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Structural Engineering and Mechanics
  Volume 76, Number 2, October25 2020, pages 193-205

Structural robustness: A revisit
João André

    The growing need for assuring efficient and sustainable investments in civil engineering structures has determined a renovated interest in the rational design of such structures from designers, clients and authorities. As a result, risk-informed decision-making methodologies are increasingly being used as a direct decision tool or as an upper-level layer from which performance-based approaches are then calibrated against. One of the most important and challenging aspects of today's structural design is to adequately handle the system-level effects, the known unknowns and the unknown unknowns. These aspects revolve around assessing and evaluating relevant damage scenarios, namely those involving unacceptable/intolerable damage levels. Hence, the importance of risk analysis of disproportionate collapse, and along with it of robustness. However, the way robustness has been used in modern design codes varies substantially, from simple provisions of prescriptive rules to complex risk analysis of the disproportionate collapse. As a result, implementing design for robustness is still very much a grey area and more so when it comes to defining means to quantify robustness. This paper revisits the most common robustness frameworks, highlighting their merits and limitations, and identifies one among them which is very promising as a way forward to solve the still open challenges.
Key Words
    structural robustness, structural robustness index, design framework, design codes, structural safety
João André/National Laboratory for Civil Engineering

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