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Influence of accelerometer type on uncertainties in recorded ground motions and seismic damage assessment

  • S.I. : Seismic Structural Health Monitoring
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Abstract

Strong motion data recorded by strong-motion networks are essential for preventing and mitigating earthquake disasters, such as earthquake early warning and earthquake emergency responses, and the type of accelerometer can significantly influence the quality of recorded ground motions (GMs) and the subsequent usage. Different types of accelerometers vary significantly in both the price and the quality of collected data, because cheap accelerometers generate non-negligible self-noise and reduce the quality of the collected GMs. However, the effects of the accelerometer type and spatial density on the accuracy of GM-based seismic damage assessment are still unknown. The present study attempts to quantify these effects comprehensively at a regional scale. First, a method to simulate recorded data from different quality sensors is devised, using characteristics of existing low-, medium-, and high-quality accelerometers. These simulations use input data from either the Pacific Earthquake Engineering GM database or from a high-fidelity fault rupture and regional wave propagation simulation. Subsequently, the simulated sensor data are used to assess the seismic damage to typical buildings at a city scale. The results indicate that low-quality sensors found in most smartphones are currently insufficient for assessing seismic damage. Medium-quality accelerometers (MEMS-based instruments), on the other hand, can provide feasible solutions for cost-effective city-scale deployment and may offer deployment options that are superior to sensor networks with high-quality accelerometers.

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Data availability

The dataset and codes for the simulation method of sensor-recorded ground motion are available on the first author’s GitHub page (https://github.com/wenjie-liao/Sensor-Recorded-GMs).

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to gratefully acknowledge the financial and in-kind support provided by the National Key R&D Program (No. 2019YFE0112800), the Tencent Foundation through the XPLORER PRIZE, the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK Grant No.116M232), and the Shuimu Tsinghua Scholar Program (2022SM005). The authors particularly appreciate the cooperation and efforts of DesignSafe (Rathje et al. 2017), Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), for providing supercomputing resources on Frontera. The authors also would like to acknowledge Dr. Yuan Tian and Mr. Wang Chen (Tsinghua University) for their constructive suggestions for this work, and Prof. Xiaodong Ji's group (Tsinghua University) for providing sensor recorded noise data.

Funding

The research received funding from the National Key R&D Program (No. 2019YFE0112800), the Tencent Foundation through the XPLORER PRIZE, the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK Grant No.116M232), and the Shuimu Tsinghua Scholar Program (2022SM005).

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Correspondence to Xinzheng Lu.

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Liao, W., Fei, Y., Ghahari, F. et al. Influence of accelerometer type on uncertainties in recorded ground motions and seismic damage assessment. Bull Earthquake Eng 20, 4419–4439 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10518-022-01461-5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10518-022-01461-5

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