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Published December 20, 2016 | Published + Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

Engineered metabarrier as shield from seismic surface waves


Resonant metamaterials have been proposed to reflect or redirect elastic waves at different length scales, ranging from thermal vibrations to seismic excitation. However, for seismic excitation, where energy is mostly carried by surface waves, energy reflection and redirection might lead to harming surrounding regions. Here, we propose a seismic metabarrier able to convert seismic Rayleigh waves into shear bulk waves that propagate away from the soil surface. The metabarrier is realized by burying sub-wavelength resonant structures under the soil surface. Each resonant structure consists of a cylindrical mass suspended by elastomeric springs within a concrete case and can be tuned to the resonance frequency of interest. The design allows controlling seismic waves with wavelengths from 10-to-100 m with meter-sized resonant structures. We develop an analytical model based on effective medium theory able to capture the mode conversion mechanism. The model is used to guide the design of metabarriers for varying soil conditions and validated using finite-element simulations. We investigate the shielding performance of a metabarrier in a scaled experimental model and demonstrate that surface ground motion can be reduced up to 50% in frequency regions below 10 Hz, relevant for the protection of buildings and civil infrastructures.

Additional Information

© The Author(s) 2016. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ Received: 30 September 2016. Accepted: 22 November 2016. Published online: 20 December 2016. We acknowledge Jean-Claude Tomasina, for the construction of the resonators tank. We acknowledge helpful discussions with Prof. E. Chatzi (ETH Zürich). Antonio Palermo & Sebastian Krödel: These authors contributed equally to this work. Author Contributions: A.P., S.K., A.M. and C.D. conceived the idea. A.P. and S.K. performed analytical/numerical simulations and designed and performed the experiments. A.P., S.K., A.M. and C.D. wrote the manuscript. The authors declare no competing financial interests. Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

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