Earthquake Research

Seismic design

We usually only hear about earthquakes when they are really devastating, but in reality they’re happening everyday all over the world.

To prepare for this, the construction industry’s codes (IBC and ASCE 7) now also require non-structural elements and technical installations to be seismic resistant. This includes public buildings such as hospitals, shopping malls, hotels, and schools.

earthquake research; seismic design

The physics of an earthquake

  • An earthquake generates additional loads on the structure in all directions as well as on piping, ductwork or cable trays.
  • Building codes (such as IBC, ASCE 7, CBC) provide simplified methods to calculate the seismic loads based on an equivalent static analysis.
  • Typical supports are designed for vertical loads but do not take into account horizontal loads.
  • Seismic restraints allow systems to resist horizontal forces caused by earthquakes. Bracing in longitudinal and transversal directions keeps systems in place and secure.

Hilti earthquake research and testing

A proactive approach to seismic performance

Working with the University of California, San Diego

At Hilti we believe strongly in research and development, running our own labs and testing facilities and working with partners all over the world.

For seismic testing we’ve been working with our partners at the Department of Structural Engineering at the University of California, San Diego. In a five-story building at the Network of Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) shake table facility, Hilti engineers measure integrated building systems in lifelike simulations of earthquake forces. 

Using sensors and video cameras, we analyze the effects of seismic activity on anchor and firestop performance. So when you choose Hilti products in seismic applications, you can trust them to meet or exceed not only the appropriate regulations—but also your expectations. It’s an exciting project where we’ve been conducting full-scale performance tests on our products using the largest vibrating table in the world – a specially constructed five-story building subjected to a series of shocks at 1:1 on the Richter scale.

It’s been a great opportunity to research and design our seismic products. This includes all system which reduce installation time and provide quality performance.

The videos below offer insight into the Hilti seismic research—along with the potential impact for your applications.

  • Base isolator tests

    Gain a better understanding of how base isolators can reduce the impact of seismic events—even those resulting in building shifts as extreme as +/- 30 centimeters off of center.

  • Fixed foundation tests

    If the building where you are working is an older structure that does not include base isolators to reduce the impact of a seismic event, learn more about the role anchors and firestop systems can play in enhancing safety in similar environments.

Post-earthquake fire performance

There’s a big difference between evaluating firestop performance in a laboratory versus testing it in an actual building subjected to simulated earthquake forces. Because our earthquake research includes building firestop systems subjected to lifelike simulation of 7.9 and 8.0 magnitudes, you can see how to maximize your firestop system protections for post-earthquake challenges.