One company is hoping to make buildings more resilient to earthquakes with its self-centring seismic dampers
Spotted: Conventional countermeasures for earthquake-related pressure on a building are problematic for construction companies as they tend to be expensive and clunky. As a result, they’re often neglected to reduce the already high cost of construction. This is where startup Tectonus comes in.
The patented Tectonus device has a unique layout that allows structures that have been constructed with it to experience residual drift of less than 0.1 per cent. Residual drift is the measured movement of a building after an earthquake – essentially, the larger the residual drift the higher the chance of irreparable damage and subsequent harm to any inhabitants. The technology also significantly improves damping, meaning the vibrations of a seismic event are felt much less.
Tectonus’ device works through two outer plates and two inner plates that glide against one another to allow some movement but prevent the excessive movement that leads to dangerous residual drift. This allows the energy from an earthquake to be dissipated through friction between the plates as they slide against each other, and the patented plate shapes ensure that they return to the original resting position once an earthquake has finished.
The system can be used to reinforce any lateral load system of a building, whether that be a frame, wall, or column. Tectonus also has seismic anchors that can be used to secure large storage tanks.
According to Wayne Lawson, the Senior Project Manager, the goal in Tectonus was “adopting new technology that would both reduce potential future earthquake damage,” as well as allow buildings to be “reoccupied much faster”.
But what’s more is the Tectonus device vastly reduces the amount of concrete that’s often necessary to earthquake-proof new buildings, massively reducing the carbon footprint associated with building resilient structures.
Tectonus has deployed its technology in over 20 projects and is in the process of installing more in locations across the US, Japan, Canada, and New Zealand.
With climate change comes increased instances of extreme weather, and innovators are working hard to protect buildings against such potentially catastrophic conditions. Springwise has also spotted these glass fibre bars that could replace ageing concrete infrastructure as well as earthquake-resistant concrete.
Written By: Archie Cox