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January 26, 2015

Engineering innovative seismic retrofits that don't break the bank


Georgia Tech engineers are testing out novel materials and combinations that would be less disruptive and costly

Researchers at the state-of-the-art Structural Engineering and Materials Laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology are using a full-scale model building to test new ways to protect structures from earthquakes and potentially save lives.

The three-story concrete building is based on designs common through much of the 20th century. It has been subjected to round after round of simulated temblors to test if materials such as carbon fiber or new shape-memory alloys can be used to reinforce the structure so it would remain standing in moderate to strong earthquakes.

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), structural engineer Reginald DesRoches and his team have developed a series of retrofits of varying cost and intrusiveness to give building owners in quake-prone areas a range of choices for hardening their property.

The research in this episode was funded by NSF award #1041607, NEESR-CR - Innovative Seismic Retrofits for Resilient Reinforced Concrete Buildings. NEESR-CR is short for the George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation Research-Core Research.

Miles O'Brien, Science Nation Correspondent
Kate Tobin, Science Nation Producer


Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations presented in this material are only those of the presenter grantee/researcher, author, or agency employee; and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.