Are Steel Buildings suitable for Earthquakes? - SOTECH ASIA BLOG

Are Steel Buildings suitable for Earthquakes?

steel building

There are some construction professionals think that steel buildings do not do well in earthquakes. We differ in opinion.

Earthquakes have become increasingly not unusual in some elements of the U.S. in which they previously were a rarity. therefore, people who’ve never been exposed daily them or ever had to think about earthquake safety are now facing a new reality.

there is a improper perception amongst a few people that steel buildings do not do well in earthquakes. The fact is quite the other. In fact, steel buildings have a wonderful edge over concrete in earthquakes. The reason, however, is counter-intuitive, and worth understanding.

We have a tendency to assume that the heavier and more rigid an object is, the stronger it is. This assumption is specially common concerning buildings, because our experience validates it. if you’ve ever been in a wooden house at some point of high wind, and heard the timbers creaking and groaning ominously, you may have wanted the structure was concrete. We assume that the load of concrete would assist maintain the house down, and the unbending nature of concrete would resist the swaying under the wind impact. That makes sense if the affects are on the scale of a truck hitting a wall, or even a typhoon.

However, an earthquake is different than other masses. It isn’t always a surface force threatening to sweep the residence off its foundation. The earth itself moves, moving the foundation of the building. it is greater like a robust bucking bronco, trying to shake the house off its back. 

The forces involved are so tremendous that the weight of the building has nothing to do with “keeping it down.” it’s simple physics: force = Mass x Acceleration.

The mass of earth that is shifting is so large that the weight of mere buildings is no match for it. the entirety, even a completely heavy structure, gets tossed around.

At that level of force, weight truly starts to work against the structure. For a given acceleration – which includes a seismic tremor – the extra the mass of the building being placed in motion, the more the pressure exerted at the structure’s elements, and on the connections between those structural elements. In other phrases, the heavier the building, the extra force it has to tear itself apart. A lighter structure undergoes less force from the mass of the building itself. 

Steel production is lighter in weight than concrete, without compromising strength. It has less mass – and therefore less force – to damage itself under seismic shaking. It requires much less earthquake resistance to be built into the superstructure and into the foundation, potentially reducing production costs, too.

Furthermore, steel makes a more resilient structure because it is a more ductile material, allowing it to bend notably earlier than breaking. it’ll respond better in an earthquake than a more brittle structure. In smaller seismic events, a steel building is more likely to snap again than it’s miles to crack. to the most seismic event for which the building is designed occur, there can be excessive deformities, but it won’t undergo progressive collapse. The building may have to be be demolished afterwards, but the occupants’ safety is greater.

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