Earthquake resistance and blast resistance: A structural comparison

Several sources have suggested that current seismic design provisions can improve blast and progressive collapse resistance. To examine this suggestion, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sponsored a study at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC). The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, which was severely damaged in a 1995 bombing, was hypothetically strengthened for high seismic demands. Three strengthening schemes were designed, and each strengthening scheme was then analyzed for its response to the 1995 bombing scenario. The blast and corresponding progressive collapse analyses showed that the pierspandrel and special moment frame schemes would significantly reduce the amount of blast-induced damage and subsequent progressive collapse, compared with the response of the original building. The internal shear walls were less effective in reducing blast and progressive collapse damage. It was concluded that strengthening perimeter elements using current seismic detailing techniques improved the survivability of the building from blast loading.