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Earthquake Engineering and Structural Reinforcement

Hall 25


In hall 25, at the centre of the Construction section, SAIE was hosting a highly specialised and technologically advanced area devoted to Earthquake Engineering (organised by the Italian Earthquake Engineering association ISI) and Structural Reinforcement (organised by the University of Bologna).



The Earthquake Engineering area was organised by ISI, the Italian Earthquake Engineering association. ISI’s mission is to represent and engage with the various players working in the field of Italian Earthquake Engineering, to organise activities promoting their work, and to liaise with official organisations, institutions and standardisation bodies, with the academic and scientific community, with the world of industry and with professionals.


The excellence of Italian expertise in the fields of design, construction and management of seismic mitigation and retrofitting work is represented at SAIE  2016.


While Hall 32 hosted the earthquake software companies, Hall 25 – at the heart of the earthquake technology section – accommodates producers of advanced technologies and suppliers of specialist engineering services who provided detailed technological information and offer professional support to designers, companies, entrepreneurs and the public administration.


The excellence of these Italian earthquake technologies is based on technical expertise, experience and professionalism.


SAIE also welcomed H. Kit Miyamoto, Chairman of Miyamoto Earthquake Structural Engineers, at a conference organised in cooperation with ISI on the theme of risks, mitigation and post-earthquake reconstruction/rehabilitation on Friday 21 October at 9.30 am in the Sala Notturno. 


Paola Pierotti from PPAN interviews ISI chairman Luca Ferrari on Edilio:



In collaboration with CIRI – University of BOLOGNA, SAIE has organised an area devoted to the structural reinforcement of buildings. The “Guidelines for identification, qualification and acceptance checks of fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP) composites to be used for the structural consolidation of existing buildings” issued by the Higher Council of Public Works came into effect in July 2016. These Guidelines require all companies that produce reinforcement materials to qualify their products and draw up precise technical data sheets containing all essential design data. They also require Works Managers to specify the procedures for performing on-site acceptance testing.


Under the scientific coordination of Prof. Marco Savoia, SAIE has organised an area open to professionals for illustrating and discussing all the changes introduced by these guidelines. In particular:


  1. Examples of reinforcement using different technologies (carbon and glass fibre fabrics, pultruded sheets, anchoring cords, etc.) were displayed on mock-ups of masonry and reinforced concrete structures. The companies presented mutually complementary products to give professionals an idea of all the potential of these reinforcement systems.
  2. A demonstration area where companies and their technical staff illustrated the ways in which these materials can be used on masonry and reinforced concrete structures. The University of Bologna Test Laboratory explained how to perform on-site materials acceptance testing and verification of the methods used for applying the reinforcement.
  3. A technical seminar was heldd on Thursday 20 October in Sala Bolero, where the Technical Department of the Higher Council of Public Works and the heads of the University Laboratories presented the key aspects of the Guidelines, from qualification to on-site acceptance testing for composite structural reinforcement materials. At the end of the seminar, the companies will present some significant case studies.



Simulations on a mini-shaking table


Simulations on a mini-shaking table were conducted for educational/demonstration purposes to reproduce dynamic excitations at the base of an aluminium frame building prototype with marble block infills to simulate the effect of structural damage.


The simulations are initially performed with the structure fixed at the base, a condition that applies to virtually all current buildings. The table is moved by means of an electric actuator which creates sinusoidal signals with frequencies close to the resonant frequencies of the structure to illustrate the phenomenon of resonance, after which real accelerometric recordings made during major earthquakes are applied. These simulations demonstrate that the wall panels suffer considerable damage even at low excitation intensities, evidenced by the progressive increase in the gaps between the blocks of marble.


The structure is subsequently freed from the foundations to simulate a base-isolated structure. The presence of low-friction Teflon (PTFE) blocks enables the structure to slide horizontally, allowing the energy released during the earthquake to be dissipated. Thanks to this seismic isolation effect, the structure experiences almost zero damage even with very high excitation intensities. However, the isolation system’s displacement demand increases according to the intensity of the earthquake, so anti-seismic devices must be designed to accommodate these higher displacement values.


The demonstration is then concluded by applying the last intensity tested with an isolated-base structure to the fixed-base structure, resulting inevitably in the collapse of the non-structural infills.