UB engineers visit Nepal to help make schools safer and more resilient

group of engineers and researchers at Nepal

Stavridis is in the center left of the photo with other researchers

Structural engineering professor and student represent UB in the SAFER project, aimed at making schools in Nepal more resilient

By Peter Murphy

Published July 31, 2018

Andreas Stavridis, a structural engineering assistant professor and his PhD student Supratik Bose traveled to Nepal to assist with efforts aimed at improving the resiliency of the buildings. This was the Stavridis’ third trip to Nepal since the 2015 earthquake.

“The 2015 Gorkha Earthquake caused a major catastrophe in Nepal in terms of casualties and economic losses. Among other buildings, schools in the country suffered severe damage and this posed significant threats for the safety of the students.”
Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering

“The 2015 Gorkha Earthquake caused a major catastrophe in Nepal in terms of casualties and economic losses,” says Stavridis. “Among other buildings, schools in the country suffered severe damage and this posed significant threats for the safety of the students.”

The majority of Nepali building stock, including schools, is made up of RC frame buildings. During their last trip, Stavridis and Bose delivered a workshop on the instrumentation and system identification of actual buildings and methods to assess the seismic performance of infilled reinforced concrete (RC) frames. In his lectures, Stavridis covered fundamental concepts, while Bose discussed the findings from recent studies he and other UB graduate students conducted focusing on the Nepali buildings.

Stavridis also examined the advantages and limitations of different non-linear analysis methods during their workshop, including one he developed with students at UB. “Determining the most accurate and efficient, non-linear analysis methods has been a major challenge for structural engineers,” he says. Stavridis’ non-linear analysis method was adopted by the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2017 and is included in ASCE 41-17, the document used by practicing engineering in the US.

While in Nepal, the UB engineers collaborated with researchers and engineers on a project involving the Seismic Safety and Resilience of Schools in Nepal, known as SAFER. This initiative is a joint project led by the Nepali Ministry of Education, University of Bristol and the National Society for Earthquake Technology-Nepal (NSET).UB and several other universities and organizations participate in the project. The group is working on five different work packages, including, experimental and numerical studies focusing on inexpensive innovative repair and retrofit techniques suitable for Nepal.

In his capacity as principal investigator to a United States Geological Survey (USGS)-funded project, Stavridis and Bose met with NSET engineers and discussed the progress to-date and information needed to successfully complete the project. The UB team obtained, and is currently analyzing over 160,000 field surveys of the area. Using the surveys and recommendations from NSET, the team will design three prototype structures to enhance the resiliency of buildings in Nepal.

“The prototype structures will be used for the development of fragility curves,” Stavridis says, “which, in combination with the corresponding damage surveys we collected, will lead to the development of shake maps – the deliverable for this project.”