NATO Project For Development Of Unique Earthquake Resistant Building Technology Successfully Completed
Project Co-Director Prof. Elchin Khalilov, Director of the Scientific Research Institute for Prognosis and Studying of Earthquakes comments on NATO SfP-982167 Project results.
I would like to start with a question: why are there so many human victims during strong earthquakes? There is only a sole answer to it - people are killed by buildings constructed with their own hands. It is paradoxical that buildings people make to create a cozy and comfortable environment and protect them from the effects of climatic factors and other external threats become "killers" of their creators at the moments of strong earthquakes. Over the millennia of its existence, humanity has not learned yet to effectively protect themselves from the fragments of collapsing buildings. Except for very expensive earthquake resistant buildings in major megalopolises, about 90% of the population of the world's seismically active regions lives in seismically unstable buildings collapsing during earthquakes. Particularly affected by strong earthquakes is the population of underdeveloped countries with high population density.
There are so many recent examples - the Haiti earthquake (2010) killed about 250,000 people, 280,000 people died as a result of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia (2004), an earthquake in the Iranian city of Bam (2003) claimed lives of 35 000 people, an earthquake in the Pakistani Kashmir (2005) killed as many as 85,000. I think that these examples are quite enough to demonstrate the critical situation in earthquake resistant construction for the population of most of our planet. As an attempt of solving this problem in construction of 1-3 storey earthquake-resistant buildings, our Institute proposed a project titled "New technology for seismic resistant construction" based on a series of international patents for inventions, authored by Professor Elchin Khalilov and Professor Walter Kofler.
We taught brick buildings to "dance" to the music of seismic waves
The NATO project titled "New technology for seismic resistant construction" (project number SfP-982167) is an integrated research, design and testing activity project. It was implemented for four years within the framework of NATO-organized multinational research projects aimed to develop new efficient earthquake engineering technologies. The project involved two countries: Turkey and Azerbaijan. The Scientific Research Institute for Prognosis and Studying of Earthquakes was the project participant from Azerbaijan, and the Middle East Technical University from Turkey. Professor Polat Gulkan was, along with me, the Project Director (NPD).
The basic idea behind the project was development and introduction of earthquake resistant houses, technologically simple and financially affordable for the majority of population of seismically active countries. The new technology not only prevents the collapse of one to three storey buildings constructed on its basis during strong earthquakes but also their destruction by powerful explosions of various kinds, thereby minimizing the number of victims. The technology is designed to be utilized in all seismically active regions of the world and is considered to be particularly promising for use in underdeveloped countries with high population density.
Why did NATO fund this Project?
The project was implemented under the NATO policy on ensuring the safety of people and reducing the number of casualties and damage caused by earthquakes and terrorist attacks. The technology developed within the NATO SfP-982167 project has a patented trade name: "Dancing buildings technology". This name reflects the external reaction of the buildings constructed under the new technologies, which deform under the influence of intense seismic waves from strong earthquakes without getting destroyed, fully restoring their shape after the earthquake. These deformations resemble dance moves. Special blocks similar in shape to some LEGO construction set units are interconnected by means of elastic elements developed by us and allowing minor elastic displacements of blocks relative to each other. That is how a building's brick walls become flexible.
The 48-month NATO project was started in 2006. In its implementation we successfully accomplished all project tasks set in the Project Plan:
• Developing a simple technology that allows construction of low-rise (1-3 storey) earthquake-resistant houses capable of withstanding strong earthquakes as well as explosions.
• Reducing the prime cost of earthquake-resistant buildings and providing their technological and economic accessibility to the majority of local people.
• Theoretical and experimental studies and comparative analysis of seismic resistance of the buildings constructed using our technique as compared with others.
What are the concrete outcomes of the completed NATO Project?
• An earthquake-simulating seismic platform with 10.5 sq.m working area has been built to produce harmonic and random vibrations.
• Individual building elements and model buildings in actual and reduced scale have been tested on the seismic platform to access their seismic stability.
• Models of seismic-resistant block fabricating machines have been created, to be replicated for realization to interested companies and institutions.
• Effective seismic resistant construction technology has been created based on use of special earthquake-resistant building blocks for construction of 1-3 storey buildings capable of withstanding earthquakes with intensity not less than 9 by MSK-64 scale as well as explosions. Additionally, this technology is affordable in terms of cost for the majority of population of densely populated countries.
• National technical conditions (state standards) for the new technology and earthquake-resistant building blocks have been developed and approved.
Our project was positively assessed and successfully accepted by NATO. We can proudly say that we have done more than what was planned, without limiting ourselves to the objectives defined initially. We have developed and tested several modifications of earthquake-resistant building blocks for different climatic conditions, which was not provided for in the Project Plan. We have also developed and started production of damping pads (in addition to the damping substance) to be applied between the blocks.
What are the future plans for the NATO Project?
We have completed all what we planned at the beginning of the project but our activity in this direction is far from over, we have a lot of work ahead. Our new objectives include:
1. Further improvement of the technology.
2. Commercialization of the technology.
3. Development of new prototypes of seismic-resistant blocks.
4. Development of industrial technology for large-scale production of seismic-resistant blocks and their testing on the seismic platform.
Along with Azerbaijan and Turkey, we plan to apply the new technology in many seismically active countries.
WOSCO International News Agency