Proposed New Approach for the Seismic Evaluation Testing of Suspended Ceilings Systems

Amir SJ Gilani, Ph.D.1, S.M. Takirov2, L.M. Tedesco3

1Senior Associate, Miyamoto International, West Sacramento, CA, 95691
2 NEES Site Manager, University of California Berkeley, Richmond, CA 94804
3 Senior Manager, Ceiling Systems, USG Corporation, Chicago, IL 60661

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The application of seismic protection devices such as dampers has fundamentally altered the landscape of earthquake engineering and design. Structures designed and built without such devices typically use a code-prescribed design that implies structural damage, loss of operation, and possible replacement at design-level events. By contrast, seismic design incorporating earthquake protection devices reduce demand on structural and nonstructural members. Viscous dampers are robust, cost-effective, and have a proven exceptional performance record in past earthquakes. For buildings with viscous dampers, the initial cost of their utilization is at least in part neutralized by reduction in cost of other structural members. The long-term performance is the key parameter used for evaluation. A code-based design structure, could require major repair or replacement after a design level earthquake. In contrast, structures properly designed with viscous dampers will likely only require minimum post-earthquake inspection and limited damage. An example design is presented as an illustration.

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