how do people who plan tall buildings know in advance that they have a good design that will survive an earthquake or high winds?

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how do people who plan tall buildings know in advance that they have a good design that will survive an earthquake or high winds?

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2 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

In the past? They didn’t necessarily know. They would do their best and attempt to account for forces, but the earliest skyscrapers were just that, *early,* we didn’t know as much as we know now.

Before the powerful computers we have today, but after we’d learned more about this stuff, you could actually build scale models and subject them to various stresses (e.g. an earthquake simulation or a wind tunnel) to determine the kinds of design you’d need in order to make a safe building.

These days, they would use computer models and simulations of the design under various conditions to predict what might happen. We have a pretty good idea how wind and earthquakes work, and a building is actually *relatively* simple compared to some other kinds of things we could simulate. Of course, simulations aren’t perfect and sometimes we still make mistakes, e.g. London’s Millennium Bridge infamously had issues with resonance when it was first constructed.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Tried and true designs, on top of going to school for years for engineering specifically. Back then we didn’t really know but could build scale models and subject them to scaled forces, it was kind of a luck of the draw. Plus, we built smaller buildings first, technology just advances with age and we slowly figured out how to make them taller and taller, using similar building techniques and tweaking them to try and get that last bit of height.

Nowadays we have super advanced computer simulations that can basically predict just about everything and how a structure will hold up in just about every weather scenario. Heck, you can get video games where you can build stuff and it can process physics and forces better than the computers from a couple decades ago.