On October 24, 2001 a devastating fire broke out in the St. Gotthard Road Tunnel in Switzerland, costing eleven people their lives. The main traffic route through the Swiss Alps remained closed for more than two months following the disaster whilst extensive renovation works were carried out.
How safe are high-rise buildings in the event of a plane crash? Special methods allow the calculation of exactly what the dynamic and structural loads are on buildings. © Fraunhofer EMI
Tunnels are not the only structures that can be destabilized by major incidents; buildings can be so damaged by explosives or fires that they collapse. How can multi-story buildings, bridges or nuclear power stations be made safe? Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for High-Speed Dynamics, Ernst-Mach-Institute, EMI are working alongside colleagues from the Schüßler-Plan Group, an engineering consultancy, to develop concepts for the comprehensive safety of buildings and structures. This means building contractors will in future be able to access the EMI researchers’ expert knowledge at an early stage in the planning process. The guidelines are being realized by engineers from Schüßler-Plan as part of an interactive collaboration.
Risk analysis for building contractors
“Our collaboration supports building contractors from the initial planning stages right through to completion,” says Dr. Alexander Stolz of the EMI in Freiburg. “We provide safety assurances during the planning phase by testing those loads that could potentially affect the structure, and we support contractors by furnishing them with a risk analysis report.” Scientists at the institute benefit from having on-site facilities to investigate the effects an explosion has on built structures, either through trials involving real explosives or using their large shock tube, powerful enough to test storey-high test specimen. „We use the finite element method, which is a numerical technique, to check the validity of the trial, and can predict any event scenario we want.
Schüßler-Plan then converts the results into engineering models. Building contractors can be certain that the dynamic and structural loads on buildings were calculated exactly. On top of this, we use the newest and most innovative protective and high-performance materials – materials that are both developed and qualified by us,“ he explains. The team also deals with retrofitting existing constructions such as airports, subway stations or underground parking lots. The experts do more than just help to make individual buildings safer, they also introduce safety-relevant aspects into urban planning. Simulation tools are used to calculate the incredibly complex way a pressure wave spreads through a built-up area. This enables different designs for urban structures to be judged on aspects concerning their relative safety – and improvements to be made accordingly – all whilst still in the planning stages.
Clear escape routes in the event of a plane crash
The collaboration between Schüßler-Plan und the EMI came about as part of the “Secure high-rise buildings” project. Markus Nöldgen, a former Schüßler-Plan employee and currently a professor at Cologne University of Applied Sciences, was prompted by the airplane attack on the World Trade Center in New York to consider the statics of high-rise buildings. The result was an ingenious framework construction built around an inner core of Ultra High Performance Concrete (UHPC), which ensures escape routes are kept clear and accessible in the event of an aircraft impact.
Dr. Ingo Müllers, head of department at Schüßler-Plan, welcomes the collaboration with colleagues from Fraunhofer. The engineering consultancy has more than 50 years of market experience. “We’re delighted to now be able to offer our clients an additional service,” he says. The purchase of a single contract buys the client the expertise of both scientists and engineers. In fact the cooperation extends so far that even the construction work itself is overseen by both partners. “We are a one-stop shop for customers, who only have to deal with a single contact – which is what the market demands – leaving all the necessary interactions to take place between experienced planners.”
| Fraunhofer Research News
Smart buildings through innovative membrane roofs and façades
31.08.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Organische Elektronik, Elektronenstrahl- und Plasmatechnik FEP
Concrete from wood
05.07.2017 | Schweizerischer Nationalfonds SNF
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
18.10.2017 | Health and Medicine
18.10.2017 | Life Sciences
17.10.2017 | Life Sciences