NEES Nonstructural Grand Challenge Project:
Simulation of the Seismic Performance of Nonstructural Systems

This project integrated multidisciplinary system-level studies to develop a novel simulation capability and implementation process for enhancing the seismic performance of the ceiling-piping-partition system.

The capstone experimentation in the NEES Grand Challenge Project on the Seismic Response of Nonstructural Systems began in November 2012, using a two-story test bed frame with tunable dynamic properties mounted on multiple shake tables at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). The testing, under the direction of Principal Investigator Professor Manos Maragakis, who also serves as the Dean of the College of Engineering at UNR, subjected full-scale partitions, suspended ceilings, and sprinkler piping layouts, to earthquake motions. The tests were designed to investigate the system-level interactions of these nonstructural components under environments of high accelerations and/or large drifts.

The dimensions of the test bed structure are
23 ft high by 12 ft wide by 60 ft long.

The system experiments were conducted in a multistory building test bed to establish the following:

  • • response of the nonstructural components, as part of a system under large drifts/accelerations.
  • • interactions within and between the nonstructural components.
  • • Interactions between the components and the structure.
  • • Effects of structural yielding on response of the nonstructural components.

NEES Nonstructural Technical Reports generated on project findings to date are available for download as PDFs.

MCEER-10-0004 – Modeling and Seismic Evaluation of Nonstructural Components: Testing Frame for Experimental Evaluation of Suspended Ceiling Systems, by A.M. Reinhorn, K.P. Ryu and G. Maddaloni

MCEER-11-0005 – Experimental Seismic Evaluation, Model Parameterization, and Effects of Cold-Formed Steel-Framed Gypsum Partition Walls on the Seismic Performance of an Essential Facility, by R. Davies, R. Retamales, G. Mosqueda and A. Filiatrault

Hard copies of this report are also available through the MCEER publications catalog at:

CUREE, Consortium of Universities for Research in Earthquake Engineering.