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  • Created 01 Mar 2012

About the Group

The objective of this Rapid Research Response (RAPID) award was to investigate the performance of buildings with structural walls in the Tohoku, Japan, earthquake of 2011. The goals of this investigation were (1) to collect quantitative data on the seismic performance of buildings with dominant structural walls in the Tohoku region, (2) to compare it with similar information obtained in Chile, (3) to identify the causes of successes and failures observed in the two locations, (4) to test the ability of state-of-the-art simulation tools to reproduce what occurred in the field, and (5) to summarize the findings in brief statements and/or algorithms that can be used to design safer structures. Building standards in Chile, Japan, and the US are comparable. Nevertheless, the Maule, Chile, Earthquake of 2010 caused severe structural failures that demonstrated that there are critical missing links in our technology related to earthquake resistance of mid- to high-rise buildings with structural reinforced concrete walls. In Concepción, Chile, where the peak ground acceleration did not exceed 0.4g, nearly 7 percent of the buildings with more than 10 stories were evacuated and scheduled for demolition. In contrast, the intensity of the ground motion caused by the earthquake of 2011 in the Japanese region of Tohoku was as large or larger than in Concepción (with peak ground accelerations exceeding 2g), but the frequency of building damage was lower.

The knowledge to be generated by this investigation will contribute to the safety of urban populations in seismic regions. The investigation will lead to elimination of massive economic and human losses in future earthquakes.

Project Overview