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Rocking wall systems have huge potential in post-quake Christchurch


University of Canterbury PhD student Reza Kordani has been awarded a UCQC scholarship in support of his doctoral studies, which centre on the dynamics of new, damage-resistant rocking wall systems.


This type of rocking wall system enables structures to respond to large earthquake demands without suffering significant amounts of structural damage.


Reza’s research will examine how structures with rocking walls respond to seismic activity and focus on the implementation of design guidelines that will provide support to engineers who are utilizing this design approach in new structures.


Reza is working with Dr. Geoff Rodgers, Distinguished Professor in Mechanical Engineering Geoff Chase and Associate Professor of Civil Engineering Greg Macrae. As Dr. Rodgers explains, the devastating seismic events in Christchurch and wider Canterbury have provided a unique opportunity.


“We have engineers and developers more interested in alternate design methodologies than anywhere else in the world right now. We are focused on supporting that as best we can, and working with the engineering industry to ensure that the rebuilt Christchurch is much more resilient to future earthquakes.”


Reza is also thrilled about the possibilities for the future of Christchurch.


“I’m really excited about working on a project with direct relevance to the Christchurch rebuild and the creation of more resilient structures. To have people interested in using the research outcomes, is great motivation.”


While new damage-resistant, structural design techniques have received significant research worldwide over the last 10-15 years, there is still reluctance among engineers to incorporate these techniques into new structures. The main barrier to this is the lack of clear guidelines and understanding of the different mechanisms of structural response, which are induced in a structure with rocking walls.


A major focus of Reza’s project is to bridge this gap, by relating research outcomes to metrics that are of direct relevance to the local engineering industry. As such, his research is being undertaken in collaboration with local engineers, including Sean Gledhill at Aurecon. Sean is actively involved in the research and provides important input to ensure research outcomes are directly relevant to the industry. Sean is also involved in the possible pathway to implementation of the design approaches developed.












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