asked questions ::
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it possible to predict earthquakes?
Perhaps, with the state-of-the-art
technologies it is possible to find the
probability of earthquake occurrence for
a given place, provided enough seismic
data is available. But it is not
possible to exactly predict the
earthquake when it is going to strike,
where exactly its epicenter is going to
be located, what would be its magnitude,
it Possible to prevent earthquakes?
earthquakes destructive and devastating?
Because they destroy infrastructure.
Hence, they are devastating.
earthquakes kill people?
- not directly!
how people are killed during
building structures in which they live,
during the earthquake kills people.
Hence, the real culprits are our
construction practices and poor quality
of construction. The conventional
buildings instantly collapse without any
warnings, during the unpredictable and
it possible to build totally earthquake
proof building structure?
It is not
feasible and economical to design and
construct totally earthquake proof
building structures, particularly to
withstand very severe earthquakes of
magnitude above 8.0 (Richter Scale) But
it is very much possible to design and
construct earthquake resistant building
structures, though they may suffer huge
damage under the influence of very
severe earthquakes, they may not
suddenly collapse and will not kill
is the best building construction
practice to resist earthquakes?
is shear wall concept in building
this concept the walls are not only
designed to resist gravity / vertical
loads (due to its self-weight and other
living / moving loads), but they are
also designed for lateral loads of
earthquakes / cyclones. The walls are
structurally integrated with roofs /
floors (diaphragms) and other lateral
walls running across at right angles,
thereby giving the three dimensional
stability for the building structures.
can it be proved that shear wall
structural system of 3-dimensions can
effectively withstand the earthquake
example to prove it is a railway
compartment or a bus coach, which will
be subjected to lot of vibrations and
base excitations (like artificial
earthquakes) during their service
period. They are built of so-called
stiffened plate system. That means, it
is made of a simple steel thin plate
stiffened (strengthened / reinforced) by
a grid of steel structural angles or
channels like in shear wall system, made
of concrete or masonry wall panels,
which are reinforced, with a grid of
steel rods. Hence, a shear wall system
can effectively withstand earthquake
are the shear wall structures superior
to the conventional construction
practices of load bearing masonry
structures and / or Reinforced Cement
Concrete (RCC) framed structure(of
concrete beams, columns and slabs)?
load bearing masonry is very brittle
material. Due to different kinds of
stresses such as shear, tension,
torsion, etc., caused by the
earthquakes, the conventional
unreinforced brick masonry collapses
instantly during the unpredictable and
The RCC framed structures are slender,
when compared to shear wall concept of
box like three-dimensional structures.
Though it is possible to design the
earthquake resistant RCC frame, it
requires extraordinary skills at design,
detailing and construction levels, which
can not be anticipated in all
On the other hand even moderately
designed shear wall structures not only
more stable, but also comparatively
quite ductile. In safety terms it means
that, during very severe earthquakes
they will not suddenly collapse causing
death of people. They give enough
indicative warnings such as widening
structural cracks, yielding rods, etc.,
offering most precious moments for
people to run out off structures, before
they totally collapse.
the shear wall building structures time
tested and with stood the earthquakes
anywhere in the world?
much! After the post-earthquake surveys
for over three decades, American
earthquake experts have reported that,
"not a single concrete building
containing shear walls has collapsed and
no lives were lost in the shear wall
buildings, during a dozen moderate to
severe earthquakes through out the world
starting with the Skopje earthquake of
1963 through the Armenian earthquake of
to build shear wall building structures?
framed structures, which are to be built
of columns, beams and slabs, the shear
walls are to be ideally built of RCC
walls and slabs. Though constructing RCC
slabs are conventional, casting RCC
walls are not! RCC walls are relatively
quite costlier and it requires a special
system of formwork, calling for more
investment. In this context, Reinforced
Hollow Concrete Block Masonry (RHCBM)
construction technique is an optimal
solution, both from the angles of cost
effectiveness and structural safety.
is RHCBM technique?
are constructed by reinforcing the
hollow concrete block masonry, by taking
advantage of hollow spaces and shapes of
the hollow blocks. It requires
continuous steel rods (reinforcement)
both in the vertical and horizontal
directions at structurally critical
locations of the wall panels, packed
with the fresh grout concrete in the
hollow spaces of masonry blocks.
is RHCBM technique used?
parts of USA and other seismically prone
countries of the world, this
construction technique is popularly
there any research work done on this
technology and is it being utilised in
Structural Engineering Research Centre,
Madras, (SERC) has recently completed a
sponsored research project,
"Development of disaster resistant
building construction system with RHCBM
and compared it with conventional
construction systems". SERC proved
that RHCBM is not only structurally
efficient construction technique, but
also cost effective construction system.
In some of the construction projects of
India, RHCBM technique is being utilised
from the angle of ease of construction.
But it requires good awareness to
popularise that, RHCBM is an effective
earthquake resistant construction system
without involving additional costs and
any special skills, materials,
equipment, machinery, etc...