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Seismic Performance of the Ceiling-Piping-Partition System

According to FEMA in the United States nonstructural systems represent 75% of the value of buildings exposed to earthquakes. The partial or full failure of such elements results economic loss. 
Among the various nonstructural systems, ceiling-piping-partition systems are widely used in many kinds of buildings and represent a major portion of nonstructural earthquake vulnerability. The project, Simulation of the Seismic Performance of Nonstructural Systems, was awarded after a nationwide competition among universities to conduct a NEES Grand Challenge project, and it will extend for five years.

Ceiling-piping-partition systems consist of several components and subsystems, have complex three-dimensional geometries and complicated boundary conditions because of their multiple attachment points to the main structure, and are spread over large areas in all directions. Their seismic response, their interaction with the structural system they are suspended from or attached to, and their failure mechanisms are not well understood. Moreover, their damage levels and fragilities are poorly defined due to the lack of system-level experimental studies and modeling capability. 
Ceiling-Piping-Partition System

Nonstructural Systems: Ceiling-Piping-Partition Systems
Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) research program of the National Science Foundation has recently awarded to the University of Nevada, Reno a $3.6 million Grand Challenge grant to study the seismic performance of ceiling-piping-partition nonstructural systems. This Grand Challenge project will integrate multidisciplinary system-level studies that will develop, for the first time, a simulation capability and implementation process for enhancing the seismic performance of the ceiling-piping-partition system. A comprehensive experimental program is proposed that will use the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) and the University at Buffalo (UB) NEES Equipment Sites to conduct subsystem and system-level full-scale experiments.

Integrated with this experimental effort will be a numerical simulation program that will develop experimentally verified analytical models; establish system and subsystem fragility functions; and, develop visualization tools that will provide engineering educators and practitioners with sketch-based modeling capabilities. Public policy investigations at the building and metropolitan level scales are designed to support the implementation of the research results.

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