This paper discusses the calculation procedure model (CPM) for structural failures in relation to design philosophy and philosophy of science, and illustrates its arguments by detailed consideration of two specific examples of failure. Popper has postulated that scientific knowledge grows as a result of the falsification of theories. Some of his ideas can also be applied to engineering knowledge, but the falsification of the CPM cannot be sought actively. Thus, when engineering failures occur, they provide excellent opportunities for increasing engineering knowledge, as long as the falsified component of the CPM can be isolated. The following examples of failure are discussed in considerable detail, including analyses of their causes: (1) failure of prestressed concrete roof girders; (2) cracking in suspended floors of a school building. Both these examples indicate that the design philosophy component of the CPM has been falsified, even though a superficial examination would have recommended an increase in design live load and greater construction supervision. The author makes the following suggestions for extending the CPM: (1) control the progression of collapse in a structure, when it occurs, to enable greater warning to be given; (2) allow for the sensitivity to deviations from specifications, when selecting structural alternatives.

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  • Corporate Authors:

    Institution of Structural Engineers

    11 Upper Belgrave Street
    London,   United Kingdom  SW1X 8BH
  • Authors:
    • DIAS, WPS
  • Publication Date: 1994-1-18


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: p. 25-9
  • Serial:
    • Structural Engineer
    • Volume: 72
    • Issue Number: 2
    • Publisher: Institution of Structural Engineers
    • ISSN: 1466-5123

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00665220
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Sep 9 1994 12:00AM