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Earthquakes are among the most powerful natural disasters that can destroy homes and cities. Each year, many billion-dollar investments get destroyed by the quakes, and many lives lost. Nobody knows when and where they are likely to hit. Even Australia, which stands far from major tectonic plate boundaries, is not immune to these shakings. Even if you want to ignore the earthquakes, you will want to consider cyclones.
When constructing your house, you should ensure that you protect it from these forces that can bring it down in seconds. Regardless of your location on earth, you need a strong home that can withstand the external forces and the shaking of the ground during quakes.
These are five things you need to consider when constructing your home to ensure it can withstand the tremors.
Create a Flexible Foundation:
When earthquakes happen, the ground shakes in a horizontal motion. The back and forth movements cause tall buildings to sway, and if they have weak walls (like the ordinary brick and mortar), they crumble due to the stress and weight. With a flexible foundation, you suspend the building above the ground.
The foundation is made firm in the ground, and a layer of elastic material used to join the foundation and the base of the building. When tremors happen, the ground can move along with the foundation, but the main building remains steady and upright as if nothing happened.
Brick is one of the readily available and versatile building materials used in most constructions. However, in modern buildings meant to overcome the earthquake movements, you would need better materials that can withstand the force. Bricks are brittle, and they can break at any force that tries to bend them.
Although you can build with bricks and columns of concrete, the end-result is not the best for an earthquake-proof house. It is easy for bricks to form a weak point, where the force will bend the house, and it comes tumbling down.
Reinforced concrete can help to maintain a solid and robust house. This, however, means that you will need to set apart some sections of the house (maybe the centre or corners) to make for the reinforcement. Besides this, a developer can also install an HVAC system which can hold the centralized ac shaft firmly. With this, you can be sure that the house will be strong and not wobble with the movement of the earth’s surface.
Sometimes, what you need to sustain your house in the event of an earthquake is not to try and avoid it. Because of their structural design and material, cross braces will protect your house by transmitting the effective forces of earthquakes around the house and back to the ground, leaving little to no impact on the building. These work as shock absorbers, transmitting the vibrations equally. This behaviour prevents the impact of vibrations from piling up on a weak point and causing damage to the house.
Damping is the method used to absorb the shock caused by quakes. The dampers cannot completely stop the house from getting the vibrations, but they reduce the impact. Dampers work more like car suspensions that reduce the impacts of potholes or rough terrains.
There are two types of dampers that engineers use on the house to stop it from collapsing due to the impact of earthquakes. Piston dampers have silicon oil in them, and they are attached to the building on each level where the column meets the beam. When the quakes happen, the movement causes the piston to push against the oil and transform the energy to heat. The oil transmits the heat energy and reduces the impact of the force on the building.
The second type of dampers is the use of a huge pendulum. In this method, the building is left with a big space near the top. Then the engineers hang a heavy pendulum with attachments to various points on the corners so that it hangs in the middle. When the earthquake forces the house to sway, the weight moves in the opposite direction, and it helps to reduce the impact by up to 60%.
Shielding by Redirecting the Wave
In another approach, engineers come up with an idea of using a protective method which does not combat the force directly. Instead, when building the house, they use elastic material around the house, and they build rings around the house.
Plastic and concrete are the most useful items for this approach. You have to build concentric circles that go more than three feet below the foundation of the building. When there is an earthquake, the material reroutes the vibrations past the house following the direction of the circles. The waves then go past the house through the other end. The circular approach helps to protect the building regardless of the direction of the motion.
Earthquakes cause huge losses of investment and human life every year. It is inevitable for all modern buildings to consider protection against the effects of earth movements. The best approach to an earthquake-safe building is to employ as many methods as you can to maximize the effectiveness.