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Nonlinearity in Design of Structural Concrete Walls

The history of structural engineering contains many collapses and failures. Sometimes this is due to obvious negligence, as in the case of the Pétion-Ville school collapse, in which Rev. Fortin Augustin “constructed the building all by himself, saying he didn’t need an engineer as he had good knowledge of construction” following a partial collapse of the three-story schoolhouse that sent neighbors fleeing. The final collapse killed 94 people, mostly children.

In other cases structural failures require careful study, and the results of these inquiries have resulted in improved practices and greater understanding of the science of structural engineering. Some such studies are the result of forensic engineering investigations where the original engineer seems to have done everything in accordance with the state of the profession and acceptable practice yet a failure still eventuated. A famous case of structural knowledge and practice being advanced in this manner can be found in a series of failures involving box girders which collapsed in Australia during the 1970s.