Earthquake engineering

Is the scientific field concerned with safeguarding society, the natural and the man made environment from earthquakes by decreasing the seismic threat to socio-economically acceptable levels. Traditionally, it has been narrowly known as the study of the behavior of structures and geo-structures subject to seismic loading, this regarded as a subset of both structural and geotechnical engineering. In spite of this, the tremendous costs experienced in recent earthquakes have brought about an expansion of its scope to encompass disciplines from the wider field of civil engineering and from the social sciences, particularly sociology, political science, finance and economics.

The primary objectives of earthquake engineering are:

  • Foresee the potential effects of powerful earthquakes on urban areas and civil infrastructure.
  • Design, construct and maintain structures to perform at earthquake exposure up to the goals and in compliance with building codes.
  • A properly engineered structure does not compulsorily have to be very strong or very expensive. It has to be properly built to withstand the seismic effects while sustaining a tolerable level of harm.
  • Assessing the tectonic and fault mechanisms that generate earthquake to approximate when they will occur and how massive they are going to be.

Seismic overall performance:

Seismic loading signifies application of an earthquake-generated excitation on a structure (or geo-structure). It happens at contact surfaces of a structure either with the ground, with adjacent structures, and with gravity waves from tsunami.

Earthquake and seismic performance defines a structure's ability to preserve its primary functions, for example its safety and serviceability, at and after a specific earthquake exposure. A structure is generally considered secure if it does not put in danger the lives and health of those in or around it by partially or totally collapsing. A structure may be regarded serviceable if it is able to meet its operational functions for which it was built.

Fundamental principles of the earthquake engineering, implemented in the major building codes, imagine that a building should survive a rare, very serious earthquake by sustaining significant damage but without entirely collapsing. However, it should remain operational for more frequent, but much less severe seismic events.

Earthquake Engineering encompasses a vast range of activities that seek to help reduce the disruption and damage towns suffer when hit by an earthquake. The topic includes:

  • Understanding precisely how the earthquake energy transmits through the ground.
  •  Quantifying the likely ground surface responses at a precise site all through the existence of a structure.
  •  Assessing the liquefaction potential of soils at precise sites.
  • Designing structures and lifeline services (gas, transport, electricity, water and wastewater) to minimise the disruption and damage during and after an earthquake.
  • Planning for emergency response and post-earthquake recuperation
  • Preparing towns for earthquakes.
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