Management Committee

Senior Personnel

Practice Committee



NSF Logo
Funding support provided by the
National Science Foundation
under Grant no.: CMMI-0721399
Additional support provided by
the following: Industry Contributors

CUREE Projects
Membership Information
Faculty Position Openings
Member Database
CUREE Newsletters

Projects : NEES Nonstructural : Document Archive

Simulation of the Seismic Performance of Nonstructural Systems

Posters and Presentations

Click image to enlarge
Simulation of the Seismic Performance of Nonstructural Systems: Damage Examples, System Experiments, and Test Bed Simulations

By Cody Sowa (University of Nevada, Reno)

The purpose of this Grand Challenge project is to study the behavior and response of nonstructural components including suspended ceilings, wall partitions, and piping networks in an earthquake. To do this a two story, two bay 60’ x 12’ x 24’ steel structure will be constructed and placed on three shake tables at the UNR-NEES laboratory. The building’s interior will be outfitted with a complete ceiling-piping-partition nonstructural subsystem in a complex three-dimensional configuration with complicated boundary conditions in order to model the exact interactions of the nonstructural systems with the actual structure in an earthquake simulation.

The objectives of this experiment are to fully understand the system-level response and failure mechanisms of nonstructural systems, the interaction of their components, and the impact of the structural response of the nonlinear structural system on the response of the nonstructural systems. Overall, the completed research will decrease the risks to life and property, limit the loss of functionality after an earthquake, reduce failure at the metropolitan scale, improve the community’s ability to recover after an earthquake, and enhance the resilience of the community. (Maragakis).

Read more: [download PDF version].

Click image to enlarge
NEES REU Project - Data Analysis and Assessment of Seismic Response of Seismic Response of Steel Moment Frame Buildings

By Alicia Echevarria (University of Nevada, Reno)

Mentors: Arash E. Zhagi (University of Nevada, Reno) and Joe Wieser (University of Nevada, Reno)

Current code for seismic design provides a highly refined design procedure for buildings. In contrast, the design procedure for the nonstructural components of a building is quite immature. The main objective of the REU project was to advance the design procedure for nonstructural systems.

The current design process for nonstructural components consists of an equation for the force demands on the nonstructural components. An integral part of this equation is the acceleration amplification factor which is currently a linear function of the ratio of floor height to the total building height (z/H). This study shows that the actual relationship is not linear for the higher floors of taller buildings, and presents a new equation for the acceleration amplification factor.

Read more: [download PDF version].

Click image to enlarge
A Numerical Model for Capturing the In-Plane Seismic Response of
Interior Metal Stud Partition Walls

By Richard R. Wood and Tara C. Hutchinson (UC San Diego)

In numerous recent earthquake events, the damage to nonstructural components and systems (NCSs) has exceeded the cost of structural damage in buildings. Nonstructural elements are systems and components within a building either attached to the floors or walls which are not anticipated to be load-bearing. While not intended to be part of the load-bearing system, these components and systems are subjected to the dynamic environment of the building undergoing seismic loading. One common type of NCS includes gypsum board partitiion walls. To understand the behavior of the walls, numerical wall models are calibrated from experimental work and placed into realistic building models to demonstrate their effects on the coupled response (building+partition wall).

Read more: [download PDF version].

© CUREE. All rights reserved.
Consortium of Universities for Research in Earthquake Engineering
last updated 06.30.14