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November 26, 2009

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Home » Metro » Education

Students devise quake-proofing method

A STRUCTURAL component developed by Tongji University students to protect buildings in earthquakes has been used in the construction of the Expo Center and Hongqiao Integrated Transport Hub, school officials said yesterday.

The device - a buckling-restrained brace - works much like an electrical fuse, which protects the whole circuit when it gets overloaded by breaking itself. Similarly, the braces will receive most of the destructive power of an earthquake and break themselves to protect the buildings.

The idea has been widely used by the construction industry since 2000. But until now, devices have been imported to China, costing time and money.

"This research has broken up the dominance of overseas products in the Chinese market," said Sun Feifei, one of the project's guidance teachers.

"The new product is suitable and economic to be applied in huge projects," Sun said.

The device is three to 10 times more capable of withstanding pressure and 10 to 40 percent less expensive than previous products, Sun said.

Compared with earlier anti-seismic technology, it helped save 10 percent of the amount of steel used in Expo Center and decrease the cost of the structural component used in the Maglev station in the Hongqiao transport hub by 30 percent, or 3 million yuan (US$439,303), Sun added.

Guo Xiaokang, a PhD of the school's civil engineering department, kicked off the project with two other students in 2005. It has been put into practical use on several huge domestic projects since last year and got a national innovation prize last month.


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