Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Seismic-Safe Buildings!

     Seismic-safe buildings are, of course, buildings that are not vulnerable to attacks made by seismic waves. These structures usually have special enforcement and flexibility to lower or eliminate the damage done by an earthquake. I know that a building being flexible probably sounds strange and nearly impossible, but with engineers that specialize in earthquake engineering, it is made possible! I know(or, at least, I think I know) that these buildings have special joints that allow the seismic waves to pass through and do little or no damage. 
     Seismic safe buildings have special features incorporated into them, like tension ties, shear walls, base isolators, cross braces, and dampers. Many buildings in earthquake-prone areas have one or more of these features. Though these characteristics save lives and reduce the damage done, there are drawbacks. The seismic-safe technology is expensive and they can limit the amount of usable space within the building. 
     After some research through Google, I learned a bit more about building safer structures. Isolation bearings prevent the structure from leaning to any side. Using isolation bearings can also direct the seismic energy back into the ground, rather than straight up and through the building. Cross braces hold the structure up straight and prevent the building from having a break within it. The cross braces also safely direct the seismic energy through the building. This doesn't eliminate the damage completely, but it does greatly reduce the damage. 
     Now, on to ideas for a class lab we'll be doing! Seismic-safe buildings need to have a strong base structure, so using multiple thick columns down the middle of the structure, as well as on the four corners, would be intelligent. Supports on all sides of the building can help enforce the strength into the central section. Using marshmallows and tape can work as the grounding base of the building to keep it grounded, but not vulnerable to collapsing upon itself. Using lots of tape and marshmallows, we can also create joints that will hold the structure up well. The main thing to for us on with our structure would be its durability and strength. This will lead us to a lesser chance of the building collapsing. Like written on the board in the classroom, I think that chopsticks could be very useful in the structures success.  


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