It Is one thing to simulate an earthquake on a model structure inside a laboratory. It is another to rattle a standing California building with 50 tons of force. A team led by University at Buffalo (N.Y.) researcher Andreas Stavridis received the rare opportunity to test an earthquake-damaged building in El Centro, and bring it to the brink of collapse.
"People will not let you test and damage real buildings," says Stavridis, assistant professor in the Department of Civil, Structural, and Environmental Engineering. "It's extremely rare to be able to put sensors and shakers in buildings that have been damaged and get the data we collected."
The researchers will use data from the tests to understand better how damaged buildings respond to vibrations and improve tools employed by engineers to simulate their seismic performance. The data also will be used to improve damage identification techniques and help develop a damage index for identifying the state of structures before and after extreme loading events.
The researchers layered a century-old former warehouse with cameras, more than 100 sensors, and a shaker borrowed from the University...