5 Characteristics of Earthquake Resistant Structures
Although the smallest earthquakes are not usually felt by humans, the stronger ones can cause immense damage, destroying the biggest cities and taking many lives. But the good news is that with modern technology, we can reduce the damage that these natural calamities leave.
Technology has made it possible to build houses and towering structures that are resistant to the strong forces of nature. Today, we have earthquake resistant building materials that can withstand tremendous impact and strong forces of nature. We can also come with a building design plan that can significantly reduce the impact of earthquakes to structures.
Now, aside from the materials used, what makes these structures durable and stable during natural calamities like earthquakes? Let's take a look at 5 characteristics of an earthquake resistant structure design below:
1. Symmetrical Structure
The more symmetrical the design of the building, the better. Structures that are assymmetrically designed are often subject to substantial torsional forces during natural calamities like earthquakes, making them dangerous.
In contrast, rectangular building designs tend to endure more during seismic events than designs with protruding parts.
2. Stable Foundation
A stable foundation is also important in designing an earthquake resistant structure.
When it comes to building a foundation, the type of soil where the structure is built on is classified as either firm or weak. Weak soil has to be avoided if possible, though modern methods already exist, making it possible to provide additional strengthening to the foundation if needed.
In general, a weak soil is too dangerous to build on. So, it has to be avoided entirely.
Ductility refers to the characteristic of a structure or a material to yield and deform, absorb energy, and dampen vibration.
Materials like wrought iron and steel are considered ductile. They are more ideal for use in the construction of earthquake resistant buildings. Cast iron, adobe, and concrete are considered non-ductile. Because they may break when subjected to stress, they are rarely used in earthquake-proof structures.
The ability of a structure to withstand significant damage without collapsing is called damageability.
To improve the damageability score of an earthquake resistant design, the structural framework system of the structure should be designed to support lateral resistance. It could include the use of diagonal bracing or rigid jointed beams. In the event when some components fail during an earthquake, diagonal braces or beams can provide the additional support needed to hold everything in place; thus preventing a collapse.
5. Base Isolation
A new approach to designing earthquake resistant properties is called Base Isolation. This approach focuses on reducing the vibrations in a certain structure by isolating the structure itself from the ground motions.
Base isolation can be accomplished by reducing the friction between the foundation and the structure itself. One method to make this happen is by using special bearings.
By installing special bearings in a structure, its sideways movements during a seismic activity occurs mostly in the bearings. As a result, the structure won't suffer the effects.
Another method to use is by using two layers of high-quality and durable plastic beneath the structure. During an earthquake, these layers will just slide over each other, therefore reducing friction.
The world has been under threat from a plethora of natural calamities since then. Among all calamities, it's the devastating earthquake that may cause unpredictable damage.
So, whether you are constructing a new home in an urban area or you just want to reconstruct your existing home, you might want to consider the 5 characteristics of earthquake resistant homes that we have listed above. Try to reinforce them in the construction process and you should be able to reduce the potential damages in a big way.
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Don Dunick is an engineer. Having previously owned his engineering construction and manufacturing company, he now works as a specialist engineer engaged in the Pacific Region, while also focusing on the technical departments of Lighthouse Developments.
Joanna Dunick is employed as a marketing and business development coordinator and focuses on the day-to-day marketing and promotional aspects
Lighthouse Developments has been born out of a passion for an innovative, practical solution to many of the problems we accept within a conventional home. The concept is also easily adaptable for commercial use.