Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Engineers Part of Nationwide Effort to Make Buildings Earthquake Safe

26.08.2008
Engineering researchers from UC San Diego and the University of Arizona have concluded three months of rigorous earthquake simulation tests on a half-scale three-story structure, and will now begin sifting through their results so they can be used in the future designs of buildings across the nation.

The structure, which resembled a parking garage, went through a series of earthquake jolts as powerful as magnitude 8.0. The one-million pound precast concrete structure had the largest footprint of any structure ever tested on a shake table in the United States.

The earthquake tests were conducted at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering’s Englekirk Structural Engineering Center, which is about eight miles east of the university’s main campus. The goal of the project was to test the seismic response of precast concrete floor systems used in structures such as parking garages, college dormitories, hotels, stadiums, prisons and office buildings.

“One of the purposes of our research is to develop better designs for precast concrete buildings,” said Jose Restrepo, co principal investigator of the project and a structural engineering professor at UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering. “The results of our research have been tremendous.”

Precast concrete, which is built in pieces and then put together to construct buildings, has been a breakthrough in the industry in terms of saving time, money and increasing durability. While precast concrete has proven to be a robust design material for structures, researchers are working to provide the industry with new methods of connecting these pieces more efficiently.

“This is really important to our industry because we’ll be able to develop structures that can resist nature’s most difficult loads, including earthquakes,” said Tom D’Arcy, spokesman for the Precast/Prestressed Institute and chairman of The Consulting Engineers Group, Inc.

The $2.3 million research project is a collaboration among UC San Diego, the University of Arizona and Lehigh University, and is funded by the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute and its member companies and organizations, the National Science Foundation, the Charles Pankow Foundation and the network for earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES).

During the tests, the researchers simulated earthquakes for different regions of the country, including Berkeley, Calif.; Knoxville, Tenn; and Seattle, Wash.

“We conducted tests from lower seismicity all the way to higher seismicity and shook the building stronger and stronger each time with a higher intensity,” Restrepo said.

The results of the research are expected to be implemented into building codes across the United States within the next few years. The researchers and industry leaders hope that this project and others like it will help prevent the future failure of buildings, much like what happened during the 6.7 magnitude earthquake in Northridge, Calif. in 1994, with the collapse of several precast parking structures.

“Since that time, we have been working to come up with designs that will make these structures survive a Northridge earthquake or stronger,” said Robert Fleischman, principal investigator of the project and a civil engineering professor at the University of Arizona.

Seismic Simulation
Before the testing, the researchers performed computer simulations to help design the three-story structure and to determine where sensors should be placed on it.

The data recorded by the sensors were used to take measurements of certain physical phenomena on the structure such as displacements, strains, and accelerations caused by the shaking; and to estimate forces in the structure.

The data collected will also explain behavior of the structure during and after jolts,and will be used to compare directly to the simulations to either validate or adjust the computer models.

The use of these sensors, along with the computer simulation, may help lower costs of future seismic tests.

“We are only able to perform physical experiments on that one structure, but if we can show that our models capture important response properly, we can run hundreds of earthquake simulations a year for the cost of a graduate student, a fast computer and a software license, which, at around $50,000, is substantially less than the costs of these kinds of tests,” Fleischman said, adding that the researchers hope to have their first formal report on the seismic tests completed by early 2009.

The $9 million Englekirk shake table is one of 15 earthquake testing facilities for NEES. The UCSD-NEES shake table, the largest in the United States and the only outdoor shake table in the world, is ideally suited for testing tall, full-scale buildings.

“The Englekirk Center is very important to the research community and to the industry because it has an outdoor environment where we can perform large scale tests that can’t be done anywhere else in the world,” Restrepo said.

The recent seismic tests are an example of how the Jacobs School is on the forefront of the National Academy of Engineering’s Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21st Century.

Andrea Siedsma | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.soe.ucsd.edu

More articles from Architecture and Construction:

nachricht Modular storage tank for tight spaces
16.03.2017 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH

nachricht Smart homes will “LISTEN” to your voice
17.01.2017 | EML European Media Laboratory GmbH

All articles from Architecture and Construction >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>