New Zealand on the right track with new earthquake-resistant building technologies

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By Marta Steeman

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Researchers from the University of Auckland, University of Canterbury in collaboration with New Zealand research centre QuakeCoRE and the Tongji University in Shanghai, China, built and tested in a laboratory at Tongji University a two-storey concrete-walled building that incorporated the new technologies.

These included post-tensioned "rocking walls", devices that dissipate energy like viscous dampers and lead dampers, and slotted beams.

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"We were able to test these different types of earthquakes and prove that under any combination or any type we can actually still get good performance," project leader, Dr Rick Henry, a senior lecturer in civil engineering at the University of Auckland and a QuakeCoRE associate investigator, said.

The building had no structural damage and only minor superficial cracks in the concrete after the shaking which was at times greater than the intensity of earthquakes in Christchurch and Kaikoura.

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