Mitigation of Progressive Collapse by the Activation of the Elasto-Plastic Catenary Behaviour of R.C. Slab Structures

Fabrizio Palmisano*
DICATECh, Politecnico di Bari, Via E. Orabona, 4, 70125, Bari, Italy.

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Creative Commons License
© 2014 Fabrizio Palmisano;

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the DICATECh, Politecnico di Bari, Via E. Orabona, 4, 70125, Bari, Italy; Tel: +39-0805963770; Fax: +39-0805417502; E-mail:


Mitigation of progressive collapse was highlighted in 1968 with the collapse of the Ronan Point building in the United Kingdom. Technical standards followed suit with increased requirements and recommendations to encourage the design and construction of more robust buildings. The intent has been to establish a design process that recognizes and considers the potential that buildings could experience abnormal and extreme loads or events that seriously compromise one or more critical load-carrying elements.

This article aims to show that if the main goal of the design is to protect human lives in these extreme conditions, even sacrificing the building functionality, simple measures such as the activation of the elasto-plastic catenary behaviour of the slab reinforcement, could be very effective to increase the building robustness without substantially increasing the cost of a structural system.

Keywords: Catenary action, load path method, progressive collapse, R.C. structures, robustness, slab structures.