Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Video: Can a Stack of Computer Servers Survive an Earthquake?

04.09.2014

Tests at the University at Buffalo show local seismic isolation and damping methods can protect sensitive electronic equipment

How do you prevent an earthquake from destroying expensive computer systems?


Credit: Cory Nealon, University at Buffalo

The rack of servers shook, but did not fall, during a simulation that mimicked 80 percent of the force of 1994's Northridge earthquake.

That’s the question earthquake engineer Claudia Marin-Artieda, PhD, associate professor of civil engineering at Howard University, aims to answer through a series of experiments conducted at the University at Buffalo.

“The loss of functionality of essential equipment and components can have a disastrous impact. We can limit these sorts of equipment losses by improving their seismic performance,” Marin-Artieda said.

• Here is a video showing one of the tests, which mimics 80 percent of the force of 1994's Northridge earthquake: http://bit.ly/1lyO1aZ.

In buildings such as data centers, power plants and hospitals, it could be catastrophic to have highly-sensitive equipment swinging, rocking, falling and generally bashing into things.

In high-seismic regions, new facilities often are engineered with passive protective systems that provide overall seismic protection. But often, existing facilities are conventional fixed-base buildings in which seismic demands on sensitive equipment located within are significantly amplified. In such buildings, sensitive equipment needs to be secured from these damaging earthquake effects, Marin-Artieda said.

The stiffer the building, the greater the magnification of seismic effects, she added.

“It is like when you are riding a rollercoaster,” she said. “If your body is relaxed, you don’t feel strong inertial effects. But if you hold your body rigid, you’ll feel the inertial effects much more, and you’ll get knocked about in the car.”

The experiments were conducted this month at the University at Buffalo’s Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES), a shared network of laboratories based at Purdue University.

Marin-Artieda and her team used different devices for supporting 40 computer servers donated by Yahoo Labs. The researchers attached the servers to a frame in multiple configurations on seismically isolated platforms. They then subjected the frame to a variety of three-directional ground motions with the servers in partial operation to monitor how they react to an earthquake simulation.

Preliminary work confirmed, among other things, that globally and locally installed seismic isolation and damping systems can significantly reduce damage to computer systems and other electronic equipment.

Base isolation is a technique that sets objects atop an energy-absorbing base; damping employs energy-absorbing devices within the object to be protected from an earthquake’s damaging effects.

Marin-Artieda plans to expand the research by developing a framework for analysis, design and implementation of the protective measures.

The research is funded by the National Science Foundation. In addition to Yahoo Labs, industry partners include Seismic Foundation Control Inc., The VMC Group, Minus K Technology Inc., Base Isolation of Alaska, and Roush Industries Inc. All provided in-kind materials for the experiments.

Contact:

Marti LaChance, lachance@purdue.edu
Purdue University
765-496-3014

Cory Nealon, cmnealon@buffalo.edu
University at Buffalo
716-645-4614

Cory Nealon | newswise

Further reports about: Buffalo Earthquake Video conventional earthquake effects materials protective

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht NASA sees development of Tropical Storm 11P in Southwestern Pacific
11.02.2016 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Southwest sliding into a drier climate
11.02.2016 | National Center for Atmospheric Research/University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Production of an AIDS vaccine in algae

Today, plants and microorganisms are heavily used for the production of medicinal products. The production of biopharmaceuticals in plants, also referred to as “Molecular Pharming”, represents a continuously growing field of plant biotechnology. Preferred host organisms include yeast and crop plants, such as maize and potato – plants with high demands. With the help of a special algal strain, the research team of Prof. Ralph Bock at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam strives to develop a more efficient and resource-saving system for the production of medicines and vaccines. They tested its practicality by synthesizing a component of a potential AIDS vaccine.

The use of plants and microorganisms to produce pharmaceuticals is nothing new. In 1982, bacteria were genetically modified to produce human insulin, a drug...

Im Focus: The most accurate optical single-ion clock worldwide

Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock which attains an accuracy which had only been predicted theoretically so far. Their optical ytterbium clock achieved a relative systematic measurement uncertainty of 3 E-18. The results have been published in the current issue of the scientific journal "Physical Review Letters".

Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock...

Im Focus: Goodbye ground control: autonomous nanosatellites

The University of Würzburg has two new space projects in the pipeline which are concerned with the observation of planets and autonomous fault correction aboard satellites. The German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy funds the projects with around 1.6 million euros.

Detecting tornadoes that sweep across Mars. Discovering meteors that fall to Earth. Investigating strange lightning that flashes from Earth's atmosphere into...

Im Focus: Flow phenomena on solid surfaces: Physicists highlight key role played by boundary layer velocity

Physicists from Saarland University and the ESPCI in Paris have shown how liquids on solid surfaces can be made to slide over the surface a bit like a bobsleigh on ice. The key is to apply a coating at the boundary between the liquid and the surface that induces the liquid to slip. This results in an increase in the average flow velocity of the liquid and its throughput. This was demonstrated by studying the behaviour of droplets on surfaces with different coatings as they evolved into the equilibrium state. The results could prove useful in optimizing industrial processes, such as the extrusion of plastics.

The study has been published in the respected academic journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America).

Im Focus: New study: How stable is the West Antarctic Ice Sheet?

Exceeding critical temperature limits in the Southern Ocean may cause the collapse of ice sheets and a sharp rise in sea levels

A future warming of the Southern Ocean caused by rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere may severely disrupt the stability of the West...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Travel grants available: Meet the world’s most proficient mathematicians and computer scientists

09.02.2016 | Event News

AKL’16: Experience Laser Technology Live in Europe´s Largest Laser Application Center!

02.02.2016 | Event News

From intelligent knee braces to anti-theft backpacks

26.01.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

New method opens crystal clear views of biomolecules

11.02.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists take nanoparticle snapshots

11.02.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA sees development of Tropical Storm 11P in Southwestern Pacific

11.02.2016 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>