Friday, February 23, 2007

Structural failure

Structural failure refers to loss of the load-carrying capacity of a component or member within the structure or of the structure itself. Structural failure is initiated when the material is stressed out to its strength limit, thus causing fracture or extreme deformations. The ultimate failure strength of the material, component or system is its maximum load-bearing capacity. When this limit is reached, damage to the material has been done, and its load-bearing capacity is reduced significantly and fastly. In a well-designed system, a localized failure should not cause instantly or even progressive collapse of the entire structure. Ultimate failure strength is one of the limit states that must be accounted for in civil engineering.

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