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Model Analyzes Shape-Memory Alloys for Use in Earthquake-Resistant Structures

Model Analyzes Shape-Memory Alloys for Use in Earthquake-Resistant Structures Recent earthquake damage has exposed the vulnerability of existing structures to strong ground movement. At the Georgia Institute of Technology, researchers are analyzing shape-memory alloys for their potential use in constructing seismic-resistant structures.

“Shape-memory alloys exhibit unique characteristics that you would want for earthquake-resistant building and bridge design and retrofit applications: they have the ability to dissipate significant energy without significant degradation or permanent deformation,” said Reginald DesRoches, a professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Tech.

Georgia Tech researchers have developed a model that combines thermodynamics and mechanical equations to assess what happens when shape-memory alloys are subjected to loading from strong motion. The researchers are using the model to analyze how shape-memory alloys in a variety of components — cables, bars, plates and helical springs — respond to different loading conditions. From that information, they can determine the optimal characteristics of the material for earthquake applications.

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