Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mandi, led by Dr Arpan Gupta, have developed a ground-breaking solution to protect buildings against earthquakes. In their paper published in Scientific Reports, the team proposed a two-dimensional (2D) metamaterial-based foundation that can effectively reduce ground accelerations caused by earthquake excitations.
According to Dr Gupta, by designing the foundation intelligently, earthquake waves can be diverted or reflected back, significantly reducing damage to buildings. The key to this design is the periodicity of the foundation, which is known as a metamaterial foundation. This type of foundation features periodic variations of material properties that can lead to wave reflection and, consequently, protect the building structure.
To test their concept, the IIT Mandi team used 2D metamaterials, which are created by assembling multiple elements made from composite materials like metals and plastics arranged in repeating patterns smaller than the wavelengths of the phenomena they affect, such as earthquake vibrations or seismic waves.
The team studied a foundation consisting of repeating circular scatterers made of steel and lead embedded in a rubber matrix. They compared the performance of a concrete foundation with that of a metamaterial foundation using computer simulations. In the case of a concrete foundation, the simulations recorded large vibrations, while in the case of a metamaterial foundation, minimal vibrations were observed.
The research has significant implications for the development of earthquake-resistant buildings, particularly in areas prone to seismic activity. It represents a major breakthrough in the use of metamaterials for seismic waves and could lead to the creation of more efficient and effective seismic metamaterial foundations.
Dr Gupta expressed his satisfaction with the results, stating that their work shows the potential of metamaterials to provide seismic protection to structures. He hopes that their research will inspire other researchers to explore the possibilities of metamaterials in other areas of structural engineering and earthquake-resistant buildings.
Overall, the IIT Mandi team’s research has the potential to revolutionize the way we think about building foundations and could lead to significant advances in earthquake protection.