Collapse analysis of real RC spatial structures using known failure schemes of ferro-cement shell models

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Large-span reinforced concrete (RC) shells collapses that occurred in the last decade caused many death toll as well as significant losses to national economies. The most famous cases were the collapse of the aqua park cover in Moscow on February 2004 and the 2E terminal roof destruction at Charles de Gaulle Airport near Paris on May 2004. Following the publications of the appropriate commissions that have studied the reasons of these events, the influence of concrete creep and changes in the shell geometry on buckling of RC thin-walled shells was not properly considered in the design. This study is focused on buckling of such shells, taking into account geometrical and physical nonlinear behaviour of compressed concrete. Other important reasons of concrete shells collapse are also analysed. The study is based on available experimental and theoretical investigations of ferro-cement shells' models previously performed by the first author. The results of these investigations, obtained for small-scale ferro-cement models of thin-walled shallow RC shells, are discussed. Behaviour of the tested models is compared with that of the above-mentioned real shells and similar structures, which also collapsed. The critical buckling loads for the shells are obtained. It is shown that these loads are lower than the actual ones; thus, the shells buckling was unavoidable. To prevent brittle shell failure, they should be designed using other dominant failure modes that appear before the buckling. Possible failure schemes of real RC shells can be predicted using dominant failure modes obtained by laboratory testing of scaled models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)272-284
Number of pages13
JournalStructural Design of Tall and Special Buildings
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • approximate equations critical load
  • concrete creep
  • ferro-cement models
  • full-scale RC shells
  • large-span RC shells
  • shells buckling

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction


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