Minor structural damage – RC Buildings

October 15, 2015 by  
Filed under Reinforced Concrete Buildings

Ana Gabriela Haro & Ericson Encina Zuniga

According to Reuters, the 8.3M earthquake, which hit the Chile’s Northen coast on 16 September 2015, was felt even in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This severe earthquake lasted three minutes and was followed by many aftershocks, however, it did not cause significant structural damage to reinforced concrete buildings (RCB) as previously informed here.

The Chilean building code has been improved every time an earthquake has occurred. Even though the implementation of the construction standards are severe and consequently expensive, when evaluating the damage after the last events, it has proved to be efficient for a country highly susceptible to earthquakes. According to the UN News Centre the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction head, Margareta Wahlström, stated “Chile’s investment in resilient infrastructure, early warning systems and urban planning have ensured that casualties have been low on this occasion despite the intensity of the earthquake”.

In general, RCB which comprise structural walls, base isolators or dampers reported good performance. Some exceptions were detected like a case in La Serena, where a building suffered a failure presumably associated with wall-to-floor interaction. Additionally, an inverted beam located in the roof displays the effect of combined shear and flexural demands. Regarding this building, the pictures below show part of the damage presented by Phillipo Correa et al. in a meeting organized by the Chilean Association of Structural Civil Engineers (AICE) on 28 September 2015.

Building in La Serena- Level 5. Courtesy of Phillipo Correa et al.

Building in La Serena – Level 5. Courtesy of Phillipo Correa et al.

 

Building in La Serena - Roof level. Courtesy of Phillipo Correa et al.

Building in La Serena – Roof level. Courtesy of Phillipo Correa et al.

Further reports are expected to be revealed during the coming weeks since the Chilean government is evaluating the structural state of public buildings, particularly schools and health centers.

 

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