On April 25, 2015 shook in Nepal and the Himalayas the earth. The earthquake reached magnitude 7.8 on the Richter scale and occurred at 11:56 clock time. The next day was followed by an aftershock of magnitude 6.7, and more aftershocks followed up into June. For the people of Nepal, it was a disaster, on which they before they were neither prepared nor adequately protected. At the end of Nepal lamented over 10,000 deaths, and countless citizens of the state were homeless – the quake destroyed about 130,000 homes. This was followed by impressive acts of solidarity – from NGOs as well as by the international community. Nevertheless, the question arises, why in a time in which we are of the technology, is able to protect entire skyscrapers against earthquakes, such tragedies are possible. The answer is simple: Nepal is not a rich country. At the University of Brighton protection technology of buildings is currently being developed against earthquakes which can also be used in poorer countries.
Earthquake Protection in a big way
In recent years, in the field of seismic protection made great progress for buildings. Systems that can isolate the building from the ground surface, significantly reduce the damage caused by earthquakes, prevent if not entirely successful. The problem is that the systems can be only in new block and are also quite expensive. Thus, they are outside of major industrialized countries not really an option.
There is a need for a technology that already protect existing buildings from damage. This is not only in terms of the hundreds of thousands of homeless people in Nepal important, but above all because in an earthquake, a large number of fatalities collapsing buildings fall victim.
At the School of Environment and Technology at the University of Brighton as a technology is developed. A team led by Pierfrancesco Cacciola working on a so-called “vibration Barrier” (VIBA) to protect the same number of buildings against earthquakes. The barrier is buried in the ground and is able to absorb most of the shock waves generated by the seismic vibrations. According Cacciola so between 40 and 80 percent of the energy can be intercepted before they cause damage to buildings.
The Team Never are the building as individual units, but tried to be an integral part of cities look. The ViBas can protect individual buildings or groups of buildings, but they also serve as part of a network that can protect entire towns
VIBA:. This box protects against earthquakes
Viba itself is an unassuming little box in which a fixed, central mass is held by springs in position. In the event of seismic events the mass vibrates in the box and so absorbed a significant portion of the incident shock wave. The coupling with the surrounding buildings is carried out by the earth itself. The depth at which the VIBA is buried, depends on how deep the foundations of the building.
The device can be used not only to protect against earthquakes, but also to buildings of all the other vibrations to isolate as they arise, for example, by road or rail transport.
The size is a problem
Since the ViBas dispense with complex technology, they would be well suited for use in developing countries. However, there is a problem: The size. The units would have about half the mass of the building, which they protect. This again leads to a cost factor. Since the devices can be used, however, to protect a number of buildings, they could still turn out to be impractical.
Currently, there are the ViBas only in computer models. In order to use them in the real world, the team has yet to carry out some experiments in order to avoid damage due to side vibrations. A conducive possible way would be found to install the units.
In the long term, the ViBas but contribute to efficient protection of cities against earthquakes. They could prevent a proportion of deaths in Nepal under certain circumstances.