Funded Research Programs

Phase II: Development of high performance earthquake resilient tall buildings

Title: Development of high performance earthquake resilient tall buildings

Principal Investigator: Perry Adebar

PI’s Affiliation: University of British Columbia, Canada

Co-PI at Tongji University: Tony Yang


With rapid population growth worldwide, major cities around the world are seeing an upsurge in high-rise building construction, and many of the new buildings have very irregular architecture. At the same time, there is an increased awareness about the importance of designing buildings, so that they will have limited damage due strong earthquake shaking. An innovative structural system is proposed that utilizes an outrigger in combination with a conventional reinforced concrete (RC) core-wall system. The outrigger reduces the bending moment demands on the RC core walls, allowing smaller cores, thereby resulting in significant savings in structural materials and increased useable space within the buildings. To further improve the seismic performance of the structure, innovative fuses are added to the outriggers to dissipate the sudden surge of the earthquake energy. In addition, replaceable coupling beams are used to ensure the damaged portions of the structure can be easily inspected and quickly repaired after strong earthquake shaking. To ensure the proposed system can be used efficiently by the practicing engineering communities, an energy-based design procedure will be developed for the system. This design methodology allows the engineers to design the proposed high-performance earthquake resilient system to achieve different performance objectives at different earthquake shaking intensities. In this research, innovative structural fuses will be developed through international research collaboration between the Earthquake Engineering Research Facility Canada (EERF-Canada, an ILEE affiliated research center) and Tongji University (headquarter of ILEE center). Full-scale components will be systematically designed and tested at the EERF facility in Canada, while large-scale shaking table tests will be conducted at Tongji University to validate the overall seismic performance of the proposed system. The proposed research project also includes developing significant enhancements to the traditional core-wall system, which is currently the system of choice for tall buildings in North America. This includes coupled-walls with replaceable coupling beams and significantly reduced shear reinforcement in tall slender concrete walls. The large-scale shake table test at Tongji University will be designed to permit all three innovations to be studied using essentially one test specimen. After the innovative damped-outrigger-core-wall system has been validated, the outrigger will be removed and the coupled wall (with new coupling beams) will be tested. Finally, the core wall will be tested in the cantilever wall direction to validate an innovative design procedure that requires much less shear reinforcement than currently provided in core wall buildings because it accounts for shear ductility. The proposed research project, including the three-phases of shake table tests, will significantly contribute to the development of high performance earthquake resilient tall buildings.