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Seismic damage simulation in urban areas based on a high-fidelity structural model and a physics engine


Effective seismic damage simulation is an important task in improving earthquake resistance and safety of dense urban areas. There exist two significant technical challenges for realizing such a simulation: accurate prediction and realistic display. A high-fidelity structural model is proposed herein to accurately predict the seismic damage that was inflicted on a large number of buildings in an urban area via time-history analysis, with which the local damage to different building stories is also explicitly obtained. The accuracy and efficiency of the proposed model are validated by a refined finite element analysis of a typical building. A physics engine-based algorithm is also proposed that realistically displays building collapse, thus overcoming the limitations of the high-fidelity structural model. Furthermore, a visualization system integrating the proposed model and collapse simulation is developed so as to completely display the seismic damage in detail. Finally, the simulated seismic damage of a real medium-sized Chinese city is evaluated to demonstrate the advantages of the proposed techniques, which can provide critically important reference information for urban disaster prevention and mitigation.

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The authors are grateful for the financial support received from the National Key Technology R&D Program (No. 2013BAJ08B02), the National Nature Science Foundation of China (Nos. 51308321, 51178249, 51222804), the Tsinghua University Initiative Scientific Research Program (No. 2012THZ02-2) and China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2013M530632).

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Correspondence to Xinzheng Lu.

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Xu, Z., Lu, X., Guan, H. et al. Seismic damage simulation in urban areas based on a high-fidelity structural model and a physics engine. Nat Hazards 71, 1679–1693 (2014).

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