"Structural failures, such as the MacArthur Maze I-880 overpass in Oakland, California and the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota, are recent examples of our national infrastructure's fragility and serve as an important reminder of such infrastructure in our everyday lives. These two failures, as well as the World Trade Center's collapse and the levee failures in New Orleans, highlight the national importance of protecting our infrastructure as much as possible against acts of terrorism and natural hazards. This paper describes a process for evaluating the vulnerability of critical infrastructure to large blast loads using a fully-coupled finite element approach. A description of the finite element software and modeling technique is discussed along with the experimental validation of the numerical tools. We discuss how such an approach can be used for specific problems such as modeling the progressive collapse of a building."
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Noble, Charles R.; McMichael, Larry D.; Margraf, Jonathan D.