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Published 2010 | Accepted Version
Book Section - Chapter Open

Detecting failure events in buildings: a numerical and experimental analysis

  • 1. ROR icon California Institute of Technology


A numerical method is used to investigate an approach for detecting the brittle fracture of welds associated with beam -column connections in instrumented buildings in real time through the use of time-reversed Green's functions and wave propagation reciprocity. The approach makes use of a prerecorded catalog of Green's functions for an instrumented building to detect failure events in the building during a later seismic event by screening continuous data for the presence of waveform similarities to one of the prerecorded events. This study addresses whether a set of Green's functions in response to an impulsive force load can be used to approximate the response of the structure to a localized failure event such as a brittle weld fracture. Specifically, we investigate whether prerecorded Green's functions can be used to determine the absolute time and location of a localized failure event in a building. We also seek to differentiate between sources such as a weld fracture that are structurally damaging and sources such as falling or colliding furniture and other non-structural elements that do not contribute to structural failure. This is explored numerically by comparing the dynamic response of a finite-element cantilevered beam model structure to a variety of loading mechanisms. A finite-element method is employed to determine the behavior of the resulting elastic waves and to obtain a general understanding of the structural response.

Additional Information

We would like to thank donors to the Hartley Fellowship for their support.

Attached Files

Accepted Version - 2010_9USN10CCEE_Heckman_Kohler_Heaton.pdf


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August 22, 2023
March 11, 2024