Forensic Investigation

Single Abstract

340973 - Collapse Load Prediction for an Ultra-Large Metal Building Using Finite Element Analysis Method

Saturday, April 21
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Location: 202B

A very large metal building with approximate plan dimensions of 900 ft x 400 ft collapsed following a severe weather event. The collapse of the building is currently the subject of litigation. Our client retained Simpson, Gumpertz & Heger (SGH) to investigate the original design and the cause of the collapse. One of the investigation objectives was to estimate the collapse load of the as-built structure. The authors performed a detailed finite element (FE) analysis to predict the collapse load of a typical three-span 400-ft long steel frame of the as-built structure. We used the general purpose FE analysis software, ABAQUS, to perform the analysis. We considered initial imperfections in the FE model in order to capture local buckling and lateral torsional buckling. We also performed sensitivity studies considering different material models, initial imperfection values, lateral stiffness values, and boundary conditions, among others. We present a summary of the FE analysis results in this paper, as well as the important lessons learned in the design of ultra-large metal buildings.

Guzhao Li

Staff Consultant
SIMPSON GUMPERTZ & HEGER

Dr. Li is a registered civil and structural engineer with over 25 years of experience in structural analysis and design. He has been involved in the analysis, design, and evaluation of both new and existing blast-resistant structures in petrochemical facilities and the design and evaluation of onshore and offshore structures subjected to wind, wave, current, earthquake, and blast loads. Dr. Li has recently served on the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Task Committees for Wind Load Design at Petrochemical Facilities and Blast-Resistant Design at Petrochemical Facilities. Dr. Li is familiar with structural design code and design specifications such as API RP2A, AISC 360, AISC 341, ACI 318, IBC, ASCE 7, NFPA 59A, etc.

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Paul B. Summers

Senior Principal
Simpson Gumpertz & Heger

Mr. Summers has over 35 years of experience in analysis and design of buildings, structural components, and industrial facilities subjected to static, dynamic, blast, high wind, fire and seismic loadings. He is a registered professional and structural engineer, and has served on a number of committees charged with developing design and evaluation criteria for both new and existing facilities.

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Carlos A. Ortega

Structural Engineer
Simpson, Gumpertz & Heger

Dr. Ortega is a licensed professional engineer with over five years of experience in structural engineering analysis and design. He has industrial experience in the blast analysis and design of facilities in the oil and gas industry per ASCE specifications, design and evaluation of existing structures under normal environmental loads per IBC and ASCE specifications, analysis and design of movable drilling structures per API and ASCE specifications, and analysis and design of a wide variety of reinforced concrete structures for geotechnical and environmental purposes per ACI and AASHTO guidelines.

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Zonglei Mu

Senior Project Manage
Simpson, Gumpertz & Heger Inc.

Dr. Mu is a licensed professional engineer with fifteen years of experience in structural engineering analysis, design, and retrofit, as well as project management. Highlights of Dr. Mu’s experience include serving as the responsible structural engineer for steel and concrete design in petrochemical and refinery facilities such as coker structure, compressor buildings, control buildings, pipe racks, table tops, equipment platforms, etc. He has expertise associated with design, analysis, and evaluation of both new and existing blast-resistant structures in petrochemical facilities. He is familiar with current building codes and specifications such as AISC, ACI, ASCE, IBC, AASHTO, etc., and has working knowledge of API RP2A, API RP 2FB, NFPA 59A etc.

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