Brief 

Researchers at the University of Technology Sydney have developed a system that protects buildings from surface fault ruptures by disconnecting piles with an interposed layer of soil that is reinforced with geotextiles. “The geotextiles embedded in the compacted sand and gravel act as isolator and reduce the impact of large ground deformations due to fault rupture,” explains Associate Professor Behzad Fatahi.

 

Insight

University of Technology Sydney researchers have developed a solution to protect buildings sitting on deep foundations from earthquakes resulting in surface fault ruptures. Their findings show a composite foundation system using inexpensive polymer materials can significantly improve the safety of infrastructure and substantially decrease fatality and damage due to large ground deformations.

Surface rupturing during earthquakes is a significant risk to any structure that is built across a fault zone that may be active, in addition to any risk from ground shaking. Surface rupture can affect large areas of land, and it can damage all structures in the vicinity of the fracture. Although current seismic codes restrict the construction in the vicinity of active tectonic faults, finding the exact location of fault outcrop is often difficult.

In many regions around the world, engineering structures such as earth dams, buildings, pipelines, landfills, bridges, roads and railroads have been built in areas very close to active fault segments. Strike-slip fault rupture occurs when the rock masses slip past each other parallel to the strike.

A team of researchers led by Associate Professor Behzad Fatahi and supported by PhD candidate Habib Rasouli from the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the UTS Faculty of Engineering and IT has recently found a ground-breaking solution to protect buildings sitting on deep foundations subjected to large ground deformations due to strike-slip fault rupture.

 

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