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ELSA - Structures to withstand earthquakes

The European Laboratory for Structural Assessment (ELSA), established at the European Commission's Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy, has successfully undertaken a number of tests on building structures, with a view to extending knowledge on earthquake resistant structures...
The European Laboratory for Structural Assessment (ELSA), established at the European Commission's Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy, has successfully undertaken a number of tests on building structures, with a view to extending knowledge on earthquake resistant structures.

ELSA has developed a new procedure, based on steady thrust, known as the pseudo-dynamic test, in order to avoid duplication of existing tests. This test applies specific forces, using hydraulic jacks, to a test building. These are then measured using sensors attached to the structure. A particular feature of the ELSA test is that it can mix the reactions of a test structure with simulated computer models. This will allow the reactions of a whole viaduct to be measured using a test structure of only a few piers.

The ELSA project team have created models of parts of historic buildings, using the original building techniques, in order to assess how these buildings would react to earthquakes. Eventually digitized models will be established that will simulate structures and their response to earthquakes.

All European researchers engaged in earthquake simulation work have now been grouped in a network, allowing exchanges of information. Researchers also have access to each others' facilities, thanks to support from the Community's Training and Mobility of Researchers (TMR) programme.

After the first four years of ELSA's work, from 1992 to 1996, nine reports on different aspects of the network have been completed, greatly enhancing European research in this field.

Source: European Commission, DG XIII
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