CSEE researchers' shake test may lead to safer concrete buildings

Researchers Lead Shake Test on Warehouse in Utica, N.Y., to Investigate How Old Concrete Structures Behave Under Lateral Loads

Published March 5, 2014

The 10-story reinforced concrete building in Utica was subjected to dynamic excitations to study the behavior of archaic concrete structures under lateral loads.

A research team led by Andreas Stavridis, professor in UB’s Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, recently subjected an existing 10-story concrete warehouse in Utica, N.Y., to a series of shake tests in order to study the behavior of archaic concrete structures under lateral loads. The research team was able to induce gradual damage to the infill walls of the building, which simulated the damage buildings may experience due to extreme events such as earthquakes.

The tests, which took place in January and February 2014, were part of a study funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the NSF George E. Brown Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES). The research team includes investigators from Tufts University, UCLA, and UB, which is the lead institution. The team from UB includes Stavridis and Sina Youssefian, a CSEE doctoral student. The tests were performed in collaboration with the Utica regional office of NYSDOT, which is directed by Mr. Andrew Roberts. Mr. Roberts is the father of Jordan, who is a senior student in the CSEE department.

The data obtained from the tests will be used to validate tools under development that aim to model the behavior of concrete structures under lateral loads and identify the location and severity of structural damage.

During the tests, the response of the building to dynamic loads was recorded. The dynamic excitation was induced by the mobile shaker owned and operated by NEES@UCLA. Prior to the tests, an array of 70 sensors measuring acceleration, displacement, and temperature were deployed in all stories of the building. The sensors recorded the accelerations and displacements caused by the shakers, as well as the ambient vibrations due to nearby traffic at four distinct damage states.