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 "These buildings were built and designed years ago according to building codes that have since become outdated," says Moaveni.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
Alex Reid | Newswise Science News
New “Cool Roof Time Machine” Will Accelerate Cool Roof Deployment
20.04.2015 | Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Robot inspects concrete garage floors and bridge roadways for damage
19.03.2015 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Zerstörungsfreie Prüfverfahren IZFP
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
13.04.2015 | Event News
25.03.2015 | Event News
19.03.2015 | Event News
21.04.2015 | Materials Sciences
21.04.2015 | Earth Sciences
21.04.2015 | Studies and Analyses