Ultimate capacity of blast loaded structures common to chemical plants



There has been a great deal of investment in development of design criteria and design and construction of heavily reinforced, blast-resistant control rooms. This remains the best option for protective construction against severe blast loading experienced close in to a vapor cloud or other explosion hazard. However, most structures encountered at chemical plants and contemplated for future construction are conventional steel frame, metal clad buildings. In this paper we look closely at the response of such buildings to explosion loads and their ability to undergo large deformations without structural failure. The types of structural elements evaluated include metal decking of various gauge and shape along with a variety of girt and purlin sections. Building frames or bents are also evaluated, although the date base for these is much more limited. The work is based on observations made during investigations of large explosion accidents along with analytical predictions and test measurements. To conclude, we offer specific design criteria and connection recommendations for enhancing the overall strength of a building through the use of conventional components in unconventional construction.