Video of the University of California, San Diego, shows the benefits of an isolated structure during an earthquake

Fecha de Publicación: 07/06/2012

As part of the series of tests performed by the Englekirk Structural Engineering Center (UCSD) , which involved the engineering of SIRVE, a video shows the damage in a surgical ward within a building fixed base subjected to an earthquake, while in parallel the camera shows the same flag of the isolated building, but no damage.

Engineers Henry Sady and Andrés Jacobsen participated in the series of seismic tests performed at UCSD (University of California, at San Diego). Both professionals, along with engineer Nelson Mela, were responsible for the design of the seismic base isolation system for the 5-story building that was recently subjected to several earthquakes on the largest shake table in the United States.

In the first part of the video -to 52 seconds- it is clear that the seismic isolation structure behaves as a rigid body, and how the deformations are concentrated on devices (elastomeric isolators manufactured by VULCO).

But the most interesting occurs at the end, when the video shows clearly how strong motions and accelerations that triggers a severe earthquake, they may not damage the structure, but shook it as a shaker destroying nonstructural elements and contents that in cases such as a hospital, are vital (as seen in the surgical ward damage). “In a fixed-base structure or without insulation,” says project engineer of ​​seismic isolation and energy dissipation area of SIRVE, Jaime Molina , “these movements and accelerations are transmitted mainly to the superstructure (structure that is on the floor ), while the filtered seismic isolation structure with lateral forces, makes and distributes decrease in a more homogeneous, which contributes to a lower impact on both structural and nonstructural components (medical beds and medical equipment)”.