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IIT Mandi creates a technique to evaluate earthquake-prone buildings in the Himalayas

The Hawk
November25/ 2022

Mandi (The Hawk): The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mandi has devised a method to evaluate the earthquake resistance of structures in the Himalayan region.

The approach is straightforward and enables decision-makers to prioritise any strengthening and repair work needed to increase the structure's resistance to earthquakes.

The Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering has published the study's findings. Sandip Kumar Saha, an assistant professor in the school of civil and environmental engineering at IIT Mandi, is the principal investigator and co-author of the study with Yati Aggarwal.

The continuing collision of the Indian and Eurasian plates makes the Himalayas one of the most earthquake-prone places in the world.

Periodic earthquakes have caused tremendous damage to these areas in terms of both human life and property loss.

More than 1,350 people died and at least 100,000 were injured in the Great Kashmir Earthquake of 2005, which also destroyed tens of thousands of homes and other structures and left millions of people homeless.

Although earthquakes cannot be avoided, damage can be reduced by designing structures such as buildings and other infrastructures to resist seismic activity.

Assessing the current vulnerabilities and strengths of existing structures is the first step in making sure they are earthquake-safe.

Conducting a thorough assessment of each building's seismic susceptibility is neither practical nor affordable.

Buildings are frequently subjected to Rapid Visual Screening (RVS) in order to examine building vulnerabilities on a broad scale.

To determine whether a structure is safe to occupy or needs immediate engineering work to improve seismic safety, RVS employs visual information.

Due to some characteristics that are specific to the buildings in this region, existing RVS methodologies, which are based on data from various nations, are not particularly suitable to the India Himalayan region.

For instance, there are several non-engineered constructions in the Himalayan region (as well as most of India).

Due to inadequate planning by the stakeholders and a lack of understanding among the local construction workers, there is also an unorganised distribution and growth of infrastructure. Therefore, it is imperative to utilise a region-specific RVS guideline that takes into account elements like local building methods, typology, etc.

"We have developed an effective method to screen reinforced concrete (RC) buildings in the Indian Himalayan region so that repair work may be prioritised according to the condition of the buildings and the risk from impending earthquakes can be minimised," Saha said in a statement describing the research.

Researchers have gathered a lot of information about the different kinds of buildings found in the Mandi region, as well as the typical characteristics of these buildings that are related to their earthquake vulnerability.

In order to create standards for determining the number of stories in mountainous buildings for their RVS, a numerical research was also conducted. Further, a better RVS approach was suggested based on the vulnerable traits found in buildings.

The single-page RVS form used in the approach created for screening buildings is easy to complete and doesn't require significant technical knowledge. It considers the many characteristics of vulnerability that are particular to the buildings in the case study area.

Buildings are given a seismic vulnerability score using calculations based on these observations, which separates the weaker structures from the stronger ones and facilitates improved maintenance and repair decision-making.

The calculations are made in a way that minimises the likelihood of human subjectivity or prejudice in the assessment of a building.

We have shown that the proposed method is effective for separating reinforced concrete buildings in hilly locations according to the damage that they are projected to undergo in the case of an earthquake, the researcher Aggarwal said when discussing the advantages of the study.

In addition to the Himalayan region's general earthquake risk, it is necessary and crucial to analyse the buildings there since a major earthquake is imminent due to the "seismic gap" of the last two centuries.

(Inputs from Agencies)