As extensive research has been conducted on the impact of earthquakes on steel structures, engineers have shifted their angle in building construction. Engineers are leaning towards architectural designs that move with the forces of an earthquake versus resisting the directional pulls caused by the ground movement. These more thoughtful designs based upon the results of laboratory and workshop simulations will increase the need for welding.
In the past, buildings and bridges were constructed of solid, large pieces of metal with the supposition that the framework had to be rigid to withstand the force of an earthquake. However, research, time and experience have taught engineers that flexibility is preferable over brute rigidity that resists movement. When an object resists movement, more damage is sustained than if the object moves along with the excessive forces being exerted. This is exampled by individuals involved in a car crash whom brace themselves upon impact. Significant injuries, such as extensive bone breaks, are often incurred by alert individuals compared to those whom were sleeping or left unconscious shortly after the initial impact. When there is little bodily resistance to the forces being exerted due to the crash, the individual moves freely along with the violent momentum and, thus, results in fewer injuries.
How Does Sectional Welding of Metal Reduce Damage?
For buildings and bridges, the welding of various sections of metal, connecting plates, links, cables, and hinge pipe beams allow shifting and swaying to occur in the face of an earthquake with damage being concentrated to strategically located areas of weaker steel sectionals. In the prior architectural designs, solid pieces of metal were minimally welded in place to resist movement, which in turn resulted in collapse. By joining materials in a multitude of sections, the structures will be able to sway and reduce the amount of damage caused by an earthquake.
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