Fire Prevention & Protection

NSF Testing for Earthquakes

From the outside, the five-story multi-use building sitting at the University of California – San Diego looked like many others.  This structure, however, is unique.  On Tuesday, April 17 an earthquake shake test was performed in order to help researchers understand the impact of a seismic event and subsequent fire on the non-structural components and systems (NCS) inside.  Researchers and product manufacturers from a variety of institutions and industries have worked together for the past six years on this landmark research project.  

Hilti has had a local and global team involved in this project since the beginning.

“Upcoming results will add to Hilti’s extensive technical knowledge,” stated Dr. Stefan Nöken, member of the Executive Board for Fastening and Protection Systems. “This type of information will help our research and development teams around the globe design even more innovative products which withstand seismic events improving the safety of building occupants.”

Hilti is committed to research and development to help build a better future.  By actively participating in third-party research like the Building Non-structural Component Systems project, Hilti will continue to help professionals in the industry do their jobs even better by supporting better products and better design codes which will result in building even safer infrastructure.

The project is funded by the National Science Foundation, as well as public and private stakeholders. The purpose of the test is to understand how non-structural components and systems interact during an earthquake event.  Additionally, researchers will now evaluate the post-earthquake fire performance of the complete building system.  A full-range of NCS including a functioning passenger elevator, piping, sprinklers, HVAC, interior walls, suspended ceilings, cladding systems and building components as well as both passive and active fire systems were installed for evaluation.  The data collected will allow participants to check real loads seen during an earthquake and compare that to the current established design standards.  Additionally, fire protection systems findings will be made available to designers, contractors, and manufacturer’s alike so the learnings can be transferred to practice.