Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Simulated Earthquake to Test Building's Durability

24.10.2012
The two-story building on West Commercial Avenue in El Centro, CA was built in the 1920s and has withstood four major earthquakes in 1940, 1979, 1987, and 2010 but it may not be standing for long.

That's because a research team that includes Babak Moaveni, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Tufts University School of Engineering, plans to shake and rumble the structure until it's on the verge of collapsing into a heap of debris and dust.

Moaveni is collaborating with Andreas Stavridis, assistant professor of civil engineering at the University of Texas-Arlington, on a National Science Foundation-funded study to assess how buildings made with reinforced concrete frames and masonry infill walls hold up during an earthquake. The data will also be used to refine existing analytical models and techniques that engineers use when evaluating seismic safety of similarly constructed buildings. The research team also includes engineers from the University of California, at Los Angeles (UCLA).

Thousands of such buildings exist in earthquake-prone places like Los Angeles, San Francisco, the Mediterranean and Latin America, and they are vulnerable to serious damage. "These buildings were built and designed years ago according to building codes that have since become outdated," says Moaveni.

Using an "Eccentric-Mass" Shaker to Rattle a Building

Typically, after an earthquake, owners of a building like the one on West Commercial Avenue would have the structure repaired and maybe retrofitted so that it could endure the next quake. But damage from the 2010 earthquake was so severe that repair was not worth the cost. Owners and the city officials decided to have it demolished.

That’s when Moaveni and Stavridis came forward. In the first phase of the project, the engineers will record the building's existing condition. Then, the team will install a spinning device called an eccentric-mass shaker on the building's roof. This device will induce further damage by simulating the pulsing and vibration of an earthquake rattling the structure from the top down. This has not been done before with an entire structure with that degree of damage. "We are glad that the building owners realized that the building’s misfortune has presented a unique research opportunity for us," Stavridis explains.

The researchers will install cameras at critical locations of the structures to observe damage as the test progresses. At specific intervals, they will also halt the shaker to assess and document structural damage, through visual inspection. Computers will also record data from sensors inside the building. With the initial measurements as a baseline, the researchers will evaluate and quantify progressive damage sustained by the building as it is shaken apart.

Field testing of full-scale structures using mechanical shakers plays an important role in this type of seismic research. In previous experiments, researchers have experimented on wall portions or sections of buildings using low-to-moderate levels of vibrations. "This is a very challenging project but a great research opportunity because we are working with an entire existing building," says Moaveni.

In their project, Moaveni and Stavridis plan to exert large-amplitude forces on the building. "We don't know if we will shake the building until it collapses," Moaveni says. "But, at a minimum, we will shake it until it is on the verge of collapse."

About Tufts School of Engineering
Located on Tufts' Medford/Somerville campus, the School of Engineering offers a rigorous engineering education in a unique environment that blends the intellectual and technological resources of a world-class research university with the strengths of a top-ranked liberal arts college. Close partnerships with Tufts' excellent undergraduate, graduate and professional schools, coupled with a long tradition of collaboration, provide a strong platform for interdisciplinary education and scholarship. The School of Engineering’s mission is to educate engineers committed to the innovative and ethical application of science and technology in addressing the most pressing societal needs, to develop and nurture twenty-first century leadership qualities in its students, faculty, and alumni, and to create and disseminate transformational new knowledge and technologies that further the well-being and sustainability of society in such cross-cutting areas as human health, environmental sustainability, alternative energy, and the human-technology interface.

Alex Reid | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.tufts.edu

More articles from Architecture and Construction:

nachricht Innovative local heating solution in Ludwigsburg
21.05.2015 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH

nachricht Heating residential buildings with thermal heat pumps
20.05.2015 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur 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: IoT-based Advanced Automobile Parking Navigation System

Development and implementation of an advanced automobile parking navigation platform for parking services

To fulfill the requirements of the industry, PolyU researchers developed the Advanced Automobile Parking Navigation Platform, which includes smart devices,...

Im Focus: First electrical car ferry in the world in operation in Norway now

  • Siemens delivers electric propulsion system and charging stations with lithium-ion batteries charged from hydro power
  • Ferry only uses 150 kilowatt hours (kWh) per route and reduces cost of fuel by 60 percent
  • Milestone on the road to operating emission-free ferries

The world's first electrical car and passenger ferry powered by batteries has entered service in Norway. The ferry only uses 150 kWh per route, which...

Im Focus: Into the ice – RV Polarstern opens the arctic season by setting course for Spitsbergen

On Tuesday, 19 May 2015 the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its home port in Bremerhaven, setting a course for the Arctic. Led by Dr Ilka Peeken from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) a team of 53 researchers from 11 countries will investigate the effects of climate change in the Arctic, from the surface ice floes down to the seafloor.

RV Polarstern will enter the sea-ice zone north of Spitsbergen. Covering two shallow regions on their way to deeper waters, the scientists on board will focus...

Im Focus: Gel filled with nanosponges cleans up MRSA infections

Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego developed a gel filled with toxin-absorbing nanosponges that could lead to an effective treatment for skin and wound infections caused by MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), an antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This "nanosponge-hydrogel" minimized the growth of skin lesions on mice infected with MRSA - without the use of antibiotics. The researchers recently published their findings online in Advanced Materials.

To make the nanosponge-hydrogel, the team mixed nanosponges, which are nanoparticles that absorb dangerous toxins produced by MRSA, E. coli and other...

Im Focus: ORNL demonstrates first large-scale graphene fabrication

One of the barriers to using graphene at a commercial scale could be overcome using a method demonstrated by researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Graphene, a material stronger and stiffer than carbon fiber, has enormous commercial potential but has been impractical to employ on a large scale, with...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International symposium: trends in spatial analysis and modelling for a more sustainable land use

20.05.2015 | Event News

15th conference of the International Association of Colloid and Interface Scientists

18.05.2015 | Event News

EHFG 2015: Securing health in Europe. Balancing priorities, sharing responsibilities

12.05.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

A non-invasive tool for diagnosing cancer*

21.05.2015 | Medical Engineering

Gamma ray camera may help with Fukushima decontamination*

21.05.2015 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Laser technology advances microchip production*

21.05.2015 | Process Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>