Can We Prevent Structural Failure Under Earthquakes?
Discussing the needs of the prevalent structural concept (the reinforced concrete frame with masonry infill: RCF) during the design and building process in order to provide adequate safety under earthquake loading, the robustness of this concept is called into question. It is concluded that, as long as we continue to build in this way, un-manageable earthquake disasters will strike our large urban centres. During the past two decades, new structural concepts have emerged that are not only more robust then RCF but also more economical to build. Among these are reinforced masonry, confined masonry and so-called seismic control concepts like Base Isolation, Hyde System and Tendon System. These concepts, their applications and advantages are briefly presented, also in the context of historical structures. For these, the Tendon System is particularly suitable, but basic understanding of the seismic performance of historic structures is missing. This is particularly true for Nepalese pagodas. It must be investigated using full-scale shaking table tests before any intervention or reconstruction should be allowed. Finally, strategies are suggested how to promote these concepts in order to substitute RCF eventually. If successful, widespread structural failures under earthquakes will become history.
KeywordsEarthquake robustness Earthquake codes Reinforced masonry Confined masonry Seismic control Historic structures
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