressed, crudely, as objects squash when you push on them. Everyone understands that on an intuitive level. Other concepts, like strain compatibility, are a little more difficult. The short version of strain compatibility, if I …

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Mansard Stability

The defining feature of a mansard roof, a sloped facade/roof, is mildly problematic as structure. Under just the gravity load of the wall’s own weight, there is a small overturning moment, which is resisted as an inward thrust at the top and an outward thrust at the base. If the sloped wall is carrying other …

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Inadvertent Structural Action

The title of this post is recycled from a talk I gave 16 years ago, “Inadvertent Structural Action in Traditional Buildings; or Why Hasn’t That Fallen Down Yet?” That talk was about how buildings that were constructed without structural design are often stronger than we think they are. The picture above is not that, but …

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A Good Idea Internationally

I’ve written several times about the CROSS (Confidential Reporting on Structural Safety) website. It allows engineers (and theoretically others) to anonymously report issues that are potentially dangerous or have led to structural failure, so that engineers everywhere may learn from those problems and their solutions. It originated in the UK, sponsored by professional and government …

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