Civil and Environmental Engineering Department Seminar: Seismic Performance of Nonstructural Components: Addressing the Elephant in the Building

Seminar | April 13 | 10-11 a.m. | 542 Davis Hall

 Dimitrios Konstantinidis

 Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE)

The earthquake engineering community has focused significant effort on the design of earthquake-resistant structural systems, while much less attention has been paid on ensuring the adequate seismic performance of nonstructural components, such as architectural elements, electrical and mechanical equipment, and furnishings. However, several recent strong earthquakes in counties with advanced seismic codes have highlighted that the economic losses associated with damage to nonstructural components far exceeded those from structural components. Damage to nonstructural components also severely disrupted the functionality of critical infrastructure, such as hospitals and airports, even when the structures themselves performed well.

Based on dynamic behavior, nonstructural components are broadly divided into restrained (anchored) and unrestrained. Unrestrained equipment has been noted to experience excessive displacements and overturning. This can lead to injury to people, blockage of egress route, and damage to the contents themselves or other components in their vicinity. However, compared to structural components and systems, and even restrained nonstructural elements, there has been limited research on unrestrained contents. This presentation will provide an overview of recent experimental and analytical studies focused on better understanding and quantifying the seismic response of unanchored building contents, including shake table tests of medical equipment supported on wheels/casters and studies on the response of sliding and rocking building contents.
As enhancing the performance of nonstructural components is a critical step towards infrastructure resiliency, the presentation will explore the effectiveness of structural control methods for improving the performance of these components.