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New earthquake-proof building technology live test a success

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

AUT’s Built Environment Engineering (BEE) Lab has just tested a new earthquake proofing brace system, designed to not only dissipate the force of an earthquake and limit the damage to the building, but to self-centrethe building following a seismic event, allowing for rapidreoccupancypost-event.The brace is designed to withstand severe ‘one in 2,500 year event’ earthquakes.

The technology, invented by DrPouyanZarnaniof AUT, and investigated by PhD candidate Mohamed Yousef-Beikin a joint project with Professor Pierre Quenneville of the University of Auckland, is being used in new buildings, including the Hutt Valley Medical Hub. DrZarnanisays the time immediately post a seismic event is when buildings like medicalcentresand hospitals are crucial, and this technology will help ensure they can safely provide critical services.

"Earthquakes pose a great threat to social andeconomicwelfare, costing society at every event. Traditional seismic systems often require costly repairs and maintenance or even complete replacement following a seismic event - in some cases leaving the structure at risk for aftershocks whilst awaiting maintenance. Through effective energy dissipation and self-centringfunctionality of these new seismic connections, structuresare able towithstand earthquake sequences without replacement or structural repairs," says DrZarnani.

The technology works to dissipate the force of a seismic event through africtionjointinwhichthespecially grooved plates are clamped usingdiscsspringsto provideself-centring.It has been successfully tested with the seismic force of a ‘one in 2,500 year’ event. For the shaky isles of New Zealand, this technology is a crucial step in reducing the need and associated costs for post-quake repairs for socially critical buildings.

The development of this technology was funded by MBIE and EQC and was supported byTectonus,TechlamandTriderEngineers. The Built Environment Engineering (BEE) Lab is in AUT’s Nga WaiHonobuilding on the corner of Symonds and St Paul Streets.

Please see the brace in action here:

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