Our client is an international oil and gas company and was reviewing the safety of buildings at a refinery site in Europe in the event of an accidental explosion. They asked our Advanced Technology & Research Centre to investigate whether the seven buildings could withstand a blast wave without collapsing. 

Efficient methods chosen to match building structures

The buildings ranged from simple steel-framed warehouses to concrete office blocks with shear walls. We used three different methods of analysis depending on the building type. For the simple steel-framed buildings, a single degree of freedom analysis was applied to the roof which was simulated as a mass spring system. 

Linear time history calculations were used for more solid structures, such as a large workshop with concrete columns and steel trusses. The most sensitive and detailed method - non-linear time history simulations - was used for the multi-storey office buildings. This method takes into account geometric and material non-linearities, making it possible to explore damage sustained throughout the blast.

“By applying an appropriate level of analysis depending on the building structure, we add value for our client because it is more efficient,” said Peter Flink, Structural Engineer, Advanced Technology & Research.

Equally, the analysis we used for the office buildings proves a higher capacity compared to less sensitive methods. This is a real benefit because for these buildings, we were able to show that no major renovations were required and could make recommendations for minor strengthening measures.

Peter Flink

Structural Engineer, Advanced Technology & Research

Project facts

  • Client
    An international oil and gas company
  • Wastewater
    Investigate whether seven buildings on a refinery site could withstand a blast wave without collapsing
  • Project type
    Used three different methods of analysis depending on the building type to investigate the structure of the buildings

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