Building design methods play a crucial role in ensuring the safety and integrity of structures. The traditional approach focuses on improving connectivity between components to redistribute loads in case of component failure. However, this method can lead to progressive collapse after large initial failures, as evidenced by incidents like the Champlain Towers collapse. In response, a new approach developed by ICITECH-UPV offers a solution to prevent catastrophic collapses and enhance building resilience.

The innovative design method introduced by the UPV team revolves around the concept of a structural fuse. This mechanism allows damaged parts of a building to be isolated, preventing the spread of major failures throughout the entire structure. Similar to protecting an electrical system with fuses, this approach maintains structural continuity under normal conditions but segments the building when failure propagation is inevitable. The result is a reduction in damages and a safeguard against total collapse.

One of the key advantages of the fuse-based segmentation method is its cost-effectiveness and practicality. The implementation of this approach is seamless, requiring conventional construction details and materials with minimal impact on the overall structure cost. The researchers have successfully validated the effectiveness of the design method through a full-scale building test using prefabricated concrete. Plans are underway to extend the methodology to buildings constructed with in-situ concrete and steel, demonstrating its versatility and applicability in various construction projects.

Significance of the Research

The development of the fuse-based segmentation design method represents a significant breakthrough in building safety and resilience. As part of the Endure project, the researchers conducted a world-first test in June 2023 to validate the performance of the new approach. The test, carried out on a complete full-scale building, successfully isolated a large initial failure within the structure, preventing its propagation and showcasing the effectiveness of the segmentation concept. It is worth noting that the research was entirely conducted at the UPV, underscoring the expertise and dedication of the authors in advancing building design practices.

The implementation of fuse-based segmentation in building design holds immense potential for preventing catastrophic collapses and safeguarding human lives. By isolating damaged areas and preventing failure propagation, this innovative approach offers a practical solution to enhance building resilience and minimize the risk of large-scale structural failures. As research continues to expand the application of this method to different types of construction materials, the future of building design looks promising with a focus on safety, durability, and sustainability.


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