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Journal of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering

On-line version ISSN 2309-8775
Print version ISSN 1021-2019


ELVIN, A. Experimentally applied earthquakes and associated loading on a full-scale dry-stacked masonry structure. J. S. Afr. Inst. Civ. Eng. [online]. 2009, vol.51, n.1, pp.15-25. ISSN 2309-8775.

This paper describes some practical aspects of testing full-scale structures under realistic earthquake loading. A method of filtering earthquake signals so that they can be applied by servo-hydraulic test machines with limited displacement capabilities is presented. Two standard high-pass filtering methods, the moving average and the 4th order Butterworth, are considered. Both filters produce very similar results. The El Centro, Northridge and Llolleo earthquakes are considered as case studies. They were filtered and applied to a shaking table carrying a full-scale dry-stacked masonry structure. The table's displacements and accelerations were measured and compared with the filtered curves. The measured displacements showed good agreement with the filtered earthquake signal. The error in the actual applied (measured) accelerations was much greater due to the fact that the tests were carried out in displacement (not acceleration) control, and to the testing system noise (around 13 Hz). The response spectra for the filtered, unfiltered and measured accelerations for the three earthquakes were computed and compared with design earthquake spectra. It was found that at the natural period of the test structure considered, the response spectrum from the original earthquake accelerations and from the filtered/applied accelerations were almost the same.

Keywords : earthquake testing; filtering; full-scale testing; earthquake response spectra.

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