Structural integrity can be compromised by even the slight jolts that we experience due to the movement of tectonic plates. Bringing the structural integrity back to the desired level can cost a fortune, which is why the development made at California’s Stanford University is remarkable. The team has come up with a new method to construct homes that are earthquake-resistant. The best part about this approach is that it is economical and easy to implement.
The team constructed a small two-storeyed home model with the ‘unibody’ design. This design approach is different because drywall is not screwed to the home’s wooden frame, in fact, it is attached with glue and then a strong mesh and additional screws are made use of to affix and keep the whole assembly in place.
However, the most significant change was the fact that this home was not placed on the conventional foundation but on ‘seismic isolators’. These isolators include 12 sliders made of plastic and steel that measure 4.5-in diameter with plates and bowl-shaped dishes created from galvanized steel placed underneath.
The model home was then placed on the earthquake simulator where it was tested. The team says that the home was subjected to 3 times the intensity of a 6.9 magnitude quake and the house was able to withstand the turbulence, thanks to the seismic isolators. It slid safely from right to left, but took no hit at all. Upon cranking up the earthquake simulator to maximum, the house displayed significant signs of damage though.
Although the concept of seismic isolators isn’t something new, the current ones are too pricey and this new development is more viable in economical terms. According to the creators, it would add $15,000 to the cost of a standard 185 sq. meters full-sized house if this technology were incorporated into it. It would take the contractor another extra 4 days to install this setup.
Watch this video to know how it works.