To prepare the building for implosion, certain structural elements have to be altered to facilitate the controlled implosion, including the elevator shafts and stairwells, which had select portion removed. Interior, nonstructural walls and windows were removed.
Dr. Richard Wood, an assistant professor of civil engineering who is measuring changes to the dynamic behavior of the structures during this process, has already noticed a substantial difference.
“Just from the preparation, we have observed nearly a 25 percent increase in the flexibility of the structure,” said Wood.
Charges will be set in the columns on several floors of the building. Chain-link fencing and fabric cover window openings at these floors to contain any debris caused by column detonation.
“The implosion takes longer than you think, about two minutes,” said Dr. Daniel Linzell, Voelte-Keegan professor and chair of the Department of Civil Engineering. “Charges are set so that the buildings will tilt towards the area where the dining hall between the buildings used to be.”
Sensors placed in the building by Wood and Linzell will capture information about the demolition event.
“We have 32 sensors in the buildings, and each one should capture about 200 megabytes of vibration data per minute before they are destroyed,” said Wood. “We will use that data to define how these types of structures react to a redistribution of their load during the collapse sequence.”
The implosion is a rare opportunity for a public institution.
“Engineering is not only about building things,” said Linzell. “We can learn a lot from how a building comes down during a controlled demolition. The implosion is important for the data it provides us as well as its role in the university’s overall plans.”
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