Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Engineers Part of Nationwide Effort to Make Buildings Earthquake Safe

26.08.2008
Engineering researchers from UC San Diego and the University of Arizona have concluded three months of rigorous earthquake simulation tests on a half-scale three-story structure, and will now begin sifting through their results so they can be used in the future designs of buildings across the nation.

The structure, which resembled a parking garage, went through a series of earthquake jolts as powerful as magnitude 8.0. The one-million pound precast concrete structure had the largest footprint of any structure ever tested on a shake table in the United States.

The earthquake tests were conducted at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering’s Englekirk Structural Engineering Center, which is about eight miles east of the university’s main campus. The goal of the project was to test the seismic response of precast concrete floor systems used in structures such as parking garages, college dormitories, hotels, stadiums, prisons and office buildings.

“One of the purposes of our research is to develop better designs for precast concrete buildings,” said Jose Restrepo, co principal investigator of the project and a structural engineering professor at UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering. “The results of our research have been tremendous.”

Precast concrete, which is built in pieces and then put together to construct buildings, has been a breakthrough in the industry in terms of saving time, money and increasing durability. While precast concrete has proven to be a robust design material for structures, researchers are working to provide the industry with new methods of connecting these pieces more efficiently.

“This is really important to our industry because we’ll be able to develop structures that can resist nature’s most difficult loads, including earthquakes,” said Tom D’Arcy, spokesman for the Precast/Prestressed Institute and chairman of The Consulting Engineers Group, Inc.

The $2.3 million research project is a collaboration among UC San Diego, the University of Arizona and Lehigh University, and is funded by the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute and its member companies and organizations, the National Science Foundation, the Charles Pankow Foundation and the network for earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES).

During the tests, the researchers simulated earthquakes for different regions of the country, including Berkeley, Calif.; Knoxville, Tenn; and Seattle, Wash.

“We conducted tests from lower seismicity all the way to higher seismicity and shook the building stronger and stronger each time with a higher intensity,” Restrepo said.

The results of the research are expected to be implemented into building codes across the United States within the next few years. The researchers and industry leaders hope that this project and others like it will help prevent the future failure of buildings, much like what happened during the 6.7 magnitude earthquake in Northridge, Calif. in 1994, with the collapse of several precast parking structures.

“Since that time, we have been working to come up with designs that will make these structures survive a Northridge earthquake or stronger,” said Robert Fleischman, principal investigator of the project and a civil engineering professor at the University of Arizona.

Seismic Simulation
Before the testing, the researchers performed computer simulations to help design the three-story structure and to determine where sensors should be placed on it.

The data recorded by the sensors were used to take measurements of certain physical phenomena on the structure such as displacements, strains, and accelerations caused by the shaking; and to estimate forces in the structure.

The data collected will also explain behavior of the structure during and after jolts,and will be used to compare directly to the simulations to either validate or adjust the computer models.

The use of these sensors, along with the computer simulation, may help lower costs of future seismic tests.

“We are only able to perform physical experiments on that one structure, but if we can show that our models capture important response properly, we can run hundreds of earthquake simulations a year for the cost of a graduate student, a fast computer and a software license, which, at around $50,000, is substantially less than the costs of these kinds of tests,” Fleischman said, adding that the researchers hope to have their first formal report on the seismic tests completed by early 2009.

The $9 million Englekirk shake table is one of 15 earthquake testing facilities for NEES. The UCSD-NEES shake table, the largest in the United States and the only outdoor shake table in the world, is ideally suited for testing tall, full-scale buildings.

“The Englekirk Center is very important to the research community and to the industry because it has an outdoor environment where we can perform large scale tests that can’t be done anywhere else in the world,” Restrepo said.

The recent seismic tests are an example of how the Jacobs School is on the forefront of the National Academy of Engineering’s Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21st Century.

Andrea Siedsma | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.soe.ucsd.edu

More articles from Architecture and Construction:

nachricht Building-Integrated Photovoltaics Moves from the Niche to the Mass Market
13.03.2019 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme ISE

nachricht Seeing Through the Stones of Cathedrals
07.03.2019 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

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: Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter

  • Coolest and smallest star to produce a superflare found
  • Star is a tenth of the radius of our Sun
  • Researchers led by University of Warwick could only see...

Im Focus: Quantum simulation more stable than expected

A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.

Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...

Im Focus: Largest, fastest array of microscopic 'traffic cops' for optical communications

The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks

Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...

Im Focus: A long-distance relationship in femtoseconds

Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.

Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...

Im Focus: Researchers 3D print metamaterials with novel optical properties

Engineers create novel optical devices, including a moth eye-inspired omnidirectional microwave antenna

A team of engineers at Tufts University has developed a series of 3D printed metamaterials with unique microwave or optical properties that go beyond what is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

Fraunhofer FHR at the IEEE Radar Conference 2019 in Boston, USA

09.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

New automated biological-sample analysis systems to accelerate disease detection

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

18.04.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

New eDNA technology used to quickly assess coral reefs

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>