The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Monday, 16 February 2015 09:37cat

New earthquake resistant technology in steel castings solves architectural restrictions

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Queen Richmond Centre, Toronto Canada Queen Richmond Centre, Toronto Canada

A new pioneering technique in steel castings fabrication provides enhanced earthquake resistance and allows implementation of unique architectural designs. The new technique, initially developed in Canada is currently applied in many construction projects across the country and the U.S.

Cast Connex, a spin-off of doctoral research started by University of Toronto Engineering alumnus Michael Gray in collaboration with Carlos de Oliveira, is behind this new development in steel castings design and fabrication. For the steel castings formation, liquid steel is poured into special moulds which are then left to harden. The latest model of the castings looks like a ladder with fingers between the rungs and connectors at both ends of the diagonal brace members. Fingers serve to transfer brace load via bolts through their ends. In case of an earthquake, fingers absorb earthquake energy by deforming in flexure, therefore protecting the building from excessive earthquake loads. 

The new technology is suitable for new constructions, such as Audain Art Museum in Whistler BC, as well as retrofitting existing ones, such as the St Aubin High School in Baie-Saint-Paul Quebec, where the strongest earthquake in Canadian history has ever been recorded.

To emphasize the applicability of this new technology, Michael Gray of Cast Connex stated : "What we do is unique because casting has been used for mechanical applications for a long time, but we're among the first to use it in structural engineering. It's attractive because of its potential for free form geometries, meaning you can construct non-traditional designs and unlikely angles". 



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