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 "These buildings were built and designed years ago according to building codes that have since become outdated," says Moaveni.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 New “Cool Roof Time Machine” Will Accelerate Cool Roof Deployment
20.04.2015 | Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

nachricht Robot inspects concrete garage floors and bridge roadways for damage
19.03.2015 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Zerstörungsfreie Prüfverfahren IZFP

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: On the trail of a trace gas

Max Planck researcher Buhalqem Mamtimin determines how much nitrogen oxide is released into the atmosphere from agriculturally used oases.

In order to make statements about current and future air pollution, scientists use models which simulate the Earth’s atmosphere. A lot of information such as...

Im Focus: Advances in Molecular Electronics: Lights On – Molecule On

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) and the University of Konstanz are working on storing and processing information on the level of single molecules to create the smallest possible components that will combine autonomously to form a circuit. As recently reported in the academic journal Advanced Science, the researchers can switch on the current flow through a single molecule for the first time with the help of light.

Dr. Artur Erbe, physicist at the HZDR, is convinced that in the future molecular electronics will open the door for novel and increasingly smaller – while also...

Im Focus: Pruning of Blood Vessels: Cells Can Fuse With Themselves

Cells of the vascular system of vertebrates can fuse with themselves. This process, which occurs when a blood vessel is no longer necessary and pruned, has now been described on the cellular level by Prof. Markus Affolter from the Biozentrum of the University of Basel. The findings of this study have been published in the journal “PLoS Biology”.

The vascular system is the supply network of the human organism and delivers oxygen and nutrients to the last corners of the body. So far, research on the...

Im Focus: Astronomers reveal supermassive black hole's intense magnetic field

Astronomers from Chalmers University of Technology have used the giant telescope Alma to reveal an extremely powerful magnetic field very close to a supermassive black hole in a distant galaxy

Astronomers from Chalmers University of Technology have used the giant telescope Alma to reveal an extremely powerful magnetic field very close to a...

Im Focus: A “pin ball machine” for atoms and photons

A team of physicists from MPQ, Caltech, and ICFO proposes the combination of nano-photonics with ultracold atoms for simulating quantum many-body systems and creating new states of matter.

Ultracold atoms in the so-called optical lattices, that are generated by crosswise superposition of laser beams, have been proven to be one of the most...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

HHL's Entrepreneurship Conference on FinTech

13.04.2015 | Event News

World Conference On Regenerative Medicine 2015: Registration And Abstract Submission Now Open

25.03.2015 | Event News

University presidents from all over the world meet in Hamburg

19.03.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Better battery imaging paves way for renewable energy future

21.04.2015 | Materials Sciences

Extending climate predictability beyond El Niño

21.04.2015 | Earth Sciences

Risk Perception: Social Exchange Can Amplify Subjective Fears

21.04.2015 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>