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How can we make buildings resistant to earthquakes with earthquake

engineering?

To be earthquake proof, buildings, structures and their foundations need to be


built to be resistant to sideways loads. The lighter the building is, the less the
loads. This is particularly so when the weight is higher up. Where possible the
roof should be of light-weight material. If there are floors and walls and
partitions, the lighter these are the better, too. If the sideways resistance is to
be obtained from walls, these walls must go equally in both directions. They
must be strong enough to take the loads. They must be tied in to any framing,
and reinforced to take load in their weakest direction. They must not fall apart
and must remain in place after the worst shock waves so as to retain strength
for the Aftershocks.

If the building earthquake resistance is to come from moment resisting


frames, then special care should be taken with the foundation-to-first floor
level. If the requirement is to have a taller clear height, and to have open
holes in the walls, then the columns at this level may have to be much
stronger than at higher levels; and the beams at the first floor, and the
columns from ground to second floor, have to be able to resist the turning
loads these columns deliver to the frame.

Nothing can be guaranteed to be fully resistant to any possible earthquake,


but buildings and structures like the ones proposed here by REID steel would
have the best possible chance of survival; and would save many lives and
livelihoods, providing greater safety from an earthquake.

Earthquake-resistant Foundations and Materials

One solution involves tying the foundation to the building so the whole
structure moves as a unit. Another solution -- known as base isolation --
involves floating a building above its foundation on a system of bearings,
springs or padded cylinders. Engineers use a variety of bearing pad designs,
but they often choose lead-rubber bearings, which contain a solid lead core
wrapped in alternating layers of rubber and steel. Ideally, engineers don't
have to rely solely on a structure's inherent ability to dissipate energy. In
increasingly more earthquake-resistant buildings, designers are installing
damping systems. Active mass damping, for example, relies on a heavy mass
mounted to the top of a building and connected to viscous dampers that act
like shock absorbers. When the building begins to oscillate, the mass moves in
the opposite direction, which reduces the amplitude of mechanical vibrations.
It's also possible to use smaller damping devices in a building's brace system.
Even with extensive testing on laboratory shake tables, any seismic
engineering design concept remains a prototype until it experiences an actual
earthquake. Only then can the larger scientific community evaluate its
performance and use what it learns to drive innovation.
The Future of Earthquake-resistant Construction

Deierlein and Hajjar have teamed up to develop an innovative technology


known as the rocking frame, which consists of three basic components --
steel frames, steel cables and steel fuses.

When an earthquake strikes, the steel frames rock up and down to their
heart's content. All of the energy gets directed downward to a fitting that
houses several teeth like fuses. The teeth of the fuses gnash together and may
even fail, but the frame itself remains intact. Once the shaking has stopped,
the steel cables in the frame pull the building back into an upright position.
Workers then inspect the fuses and replace any that are damaged. The result
is a building that can be reoccupied quickly after an earthquake.

Another innovation is something that's been dubbed the Seismic Invisibility


Cloak, suggesting a building could be made transparent to the surface waves
produced by an earthquake. To accomplish this, engineers would bury a series
of up to 100 concentric plastic rings beneath the foundation of a building.
When waves encounter the rings, they enter and then become compressed as
they are forced into a bottleneck. The waves basically zip by, just beneath the
building's foundation, and exit the rings on the other side, where they resume
their original speed and amplitude.