Innovative Seismic Retrofits for Resilient and Sustainable Reinforced Concrete Buildings

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National Science Foundation NEESR-CR Program


Tim Wright, and Niki Fanarouki

Partner Schools:

Rice University and Howard University

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.