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Model Software Used in Earthquake Study

Thursday, April 30, 2020

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A researcher from Concordia University was recently reported to be exploring options for resilient and sustainable reinforced masonry structural systems in relation to earthquake safety.

Specifically, the research focuses on the structural performance of various masonry components and systems similar to reinforced concrete.

About the Research

Headed by Nader Aly, a PhD candidate in the Department of Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering at Concordia’s Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science, the research aims to improve the safety of buildings in seismically active regions throughout Canada.

Concordia University

A researcher from Concordia University was recently reported to be exploring options for resilient and sustainable reinforced masonry structural systems in relation to earthquake safety.

In reporting on his own work, last year Aly showcased a portion of his research findings at the annual conference of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering in Laval, Quebec. There, Aly presented testing results of two large-scale reinforced masonry shear walls, which were constructed and tested in the structures laboratory at Concordia—part of the Centre for Structural Safety and Resilience (CSSR).

According to an interview with Aly, the main challenges of his research included the absence of masonry-specific modelling tools, sizing test specimens, testing large-scale specimens under simulated earthquake actions and limited previous studies in relation to testing masonry components and systems.

However, Aly states that his biggest concern was always ensuring the practicality and applicability of the research findings and adds that he could not have completed the work without the support of his supervisor, Khaled Galal.

To complete testing, Aly used a testing rig which comprised of a strong floor, transfer footing, wall footing, multiple out-of-plane supports, a horizontal and vertical actuator, loading beam, reaction frame and most importantly, the desired testing wall.

Through a combination of using advanced modelling software and the physical rig, Aly aims to find material solutions that would contribute to the safety and well-being of people and society.

“These structural systems will offer higher resistance to extreme loading, such as earthquakes," said Aly. "Therefore, buildings designed with these systems will offer a more resilient option for developers and a safer option for occupants."

Aly's research is supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, l’Association des entrepreneurs en maçonnerie du Québec (AEMQ), the Canadian Concrete Masonry Producers Association (CCMPA) and the Canadian Masonry Design Centre.

Other Earthquake-Related Research

Last spring, researchers from the National Center for Research on Earthquake Engineering (Taipei, Taiwan) reported that they had successfully developed a new type of reinforced concrete, specialized for high-rise buildings.

According to reports, the composite-reinforced concrete was said to be 2.4 times stronger than its predecessor and could allow for the potentially doubling of height in new residential buildings.

In September, the $1.9 billion Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas revealed its tactics put in place to protect the structure from earthquakes. In building with earthquake-friendly columns and bearings that attach to the roof of the main concourse, the structure will be able to move not just because of its thermal expansion and contraction, but in the event of an earthquake as well.

The columns and bearings have about a 3-inch give side to side, 4 inches vertically and 1 inch front to back. In addition, they have been labeled with “QC” and “QA” for both quality control and assurance officials to check the work.

The following month, researchers from the Berkeley Lab and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory used high-performance computing systems to better predict how structures will respond to an earthquake.

The study was led by principal David McCallen and used systems to model a 7.0-magnitude earthquake along San Francisco’s Hayward Fault for different rupture scenarios. At the time, Berkeley said that the focus of the project was prepping for emerging Department of Energy exascale computing systems that were expected to be available by 2022 or 2023.

The systems are slated to be capable 50 times more scientific throughput than current High-Performance Computing systems, which allow for higher fidelity simulations and quicker scenario modeling.


Tagged categories: Building design software; Colleges and Universities; concrete; Design - Commercial; Disasters; Good Technical Practice; Health and safety; NA; North America; Research; Research and development; Residential; Safety

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