Innovative Seismic Retrofits for Resilient and Sustainable Reinforced Concrete Buildings​

Innovative Seismic Retrofits for Resilient and Sustainable Reinforced Concrete Buildings


Co-PIs: Roberto T. Leon, Claudia Marin, Jamie Padgett, Yang Wang
Students (GT): Tim Wright and Pablo Vega
Partner Schools: Rice University, Howard University, and Virginia Tech

The proposed project brings together a diverse group of experts from civil engineering, materials science, sensing and damage detection, risk analysis, and seismic design.  This team will evaluate the efficacy of a new class of innovative systems with recentering and/or high damping capabilities, and will develop a framework for their design and implementation to retrofit reinforced concrete (RC) buildings. The goal of this proposed project is to validate, via innovative large scale field testing (with NEES mobile shakers), a new class of retrofits for reinforced concrete buildings.

Five retrofit measures will be investigated to achieve this goal, consisting of novel bracing systems, beam-column connection elements, and/or columns wraps.  Common advantageous characteristics of the systems include the ease of application, scalability and adaptability, passive nature, and need for little-to-no maintenance through the life-cycle.  Furthermore these systems aim to provide improved seismic performance in terms of minimal damage, enhanced post-event functionality, and improved cost-benefit compared to traditional retrofit approaches.

The vision of the proposed project is that the use of advanced materials in innovative systems will result in improved seismic retrofits for RC buildings that may find more widespread adoption due to their efficient design, minimal maintenance or disruption for installation, and enhanced cost-effectiveness.  The vision will be accomplished through a series of unique multi-scale experiments, coupled with detailed finite element simulations, fragility analyses and cost-benefit studies.


  1. Vega-Behar, P., Yang, CS. W., DesRoches, R., and Leon, R. (2013). “Seismic assessment of retrofitted non-ductile reinforced concrete frames.” 11th International conference on structural safety and reliability, 2013 ICOSSAR, New York, NY, USA.
  2. Kurata, M., Leon, T.R., and DesRoches, R. (2012). “Rapid Seismic Rehabilitation Strategy: Concept and Testing of Cable with Couple Resisting Damper  (CORE Damper),” Journal of Structural Engineering, ASCE, Vol 138, No. 3, pp. 354-362, March, 2012.
  3. Choi, E., Chung, Y.S., Jeong, B.S., Jo, B.W., and DesRoches, R. (2012). “Seismic Protection of Lap Spliced Reinforced Concrete Columns Using SMA Wire Jackets,” Magazine of Concrete ResearchVol. 64, No. 3pp. 239-252, March, 2012.
  4. Speicher, M., DesRoches, R., and Leon, R.T. (2011). “Experimental Results of NiTi Shape Memory Alloy (SMA)-Based Recentering Beam-Column Connection,” Engineering StructuresVol. 33, No. 9, pp. 2448-2457, September, 2011. DOI: 10.1016/j.engstruct.2011.04.018
  5. Speicher, M., Hodgson, D.E., DesRoches, R., and Leon, R. T.(2009). “Shape Memory Alloy Tension/Compression Device for Seismic Retrofit of Buildings,” Journal of Engineering Materials and PerformanceVol. 18, No. 5-6, pp. 746-753, August, 2009.