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When we talk about the anti-seismic design of a building, we are talking about a whole series of procedures designed primarily to stem its structural failure. But, to protect what is most precious about buildings – people inside them – we will see that proper earthquake-resistant design is by no means a matter of load-bearing walls alone.
We are in the University of Pavia, it is June 8, 2022, and we are about to witness a unique seismic test. Standing in front of us lies a housing module composed of structural and non-structural elements, such as glass walls, suspended ceiling and our raised floor, connected to the new 9D LAB seismic simulation system. From there, we will be confronted with a disturbing scenario, the simulation of the 2016 Norcia earthquake, where we will realize that although the load-bearing structure will resist, there will be a disastrous outcome due to the collapse of the non-structural elements.
Video test of 9D LAB seismic simulation during the inauguration event
eucentre’s 9d lab system, the turnaround test in earthquake engineering
The new 9D LAB system developed by EUCENTRE (European Center for Training and Research in Earthquake Engineering) is an innovative seismic testing system because it has 9 degrees of freedom, which actually simulates a seismic building stress not only in the structure but also in the content.
In fact, the system makes it possible to reproduce the inter-floor displacements that can occur during an earthquake providing a valuable possibility for the experimental evaluation of the behavior and damage of non-structural elements (such as interior walls, doors and windows, false ceilings, elevators, plant components, furniture, etc.), which can also be used in the Italian industry for competitive purposes, contributing to the development of various enabling technologies.
The inauguration of the 9D LAB system took place under the eyes of about 150 researchers, professionals and representatives of companies, with the performance of multi-axial dynamic tests on an assembly of glass and melamine office partitions installed on the Nesite raised floor, a partner in the experiment.
The system allowed simultaneous simulation of accelerations and differential displacements between two floors at any height of any building, faithfully reproducing in their entirety and complexity all the potentially damaging effects of a real earthquake on nonstructural elements.
The test concluded with the failure of all nonstructural elements except our raised floor, appropriately supplemented by earthquake-resistant technologies for the event.
Before and after 9D LAB seismic simulation
The anti-seismic design of the nesite raised floor
The earthquake-resistant configuration of our raised floors has been part of Nesite’s consulting service for many years, with iconic projects in this regard such as the Cristchurch Civic Building in New Zealand and the Louvre in Abu Dhabi. Being chosen as a partner in the inaugural test of such an advanced earthquake-resistant system, however, gave us the opportunity to demonstrate publicly and with tangible and irrefutable proof, the quality of work in the earthquake-resistant design of our solutions.
The platform designed for the inauguration test is about 60 cm high and was installed with a bracing system that consists of integrating the structure of the raised floor with special supports called tie rods. The difficulty in the realization was the absence of the load-bearing bracing wall, which we were able to compensate for with the calculated use of more tie rods.
Anti-seismic raised floor configuration for 9D LAB – technical drawings
We are very pleased by the extremely positive outcome and proud to have contributed to a historic moment in seismic risk reduction research, especially considering that our country is considered a high seismic risk country.
Interested in earthquake-resistant design of raised floor? Contact us for a consultation.