Intense earthquake ground motions can be devastating to communities, and can lead to years and even decades of recovery. It is observed in recent earthquakes that nonstructural components, which make up a large part of a building’s cost, are vulnerable to seismic damage. To minimize the recovery time after an earthquake, the structure as well as the nonstructural components should be protected from damage.
To understand the behavior and interaction of the structural and nonstructural components during earthquakes, a full-scale five-story building outfitted with nonstructural components was subjected to a series of earthquake input ground motions at UC San Diego’s Large High Performance Outdoor Shake Table. The building was first tested in a base isolated configuration and then in a fixed base configuration. These tests demonstrated that the base isolated building effectively minimized the structural demands and mitigated damage to structure as well as the nonstructural components.
Dr. Michelle Chen is a Postdoctoral Scholar at UC San Diego and an engineering consultant. She received a B.S. in Structural Engineering from UC San Diego, an M.S. in Civil Engineering from UC Berkeley before returning to UCSD to pursue a Ph.D. in Structural Engineering. Her research interests are base isolation, seismic design, and concrete design.