Simple model underpins building safety in the wake of landslides

May 08, 2014

A simple model that can quickly determine which masonry buildings are most at risk of collapse following a serious landslide has been developed by researchers in Italy. They publish details in a forthcoming issue of the International Journal of Structural Engineering.

Fabrizio Palmisano of Politecnico Bari, and Angelo Elia of PPV Consulting, also in Bari, Italy, explain how landslides can represent a significant risk to human life in many parts of the world. Landslides are common in the southern Apennines of Italy causing frequent damage to buildings and infrastructure. There are, the team points out, many ways to assess structural damage and the risk of further damage or collapse in the aftermath of a serious landslide. However, these approaches are often longwinded and require a large amount of active data input from the affected sites as well as sophisticated engineering modelling tools to interpret the data.

The researchers hoped to provide a much simpler model that could give rescue workers and structural engineers a first approximation to the most seriously affected buildings. The problems facing those buildings might then be prioritized for more sophisticated modelling to determine what needs to be done to save the building or to make the decision to demolish it completely for the sake of safety. The researchers have turned to the load path method (LPM) that gives them a rapid quantitative assessment of a damaged masonry building without losing sight of the obvious visual clues offered to monitoring the building. The LPM can be used to quickly reveal problems with a building's foundations compromised by the landslide as well as looking at the integrity of stonework and the mortar that holds bricks together.

A theoretical comparison with actual case studies in which more sophisticated models were used, such as the finite element method (FEM), is now revealing how effective the LPM can be in assessing structural integrity, or lack thereof, following a .

Explore further: Drones used to assess damage after disasters

More information: "Behaviour of masonry buildings subjected to landslide-induced settlements" in Int. J. Structural Engineering, 2014, 5, 93-114

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Drones used to assess damage after disasters

Apr 11, 2014

Researchers of the University of Twente use a new method to map structural damage after disasters. A remote-controlled drone with a regular high-quality camera takes a large amount of pictures of a building. ...

Retrofitting earthquake protection could save lives

Jun 05, 2013

Whether or not a building collapses and claims many lives during an earthquake is a matter of structure and statistics, according to researchers in Turkey. Writing in the International Journal of Emergency Management, civil ...

Should we better prepare for earthquakes?

Dec 15, 2011

University of Adelaide researchers are leading an international project to help identify buildings most vulnerable to earthquakes and the best ways to strengthen them.

Construction strategies to avoid progressive collapse

Mar 16, 2007

The 1995 terrorist attack on the Oklahoma City Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building heightened concern on the vulnerability of multi-story buildings to “progressive collapse,” the spread of an initial local ...

Urbanization exposes French cities to greater seismic risk

Mar 07, 2014

French researchers have looked into data mining to develop a method for extracting information on the vulnerability of cities in regions of moderate risk, creating a proxy for assessing the probable resilience of buildings ...

Recommended for you

Intelligent materials that work in space

Oct 23, 2014

ARQUIMEA, a company that began in the Business Incubator in the Science Park of the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, will be testing technology it has developed in the International Space Station. The technology ...

Using sound to picture the world in a new way

Oct 22, 2014

Have you ever thought about using acoustics to collect data? The EAR-IT project has explored this possibility with various pioneering applications that impact on our daily lives. Monitoring traffic density ...

User comments : 0