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Another innovative brand new online course coming to the University of Canterbury’s (UC) Quake Centre aims to clarify how to minimise the seismic damage to non-structural drywall partitions and how to design for lateral displacements, contributing to the overall resilience of buildings under earthquakes.




The development of this latest online course was overseen by UC Quake Centre Earthquake Research Engineer, Dr. Ali Sahin Tasligedik.


The course entitled, ‘Low Damage Non-Structural Drywall Design for Commercial Multi-Storey Structures: Concepts and Design Guide,’ aims to to identify the weaknesses of the existing non-structural wallsin a multi-storey buildings are. The concepts summarized in the course facilitates the design of these non-structural wall elements under lateral displacements..


Dr. Tasligedik explains. “Non-structural drywall partition systems are commonly used in commercial multi-storey buildings, often constructed using a light gauge inner steel or timber framing system and gypsum linings.”


“These drywall partitions are typically considered non-structural and are neglected during the seismic design of the structure. Since no seismic design is carried out for these elements, they have unpredictable or unknown seismic performance capability.”


“As a result, they are typically the first elements to suffer any kind of seismic damage well before any structural damage occurs,” says Dr. Tasligedik.


Modern seismic design philosophies require structures to be designed considering the life safety criteria at ultimate limit state (ULS). Lower intensity earthquakes (ie., Serviceability Limit State events or less) do not cause moderate or severe damage to the structural systems.


“In such cases,” says Dr. Tasligedik, “even though the life safety criteria are satisfied, the economic losses due to the damaged non-structural elements is an important problem and one that needs to be addressed for better seismic performance of buildings.”


And exactly what this new online course aims to help achieve.


“We have designed the course so that the engineer can choose the design drift level (given by the lateral deflections) and at which point the interaction between the drywall and the structural system commences.”


“The partition wall system will incur no or low damage up to the selected design drift level and will only start to engage the structural system and incur damage after the design drift level is exceeded.”













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