T. T. Soong Student Lecture Series
Roberto Leon, P.E., Ph.D.
David H. Burrows Professor
Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
Performance of URM and RC Structures in the Feb. 22 2011 Christchurch Earthquake: Lessons for USA Practice


The 6.3-magnitude earthquake that devastated the major New Zealand city of Christchurch on Tuesday, Feb. 22, took at least 163 lives and severely damaged much of the city's critical infrastructure. Dr. Roberto T. Leon was in Christchurch for a teaching fellowship at the University of Canterbury when the event occurred. In this talk he will describe the behavior of unreinforced masonry (URM) and reinforced concrete structures during the unusual series of events before and after this major shock. This earthquake has great lesson for USA practice. For example, the design of beam-to-column joints in reinforced concrete moment frames is one area where USA and New Zealand standards have diverged for many years. USA standards, and ACI 352 in particular, implicitly accept a high level of damage in the form of shear cracking and bar slip for joints subjected to large lateral load reversals. The New Zealand approach, since the mid- 1980s, has been to minimize that type of damage and concentrate the deformations in plastic hinges in the beams by carful detailing of the joint region. In addition to engineering information and insights, Dr. Leon will also discuss the rescue/recovery and b uilding assessment efforts in the aftermath.


Friday, March 2nd, 2012


11:00 AM EDT

Viewing Instructions

The Archived version of this lecture can be viewed here: Prof. Roberto Leon Lecture

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