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 Predicting unpredictability: Information theory offers new way to read ice cores
07.12.2016 | Santa Fe Institute

nachricht Sea ice hit record lows in November
07.12.2016 | University of Colorado at Boulder

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>