Case study of the Beirut port explosion using 3D laser scan and nonlinear finite element model
Sahar Ismail1, Wassim Raphael1, Emmanuel Durand2
1Department of Civil Engineering, the Higher School of Engineering ESIB, Saint Joseph University of Beirut, Lebanon
2Amann Engineering, Geneva, Switzerland
Concrete damage plasticity;
Finite element analysis
Analysis of the structural failure of the Beirut port silos by the August 4, 2020 explosion is presented in this paper. The structural response of the silos due to the blast loading imposed by the explosion was assessed using 3D laser scan. Then, the silos were modeled using three-dimensional finite element models using Abaqus explicit. The silos’ damage and failure were investigated to estimate the blast magnitude and to check the silos structural response against the silos’ concrete strength and additional reinforcement and concrete coating added to the silos in 2000. In addition to the effects of reinforcing the ribs between the silos as well as the soil and foundation. Therefore, these parameters were tested after estimating the blast magnitude to check the structural status of the remaining part of the Beirut port silos (if they can be reusable), the role played by the foundation and soil and if the silos’ response would have changed if certain parameters were taken differently in the design. In this article, the damage and silos’ displacement obtained from the numerical models were compared to the results obtained by the 3D laser scan. The results of this investigated article show that a blast magnitude of 337.5 tons TNT (938 tons of Ammonium Nitrate) best captures the silos’ displacement and damage amount. The silos exhibit a tilt between 20 and 30 cm in the direction of the blast. The numerical results indicate that constructing the silos with higher compressive strength would not have affected the silos’ damage. Nevertheless, adding the extra concrete coating and reinforcement layer in 2000 to the outer silos decreased the amount of damage in the silos. Moreover, reinforcing the ribs between the silos would have decreased the silos displacement and damage amount. Finally, the soil and the foundation played a positive role in the explosion by absorbing part of the released energy while the silos, in the current state, cannot be reused.
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