Students from UNAM to improve seismic design in Mexico City

A group of academics and students from the Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and the Autonomous University of Sinaloa (UAS) are working on a project to change Mexico City's Building Regulations to improve construction
Students from UNAM to improve seismic design in Mexico City
Through this project, they are trying to establish the best load combination possible to obtain structural reliability for different types of buildings - Photo: Germán Espinosa/EL UNIVERSAL
07/06/2018
19:54
Notimex
Mexico City
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Losses from last year’s seismic activity in Mexico City have led a group of academics and students from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and the Autonomous University of Sinaloa (UAS) to work on a study meant to define load factors to provide structural reliability in construction.

The engineering experts, along with legal and urban specialists, seek to establish new load factors for architectural designs, based on different types of structure, the type of soil they’re built on, and the dynamic properties of the buildings.

The research is entitled “New Formulation for Obtaining Optimal Load Factors for the Seismic Design of Buildings,” in which Juan Bojórquez Mora, an investigator from the Culiacán Engineering Faculty of the UAS, has participated. He recently informed on the project details through a press conference at the University.

Investigators and Students from the Colorado State University in the United States are also participating in the research, which is financed by the National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT). The investigation will have a duration of three years.

Bojórquez Mora explained that, when designing a building, several types of load are considered which include, for instance, the weight of the structure itself, the variable loads of the people entering and leaving the building, and even temperature and wind intensity.

“Through this project, we are trying to establish the best load combination possible to obtain structural reliability for different types of buildings,” he stated.

He added that the purpose of the research is to make buildings act similarly when exposed to different exterior conditions, regardless of the type of structure. At present, all building designs are based on a building regulation that doesn’t take such factors into account.

“There are no regulations which include what we are proposing here, separating the type of structure, dynamic properties, or the type of soil in which the foundations are to be built; regulations are usually made in very general terms, using only one criterion, without taking all factors into consideration,” he stressed.

The Doctor in Civil Engineering stated that the objective is to standardize a structural design which can guarantee good behavior before seismic events while optimizing resources and construction costs and, ultimately, reduce human and economic loss.

Due to its frequent seismic activity, Mexico City was chosen for the project to focus on. Constructions in the city tend to suffer damages because of earthquakes. The specialist mentioned that field research has already been conducted in different parts of Mexico City, using statistics and charts of previous earthquakes to assess seismic risk factors.

Juan Bojórques stated that one of the investigation’s main purposes is for the obtained results to be added in Mexico’s Building Regulation. A proposition will be made so that authorities integrate the results in their documents.

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