10th International Conference on Earthquake Resistant Engineering Structures
29 June - 1 July 2015
The 10th International Conference on Earthquake Resistant Engineering Structures (ERES) took place in Opatija, Croatia, organised by Wessex Institute, and chaired by Professor Carlos A Brebbia, Director of the Institute. The meeting was sponsored by three international journals, ie Sustainable Development and Planning; Computational Methods and Experimental Measurements; and Safety and Security Engineering.
It also had the collaboration of Professor Nenad Bićanić from the University of Rijeka and Emeritus Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Glasgow, who arranged a technical visit to the Seismic Research Laboratory in Rijeka.
The ERES series of conferences organised by WIT provide a unique forum for the discussion of basic and applied research in the various fields of earthquake engineering related to the design of structures. The conference began in Thessaloniki, Greece in 1997, followed by Catania, Italy in 1999; Malaga, Spain in 2001; Ancona, Italy (2003); Skiathos, Greece (2005); Bologna, Italy (2007); Cyprus (2009); Tuscany, Italy (2011); and A Coruña, Spain (2013).
Papers presented at previous ERES conferences are now freely available at the Wessex Institute digital library (http://www.witpress.com/elibrary), where they are a permanent record demonstrating the quality of the research presented at these conferences.
Major earthquakes and associated effects, such as tsunamis, continue to stress the need to carry out more research on those topics. A better understanding of these phenomena is required to design earthquake resistant structures and to carry out risk assessment and vulnerability studies. The problem of protecting the built environment in earthquake-prone regions involves not only the optimal design and construction of new facilities, but also the upgrading and rehabilitation of existing structures, including heritage buildings. The conference aimed to address these problems continuing to expand on the development of previous meetings in the series.
Opening of the Conference
The meeting was opened by Prof Carlos A Brebbia who referred to the objectives of the Wessex Institute, ie the Transfer of Knowledge at international level.
This – Carlos said – is reflected in the activities of WIT, including its conference series. The meetings bring together colleagues from many different backgrounds and regions of the world, leading to the creation of networks and the setting up of new transnational research projects. The role of WIT in this regard has been outstanding and a source of great pride to the Institute.
Carlos explained that in addition to the conferences, a series of other knowledge transfer activities take place in the Institute Campus, which is located in the New Forest, a National Park of outstanding beauty, south of London. The most prominent of these activities for the conference participants is the work of WIT Press, the publishing arm of the Institute. WIT Press produces the WIT Transaction series, in which conference papers appear. In addition, they publish a substantial number of monographs and state of the art books.
More recently WIT Press has launched a series of Journals, four of which are now well established (ie Sustainable Development and Planning; Design & Nature and Ecodynamics; Safety and Security Engineering; and Computational Methods and Experimental Measurements). The latest launched is the International Journal of Energy Production and Management, the first issue of which has now appeared. This latter publication is produced in association with the Ural Federal University in Russia. It addresses problems related to the increased amount of energy resources required by modern society, with the resulting technological and socio-political changes.
WIT, Carlos explained, is always attentive to the needs not only of the academic but also the industrial community. An important activity at the Institute is the research and development of better computer simulation programmes for the solution of engineering problems. At present this is focussed on the requirements of the energy and aerospace industries, the main source of support. The programmes, based on WIT research, are now widely employed for problems as diverse as the design of cathodic protection systems and offshore platforms, or crack propagation in engine components and the like. This versatility is the result of the generality of computer solvers based on the boundary element method, a technique that was developed by Carlos’ group at Southampton University, ie before the setting up of the Wessex Institute in 1986.
Carlos ended his opening remarks by reminding the presenters of the possibility of submitting an enhanced version of their work for publication in one of the Institute Journals. He also invited the participants to visit the WIT campus in the New Forest, next time that they are in the region.
The conference sessions covered a variety of topics such as:
- Building performance during earthquakes
- Experimental studies
- Numerical analysis
- Performance based design
- Dynamic analysis
- Case studies
The technical sessions started with a keynote address by Professor Maria Favvata of the Democritus University of Thrace in Greece, who spoke about key issues regarding interaction of adjacent RC structures.
A series of invited papers helped to enhance the meeting, ie
Experimental application of a wireless earthquake damage monitoring system using PZT transducers in reinforced concrete beams”, by Constantin Chalioris, Democritus University of Thrace, Greece.
“Innovative technologies in the upgrading of existing reinforced concrete framed structures”, by Laura Anania, University of Catania, Italy.
“Interaction of adjacent multistory frames at significant damage and near collapse limit states”, by Maria Favvata.
The delegates were invited to visit the Seismic Research Laboratory at the Civil Engineering School of the University of Rijeka. The Faculty is run by Prof Nenad Bićanić, Emeritus Professor from the University of Glasgow who formerly worked at Swansea University. He is now in charge of a research project on seismic assessment of discontinuous blocky structures at the University of Rijeka, where he has set up a new shaking table facility, comprising two dual axis tables, allowing for multiple excitation augmented by an advanced non-contact optical measurement system. They are working on a research project funded by the World Bank dealing with characterisation of dynamic sensitivity of multiblock structures.
The delegates were shown around the facilities and demonstrated how the shaking table works. They very impressed by the quality of the research carried out by Prof Bićanić’s team and the many applications that it could have. Carlos thanked Nened for having invited ERES 2015 to visit his laboratory and the excellent explanation and demonstration that was arranged for the delegates. He also hoped that the visit will lead to collaboration with Rijeka and, in particular, with Nened’s team.
The conference programme included many social activities to help the delegates make contact and develop joint programmes of research. A guided excursion to Pula, the largest city in Istria, located in the southern top of the peninsula, was also arranged. The city which has a rich history dating back to the times of the Roman Empire is known for its fishing and shipbuilding as well as for winemaking and tourism.
The delegates were taken to visit the Roman Amphitheatre, one of the largest such buildings in the world, which is still frequently used for many events and festivals. After that they continued sightseeing in the old City Centre and saw Porta Gemini and Porta Aurea, arriving afterwards to the Roman forum where there are two ancient buildings in excellent state of conservation, one a Roman temple, the other an administrative centre. Strolling through the City they were also able to appreciate other heritage buildings.
The visit to Pula was a truly remarkable experience which underlines the importance of the Croatian coastal region during the times of the Roman and Venetian empires. Opatija by contrast is a product of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, whose nobility built a series of luxurious villas along the coast.
The conference banquet consisted of two parts, starting with a boat excursion along the coast, followed by a dinner on the terrace of the best restaurant in town.
The boat took the delegates along the coast so that they could appreciate better some of the beautiful villas built by the Austrian-Hungarian aristocracy in Opatija. They had time, over drinks and snacks, to also see many of the new hotels in this rapidly developing part of the Dalmatian coast.
Following the excursion, the delegates proceeded to a five course dinner, accompanied by excellent local wines, including Malvasia white and Cabernet Sauvignon red. The Croatian cuisine is renowned for the variety of dishes and its outstanding fish, pasta and risotto recipes. The influence of different cultures is evident through the richness of the local cuisine.
Closing of the Conference
Carlos closed the meeting by reminding the participants that they have the option to submit an extended version of their paper for publication in one of the WIT Press journals.
He also hoped that the delegates would be able to visit the WIT Campus in the New Forest next time they are in the region.
Papers from the conference will also be hosted online at the WIT eLibrary in Volume 152 of WIT Transactions on the Built Environment (ISSN: 1746-4498 Digital ISSN: 1743-3509). For more details visit the WIT eLibrary at http://witpress.com/elibrary
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