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).
“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
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
New, forward-looking report outlines research path to sustainable cities
24.01.2018 | National Science Foundation
Magnetic liquids improve energy efficiency of buildings
16.01.2018 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...
For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.
In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...
Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...
On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...
The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...
19.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Event News
13.03.2018 | Event News
20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
20.03.2018 | Earth Sciences