Department: Structural Engineering
Faculty Advisor(s): Tara C. Hutchinson

Primary Student
Name: Christine Wittich
Email: cwittich@ucsd.edu
Phone: 858-866-8327
Grad Year: 2016

Systems of unattached, or freestanding, structures are highly vulnerable to damage and collapse when subject to seismic or other base excitation. This class of structures includes systems such as unreinforced masonry walls, historic multi-drum columns, statue-pedestal systems, and various mechanical or electrical equipment. Damage to these structures can result in loss of irreplaceable cultural heritage, limited functionality of critical structures such as hospitals and nuclear power plants, and even loss of life. As a result, accurate predictions of their response are essential. In this poster, two phases of shake table tests are detailed in which the primary experimental variables included size, aspect ratio, mass eccentricities, and interface materials. The results of which emphasized the multi-modality (e.g. rocking, sliding, and twisting) of the dynamic response and complex interactions between individual blocks, which are not feasibly incorporated in classical analysis methods for rigid body dynamics. Therefore, a multi-physics numerical model is developed incorporating penalty-based contact algorithms, which is shown to capture the salient features of the system response and to predict the dynamic response with high fidelity. Applications of this numerical model include the identification of vulnerable structures, the design of seismic mitigation techniques, and the study of precariously balanced rocks for historic seismicity.

Industry Application Area(s)
Civil/Structural Engineering

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