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Khalid Mosalam
VIDEO: Quicktime video with UC Berkeley civil engineering assistant professor Khalid Mosalam describing the December 12 test.

 

 


Over the years, thousands of woodframe, multi-unit residential buildings have been constructed with tuck-under parking at the ground level, which can create a soft story configuration that may lead to severe damage and even collapse under strong earthquake shaking. Buildings like this have collapsed in recent earthquakes. Shown here is a view of a full-scale apartment bulding model (prior to installation of stucco on exterior and gypsum board on interior) that has been seismically retrofitted for testing on December 12.

 

 

steel frame, designed to resist seismic forces
A new steel frame, designed to resist seismic forces, has been installed to simulate the typical way buildings like this have been retrofitted. Such retrofits typically include steel beam supports like these.

 

December 12 shake test on the nation's largest earthquake simulator of a three-story woodframe apartment building

BERKELEY — On December 12, engineers will conduct a seismic shake test of a full-scale three-story woodframe apartment building on the nation's largest earthquake simulator. The experiment, by University of California, Berkeley, engineers, will be the largest of its kind done to date in the country, and will subject the structure to multi-directional ground motions equivalent to that recorded during the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

Over the years, thousands of woodframe, multi-unit residential buildings have been constructed with tuck-under parking at the ground level, which can create a soft story configuration that may lead to severe damage and even collapse under strong earthquake shaking. Buildings like this have collapsed in recent earthquakes.

Several buildings of this structural type, typically constructed in the 1960s or 1970s, experienced ground story collapse in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and in the 1994 Northridge, California earthquakes, including the Northridge Meadows apartment complex where 16 people died.

Since then, a number of these structures have been seismically retrofitted. Typical retrofits include the addition of a steel frame around the garage openings, the installation of shear walls, and attaching such buildings to their foundations.

No large scale experimentation has been conducted to verify the effectiveness of these retrofit measures. On December 12, a team lead by Khalid Mosalam, assistant professor of civil engineering, and Stephen Mahin, professor of civil engineering, will conduct a shake test to see how these retrofit measures actually peform.

BACKGROUND:
The full-scale building is outfitted with wall finish materials, a white stucco exterior, windows and doors. The tuck-under parking is retrofitted with a steel frame.

The experiment is part of a larger $6.9 million woodframe project funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency through the California Office of Emergency Services after the Northridge earthquake.

The UC Berkeley test will also be an early demonstration of the efficacy of using tiny, wireless remote sensors to provide feedback on the structural integrity of the building.

The Consortium of Universities for Research in Earthquake Engineering (CUREE) manages the project under subcontract to the California Institute of Technology. Results from the UC Berkeley test will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of current building ordinances, as well as to develop improved codes and standards.

ATTENTION MEDIA:
For further information, contact Sarah Yang at (510) 643-7741 or scy@pa.urel.berkeley.edu.
 


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