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Day 7: Final Round


Final Round

november 3, 2017

During my last day out in the field, we were fortunate to journey slightly north of the Miramontes area from yesterday and investigate several buildings.

We started the morning at Zapata 285 which housed a book distribution company comprised of two structures: one was a reinforced concrete (RC) frame building and behind it a steel braced frame building with concrete beams and slabs. The RC frame exhibited significant structural damage including a separation crack to a front column and flexural damage to the concrete core wall system. Most of the masonry infill walls either had large shear cracks or suffered a partial-to-complete collapse. In comparison, the steel braced frame building performed well and the only visible damage was non-structural. The owner of the building was extremely informative and eager to help us learn from his experience during the earthquake.    









Zapata 285: (Left) Separation Crack in Column, (Right) Typical Damage to Masonry Infill Wall

Later in the day, we came upon what I would consider both the most interesting and the most devastated (still-standing) building of the trip, Azores 609. This building had a classic seismic design deficiency: the first floor level was left susceptible to a soft story failure due to the use of incredibly slender columns (around 7.5 in x 13.75 in). Our team concluded that the damage progression during the earthquake consisted of several columns failing in shear in the weak-axis direction, and due to loss of their shear capacity they subsequently buckled under the gravity load of the building. We did note that the building floor plan appeared symmetrical about the entrance and there was similar damage pattern across the entire soft story. In the images below, you can see the precaution that was taken to carry the building gravity load via shoring.









Azores 609: Extensive Column Damage Requiring Shoring (Left) Shear and (Right) Global Buckling


After returning from my last day in the field, the team spent time documenting our findings in forms developed by the American Concrete Institute (ACI) Reconnaissance Committee. With Dr. Kreger as the chair of the committee and Dr. Breña being funded by ACI, it was important that we track important data about the buildings that can later be analyzed to evaluate the current seismic provisions for the reinforced concrete building code that we use in the United States.

Today’s interesting building finds was a great way to end the trip and my first reconnaissance experience. Tomorrow is my shuttle ride back to Benito Juárez airport, a flight to Los Angeles, a shuttle to Santa Maria, and a car ride to San Luis Obispo. Only one week from when I started, I will be back in the design labs of Building 21. Expect photo galleries and videos from the trip, coming soon.

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