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Earthquake-induced poundings of seismically isolated structures


There has been an increasing demand to avoid structural and non-structural damage, and to protect sensitive equipment during strong earthquakes. This is difficult to achieve for low- to medium-rise buildings in high seismicity areas with conventional earth quake-resistant design. The latter only ensures the required strength and ductility to avoid structural collapse, but allows inelastic deformations, as the fundamental frequencies of these structures fall in the range of dominant frequencies of earthquakes.

Seismic isolation is an alternative approach that reduces the induced seismic loads, by shifting the fundamental frequency of stiff structures away from the dangerous-for-resonance range. Structural and non-structural damage can be avoided, sensitive and expensive equipment can be protected, and the functionality of essential facilities can be maintained by reducing both inter-story deflections and floor accelerations. However, a limitation in the utilization of seismic isolation is the seismic gap t hat must be provided around the structure, which allows the expected large relative displacements at the isolation level. A major concern is the possibility of poundings during strong ground excitations, which may result in local damage, excitation of higher modes, and increased floor accelerations.

The objective of this research proposal is to investigate, using numerical simulations, the response of seismically isolated buildings during potential poundings with adjacent structures in order to understand how their floor accelerations and interstory deflections are affected by design parameters and conditions. The reintegration mechanism will allow the returning researcher to establish a research group at the University of Cyprus that will focus on earthquake-resistant design with innovative methods, such as seismic isolation, and enable the sharing and transferring of interdisciplinary knowledge and expertise with European colleagues.

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