Researchers Simulate Stubbs Tower Implosion

From the NC State simulation.
From the NC State simulation.

From North Carolina State University:

SAVANNAH, Ga. The old Stubbs Tower won't fall down until Saturday, but North Carolina State University engineers think they already know where the debris will land.

A computer simulation developed by an NC State graduate student shows the building collapsing from the center, with the two ends falling into each other. Researchers used new software to produce the video and will document Saturday's implosion to see if it matches up.

They hope their work will help other engineers design safer buildings and test existing structures for weaknesses.

"Structural collapse is a major issue being addressed nationally by NC State, other universities, and government agencies due to such tragic events as the bombing of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City, the attacks on the World Trade Center and the recent failure of the I-35 bridge in Minnesota," said Dr. Emmett Sumner, an assistant professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering at NC State. "This study will become an integral part of that research."

The research was conducted by Sumner and Joshua Griffin, a structural engineering graduate student. The software, Extreme Loading for Structures, was developed by Raleigh-based Applied Science International.

The 15-story tower had been an apartment complex for seniors. But a water main burst near the top of the building in 2004, flooding the entire complex and forcing residents outside. Today, the building stands vacant.

Researchers have already shown the video to city officials who are preparing for the implosion. The building is scheduled to go down at 8 a.m.

"Each demolition studied using this software increases our understanding of the event, which, in turn, leads to the longer term objectives of improving the design and safety of new structures," Sumner said.

Collaborating on the project with NC State and Applied Science International were demolition contractor D.H. Griffin Wrecking Co, Inc. of Greensboro, N.C., and explosives contractor Demolition Dynamics Company of Franklin, Tenn.