RAPID/Collaborative Research: Japan-U.S. Collaboration on the Seismic Resilience of Wood-frame Building Systems Grant uri icon


  • Light-frame wood single- and multi- family dwellings represent the majority of the residential building stock in the United States and form an important underpinning infrastructure for national welfare. Although significant progress has been made during the past decade to better understand the seismic response of wood-frame building systems and identify sustainable seismic retrofit methods, most studies have focused only on the structural system and nonstructural component response. Building interactions with lifeline components (e.g., utility piping systems) and soil-structure interaction during seismic events have not been widely investigated either analytically or experimentally. This Grant for Rapid Response Research (RAPID) will support a team of researchers from U.S. universities to collaborate with researchers from Japanese universities on experimental seismic studies of wood-frame building systems that will be conducted at the world''s largest shake table (E-Defense) in Miki, Japan in early 2019. The goal of this RAPID project is to collect time-sensitive data and plan payload tests for the experimental studies at the E-Defense shake table on two full-scale, three-story wood-frame buildings as a sub-project of the "Tokyo Metropolitan Resilience Project" supported in Japan by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Resilience (NIED). The outcomes of this research will include a database, recorded using the advanced technologies of the NSF-supported Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) Natural Hazards Reconnaissance Facility equipment (https://rapid.designsafe-ci.org/), on the seismic performance of typical wood-frame building systems, the efficiency of sustainable seismic retrofit methods, and the complex soil-structural-nonstructural-lifeline interactions. The data from these experimental tests can be used to advance computational models for the prediction of building performance, repair times, and post-event functionality rates. The results of this research will also enable decision-makers to better understand the nature of interdependency between the multiple attributes of a residential unit and the efficiency of the various seismic retrofit techniques and will assist in planning and investments to reduce seismic vulnerability. The collected data will be archived and made publicly available in the NSF-supported NHERI Data Depot (https://www.designsafe-ci.org/). This project will train a graduate student and promote international collaboration between Japanese and U.S. colleagues working together on enhancing the resilience of wood-frame building systems in urban environments through the established partnership of the NSF-supported NHERI with Japan''s NIED. The findings of this project will be disseminated through a public webinar as well as podcasts on the NHERI web site (https://www.designsafe-ci.org).In this RAPID project, the collaborative Japanese and U.S. research team will investigate the seismic resilience of wood-frame building systems tested at the E-Defense shake table as well as testing various seismic retrofit/repair solutions for enhancing urban community resilience. The design of wood-frame residential construction in Japan is considerably comparable to U.S. residential design. The objectives of this project are twofold: (1) collect damage and repair/restoration data during the E-Defense tests for different levels of seismic intensity until complete structural collapse, accounting for the interaction of structural and nonstructural components, soil-structure interaction, and lifeline utility performance (both for conventional designs as well as for solutions with seismic retrofits), and (2) identify opportunities for payload projects such as retrofits, various utility systems, and nonstructural components. The collected data will be used to establish a holistic performance of housing recovery based on the assessment of the complex interaction among seismic hazard characteristics, human decision-making processes, building and retrofit attributes, and economic factors.This award reflects NSF''s statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation''s intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

date/time interval

  • 2018 - 2020