Buildings that include weak points on purpose withstand more damage

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In a real-world test, part of this building collapsed while the rest remained standing

Jose M. Adam

Intentionally engineering structural weaknesses into a building can prevent catastrophic collapse. This counterintuitive strategy successfully limited damage to a two-storey concrete building in its first real-world experiment.

The innovation was inspired in part by the way lizards will sacrifice their tails to escape the clutches or jaws of predators. In this case, segments of the building’s connective structure are designed to break when stressed beyond a certain point instead of pulling down the rest of the structure.…

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