Earthquakes has been so destructive as ever. It is not the one that kills people, but the collapsing buildings it has been shaking tremendously. It has caused a lot of terrors and has been putting a lot of real estates into doom. These giant infrastructures are supposedly serving as shelters in cases like this, but it is the other way around.
Engineering earthquake-proof buildings is the main priority of earthquake prone nations. After seeing the vast destructions it has caused, making it earthquake-proof should be the priority. It is possible?
The answer is yes. With the help of technology, engineering well-designed buildings from cracking when the ground shakes beneath them is very possible. The design basically does two things. It is by making buildings stronger, or by making them more flexible, so they sway and slide above the shaking ground rather than crumbling. It is employing the idea of base isolation.
Skyscrapers is one of the most popular. Buildings that don’t directly rest in the ground. They float on systems of ball bearings, springs and padded cylinders. The buildings are surrounded by “moats,” or buffer zones, so they don’t swing into other structures. Burj Dubai is among the best examples. Through this, no lives will be lost, no matter how strong an earthquake is.
Another development rose and it is focused on how the building will react in certain situations. These are electronic sensors that detect seismic shaking can tell the building how to react to avoid damage. “Inspired by spirit of the anti-lock braking systems in car wherein it measures its dynamic behavior and adjust the braking force to get it to do what you want it to do”, said Bill Spencer, a civil engineering professor at the University of Illinois.
Buildings with those censors have been built in Japan but not in the United States. Some use accelerometers, which are also found in newer smart phones, to detect motion. If they exceed a certain level, then the damper system goes into action and reduces the amount of shaking says Mehmet Celebi, a senior research civil engineer at the U.S. Geological Survey.
High costs keep countries such as Haiti from adopting the latest building techniques and technologies, said Nicholas Sitar, professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California at Berkeley. Making buildings more basic might actually make them stronger and would cost less than high-tech upgrades. Reinforcing concrete buildings with steel rods and bolting wooden buildings to their foundations, as ways to prevent mass casualties in earthquakes are examples for this.