Structural engineering PhD Candidate earns ASCE research fellowship

By Peter Murphy

Published November 5, 2019

“Later in my career, I want to apply these concepts and take this retrofit methodology and apply it to buildings that are out there now,” says Sina Basereh, a PhD student in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering.

Resiliency in structures

“We want to develop more resilient buildings now, and then more resilient societies at the end of this. ”
Sina Basereh, PhD Candidate
Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering

Basereh received the O.H. Ammann award from the American Society of Civil Engineers, earlier this month. The award will help fund some of his research on a resilient retrofit methodology for reinforced concrete shear walls.

“When you think of structural engineering, you may think engineers try to design structures as strong as possible,” Basereh says, “in reality, many of us are more focused on the seismic performance of structures and try to make them more resilient. Resiliency is more concentrated on the hazard mitigation with minimized damage, casualties, repair cost, and downtime.”

Basereh’s research focuses primarily on performance assessment and retrofit of reinforced concrete buildings equipped with reinforced concrete shear walls as their primary earthquake load resisting mechanism. This $8,000 fellowship will fund some of the experimental aspects of his project to propose a resilient retrofit methodology for the reinforced concrete shear walls.

Sina Basereh at the SEAS graduate poster competition.

Basereh and his advisor, associate professor Pinar Okumus, have already done some of the analytical work associated with this project. They have developed models to try and understand how to approach the retrofit solution.

“The next phase is the experimental part,” Basereh says, “we are going to build three specimens. One is a reinforced concrete shear wall representative of old reinforced concrete shear walls in U.S. This will be our benchmark.”

This shear wall will reflect designs that were common before 1970. According to Basereh, many of the buildings in California and on the West Coast were built using these codes. This area of the country experiences a high number of earthquakes relative to the rest of the United States.

The other two specimens will apply Basereh’s analytical research, and utilize a few different methods to create more resilient shear walls.

“We are going to use concepts of weakening and self-centering,” Basereh says, we are not going to strengthen the specimens. By weakening the specimen, it may experience more displacement when the earthquake comes, but we want to make sure it returns to its original position after the earthquake.”

Self-centering will help these walls get back to their original positions. Basereh’s research, a resilient retrofit solution for reinforced concrete shear walls, combines weakening and self-centering to develop a more resilient reinforced concrete shear wall that will perform better under seismic pressures.

“We want to develop more resilient buildings now,” Basereh says, “and then more resilient societies at the end of this.”

This material based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1663063. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.