Monday, 3 July 2017

Russian Readers and LPS buildings.

In this past week, this blog has had more readers from Russia than from the United States or the United Kingdom. This is the first time this has happened in the history of the blog. It may be because the post on Grenfell Tower mentions the Large Panel System for large buildings. The former Soviet Union built a lot of these, many under twelve stories high so that they are not officially "high rise" but are still capable of the same kind of cascade failure as Ronan Point, at least in columns if not all the way across.

In some of the new provincial cities built in the USSR to house strategic industries or research facilities, great tenement blocks were built: not as high as Grenfell Tower or Ronan Point, but often hundreds of metres long. Cascade failures in these will lead to a collapse going from ground to roof, but probably not proceeding along the building like falling dominoes. This will still suffice to kill dozens of people, though, and it may have been what Chechen terrorists were seeking a few years ago, when there was a spate of rucksack bombs being placed in the entrance foyers of tenement buildings. 

In the smaller LPS tenements, three to six stories high and like a Czarist era Mansion in size, of which there are many in Moscow if not elsewhere, a rucksack bomb in the foyer would probably destroy the whole building. In a concrete cell or steel-framed structure the same size, such a bomb would basically just destroy the foyer and cause blast casualties in adjoining rooms.

 Chechen terrorists probably had an expert knowledge of the weaknesses of various standard Soviet era buildings, from the fighting that went on in Grozny, and they chose to exploit the weakest point in the weakest type of building.

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