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Structural engineers raise the bar in earthquake resistance

Engineers at Heriot-Watt University have designed a ‘sacrificial device’ for buildings that absorbs the impact of earthquakes or explosions to prevent or reduce damage.

George Vasdravellis, assistant professor in structural engineering at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, has used experimental testing and computer simulations to demonstrate that his new system minimises the damage caused to buildings up to 10 storeys high in an area of high seismicity, with one in 475-year seismic events.

Now, he and his team are adapting the design for taller buildings to ensure that their minimal-damage steel frame design will address the disadvantages of conventional building design.

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