The painful earthquakes in Turkey, Morocco and Afghanistan in 2023, which caused severe losses beyond thousands of deaths and injuries and severe damage to infrastructure, confirm the importance of constructing earthquake-resistant buildings. Many technological solutions are now available to increase the resistance of buildings to earthquakes, which may protect lives or mitigate their psychological and economic effects and consequences. Many international universities are also racing to develop technologies that can help predict earthquakes using artificial intelligence.
Earthquake resistant designs
Earthquake-resistant design includes a range of technologies and methods to improve a building’s ability to withstand seismic forces. In an exclusive interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, architect Muhammad Obaid, founder and CEO of Emcon Architecture and Engineering Consultancy, explains the basic techniques and methods currently used in earthquake-resistant design. “Basic isolation systems range from shear walls, moment-resisting frames, anchorage systems, tuned mass dampers, viscous dampers, reinforced concrete, steel framing, flexible materials, energy dissipation devices, seismic retrofitting, design of non-structural components,” Obaid said. says. , and soil optimization, seismic hazard assessment, computer modeling and simulation, and building codes and standards.” He adds, “Engineers and architects combine these techniques and methods to create detailed earthquake-resistant designs designed to meet the specific needs and conditions of the building and its location, and the choice of techniques depends on factors such as the type of building, location, budget, and level of seismic risk.” “
Restoration of old buildings
Retrofitting existing buildings with sustainable, earthquake-resistant technologies is certainly possible, but it requires careful planning, engineering expertise and compliance with local regulations. Architect Muhammad Obaid, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, believes that “existing buildings can be modernized with sustainable and earthquake-resistant technologies, although the process varies in complexity depending on the specific technologies and the structural and architectural characteristics of the building.” Some of the considerations for retrofitting existing buildings with these techniques include “structural retrofitting, material improvements, architectural considerations, engineering expertise, building codes and permits, cost considerations, phased approach, seismic evaluation and integration of sustainable technologies,” he explains. “Operational challenges and issues vary from one building to another, and a customized approach is often necessary to achieve desired seismic and sustainability goals while minimizing disruption to building occupants,” he notes.
Stanford University researchers have developed an artificial intelligence model that can predict aftershocks after an earthquake with more than 80 percent accuracy.
The model was trained on a dataset of more than 700,000 earthquakes from around the world, and it was able to identify patterns in more complex data that traditional methods could not detect, the researchers report.
The model works by analyzing seismic activity data sources, geological data and machine learning algorithms to identify patterns and trends associated with the occurrence of earthquakes. It can predict the size and timing of a setback. The model is still under development, but it can be a valuable predictive tool that can improve the accuracy and timeliness of aftershock warnings and help save lives and property.
High precision Japanese model
Scientists at the University of Tokyo have succeeded in developing a model called Deep Learning Earthquake Prediction Model (DLEPM) that can predict with high accuracy by analyzing seismic activity patterns. The model was trained on a dataset of over 10 million seismic events from around the world. DLEPM analyzes a variety of data sources, including geographic data and machine learning algorithms. Japanese university researchers say it has proven to be very accurate in predicting. It is 80 percent successful in predicting magnitude 6 or greater earthquakes within a week of their occurrence.
“DLEPM” is still under development, but its potential is not limited to saving lives and property, but improving researchers’ understanding of earthquake processes and how and why they occur to develop new strategies to prevent them and mitigate their effects.
Prediction of crack friction
Another AI model that can predict future fault friction is called the Deep Learning Fault Friction Model (DLFFM), developed by scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory in the US.
Trained on a dataset of more than one million laboratory earthquakes, the model analyzes various data sources to identify patterns and trends associated with fault friction. They can be used to predict future friction at a given location, and how friction will change over time. DLFFM is still under development, but could be a valuable tool for improving the accuracy and timeliness of earthquake warnings.
The innovative Japanese method
Japan is located on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” and is known for frequent seismic activity, prompting the design and construction of earthquake-resistant buildings.
An architectural firm affiliated with Kengo Kuma used carbon fiber to stabilize buildings and protect them from earthquakes. These materials are made from thermoplastic carbon fiber, a material with amazing tensile strength that rivals traditional building materials like steel. The innovation provides additional reinforcement to the building structure as carbon fiber ropes extend through a metal frame above the eco-friendly roof and then drop down the sides to reach the ground. Carbon fibres, separated in curtain-like fashion, form doors that lead to interior spaces draped over time and covered in white fabric.
Cost of earthquake resistant buildings
Earthquake-resistant technologies can have a significant impact on the overall cost of a construction project. While these technologies are essential to ensure a building’s safety and resilience during seismic events, they can also add cost to a project. Architect Muhammad Obaid, founder and CEO of Imcon Architecture and Engineering Consulting, explains in an exclusive interview with Asharq Al-Awsad, “The degree of this influence depends on various factors, including specific technologies, the location of the project, the type of building and the level of seismic hazards. “Earthquake He believes that resisting technologies, materials and components, complexity of structural design, special systems, foundation systems, quality control and inspection, architectural modifications, seismic retrofits, local building codes, and degree of seismic risk affect construction costs. Project size and complexity and maintenance and life cycle costs.
While earthquake-resistant technologies add upfront construction costs, they also lead to long-term benefits. Architect Muhammad Obaid says, “These benefits include increased safety, lower repair and reconstruction costs after an earthquake, and a possible reduction in insurance premiums. Some regions offer incentives or subsidies to cover the initial costs of incorporating earthquake-resistant technologies.” Generally, building an earthquake-resistant building costs more than a conventional building. According to architect Muhammad Obaid, this cost is “10 percent to 30 percent more than the cost of building a conventional building.”
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