Nonstructural Components Research and Resources
Nonstructural components represent 75 percent of the value of typical buildings exposed to earthquakes in the US. Nonstructural components include all types of building contents, such as mechanical and electrical equipment, architectural components, piping and ceiling systems.
MCEER investigators have been studying nonstructural components as part of the Center's Hospital Research Program, because regulations such as California’s SB 1953 legislation will require continuous operations of hospital facilities during and after an earthquake beginning in the year 2030. Other building codes, including the 2003 and 2006 International Building Codes, require certification measures for the installation of nonstructural components systems. These regulations affect as many as 47 states in the US.
UB Structural Engineering and Earthquake Simulation Laboratory (SEESL) Capabilities
The University at Buffalo (UB), The State University of New York, has expertise and facilities to help address nonstructural components research, testing and qualification. The university is home to the $21.2 million state-of-the-art Structural Engineering and Earthquake Simulation Laboratory (SEESL).
The 25-thousand-square-foot SEESL, part of the $81.9 million George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES), houses twin moveable shake tables, each with a 50-metric ton payload. SEESL is also home to the world’s first and only Nonstructural Components Simulator (UB-NCS). The UB-NCS is a unique test apparatus that allows researchers to replicate building floor motions on adjacent building stories. It was developed specifically for performance testing and qualification of building equipment, systems, anchorages, and contents, specifically for vertically distributed nonstructural systems such as piping, venting, etc. Planned tests using the NCS and the SEESL's twin shake tables include a series on ceiling-piping-partition systems. The experiments will be conducted as part of a $3.6 million NEES Grand Challenge award led by the University of Nevada at Reno.
(compiled by MCEER Information Service)
The nonstructural components simulator allows researchers to replicate building floor motions.
On October 12, 2007, MCEER, NEES and SEESL hosted a Symposium on Seismic Regulations and Challenges for Protecting Building Equipment, Components & Operations. The program marked the dedication of the University at Buffalo's new Nonstructural Components Simulator (UB-NCS). The Symposium was followed by a dedication and demonstration of the UB-NCS, which provides unique capabilities to help address equipment qualification issues.
Event Summary (pdf)
More information about the UB-NCS, along with videos of the demonstration tests, are available from the SEESL website's NCS page.