Measured to the Max

by Robert Nigbor, (M.ASCE), Pres.; Agbabian Associates Inc., Pasadena, CA,
Ahmet Cakmak, (M.ASCE), Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Princeton Univ., Princeton, NJ,
Robert Mark, Prof. of Architecture & Civ. Engrg.; Princeton Univ., Princeton, NJ,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1992, Vol. 62, Issue 11, Pg. 44-47

Document Type: Feature article


Engineers looking to model the behavior of a structure under seismic conditions often ignore the best source of data available: the building itself. Full-scale measurements of vibrations and frequency responses are not just a tool for the researcher and are often neither complicated nor expensive. In some cases, such as the old Commodore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, measurements can tell engineers about the actual condition of the building, as opposed to what they can estimate from the plans. In others, such as the Golden Gate Bridge, in San Francisco, full-scale vibration tests have served to tune numerous models of the bridge's behavior, telling researchers where they're on and where they're off. And in some cases, such as work underway to design a system to support a monument like Turkey's Hagia Sophia, engineers must be absolutely sure that their work is in line with the realities of the building, not just the model.

Subject Headings: Structural behavior | Bridge tests | Structural models | Building design | Vibration | Seismic tests | Commercial buildings | Business districts | Los Angeles | California | United States

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