Nonstructural Grand Challenge

The experimental set up for the Grand Challenge

Simulation of the Seismic Performance of Nonstructural Systems

Principal Investigators
  • PI: E. "Manos" Maragakis, University of Nevada, Reno
  • Co-PI: André Filiatrault, University of Buffalo
  • Co-PI: Steve French, Georgia Tech
  • Co-PI: Tara Hutchinson, University of California, San Diego
  • Co-PI: Bob Reitherman, CUREE

Sponsored By

  • National Science Foundation Grant No.: CMMI-0721399

Project Website

A series of experiments are underway at the University of Nevada, Reno to investigate the seismic behavior of ceiling-piping-partition nonstructural systems.

The objectives of these experiments are:

  • Investigating the system-level responses and failure mechanisms of nonstructural systems
  • Investigating the interaction of different nonstructural components in ceiling-piping-partition systems
  • Evaluating the impact of structural non-linearity on the response of nonstructural components

Experimental set-up

Description of the test-bed

The test-bed consists of a two-story, two-bay by one-bay steel framing system with concrete floor slabs, designed to incorporate various nonstructural system configurations .

Diagram of the test bed To accommodate large-scale realistic specimens, the test-bed is 60 ft long, 11.5 ft wide and 24.5 ft high.

It is mounted longitudinally over three bi-axial shake tables at the University of Nevada NEES facility.

It should be noted that for safety and re-usability, the main load-carrying elements (beams, columns and connections) of the test-bed were designed to remain linear at all times. However, the overall seismic response can include that of an inelastic system mainly due to controlled yielding of braces.

Linear and nonlinear tests

The proposed experiments consist of two parts.

  1. Linear Tests. In the first part, the structure remains linearly-elastic during all runs in order to investigate the acceleration sensitive components responses mainly ceiling systems.
  2. Nonlinear tests. In the second part, yielding braces will be implemented in the second part to achieve large drifts to evaluate the behavior of drift sensitive components like partitions.

Considering the fact that ceiling systems are sensitive to acceleration, all of the configurations will be tested in the linear structure. After that, some configurations, which are more vulnerable to drift, will be used in the nonlinear (yielding) structure system to evaluate the effects of large drifts on their responses and the interactions between them.

`