Seismic performance and strengthening of traditional earthen buildings in Latin America


Throughout the world, millions of people are at risk because they live in unreinforced earthen dwellings, which have consistently shown extremely poor structural behaviour during earthquakes. Every single earthquake occurring in these areas has caused unacceptable loss of life, injuries, and property damage. Earthquakes are recurrent and construction damage is cumulative. It is urgent, therefore, to devise low-cost, easy-to-implement seismic reinforcement systems and to make them available to the actual dwellers. A group of researchers at the Pontifcia Universidad Católica del Perú has been working towards that goal, especially on improving the seismic capacity of one-storey adobe dwellings. They have proposed construction methodologies for a seismic reinforcement system consisting of a mesh of nylon ropes that confines all earthen walls. This reinforcement system would control the wall displacements and prevent the overturning of wall portions that may occur due to seismic shaking. To validate the effectiveness of the nylon rope mesh reinforcement on two-storey adobe dwellings, shaking table tests were conducted on unreinforced and half-scale reinforced adobe models, simulating the actions of slight, moderate, and strong seismic ground shaking. These models were designed to include the main construction features of typical adobe dwellings in the Peruvian Andes. Come along to hear more about the nylon rope reinforcement mesh system and how it performed in a series of tests that simulated earthquake conditions on reduced-scale adobe model buildings.

About the speaker

Marcial Blondet is a Professor of Civil Engineering at the Catholic University of Peru (PUCP). He obtained Master's and PhD degrees in Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. Professor Blondet is a specialist in earthquake engineering and structural dynamics and has ample experience in the experimental study of the seismic behavior of structures. His main research interests are the development of low-cost solutions to mitigate the seismic risk of informal earthen and masonry dwellings, the conservation of earthen historical monuments in seismic areas, and the use of energy dissipation and base isolation systems for the seismic protection of buildings.

Marcial belongs to the research groups GERDIS (Disaster Risk Management Group in social infrastructure and low-cost housing), GRIDHAL (Research group on human development and expansion of freedoms) and the Terra Center. He has advised the thesis work of numerous undergraduate, master's and doctoral students.

Further information

This event is organised by SECED. The event will be chaired by Damian Grant (Arup). Attendance at this meeting is free for members and non-members alike.

In-person attendance

The event will held in-person at the Institution of Civil Engineers (see map below). Prior registration is not required. Seats are allocated on a first come, first served basis. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be served from 5.30 - 6 pm. We encourage everyone to attend in person if they can.

Online attendance

This event will also be broadcast online. Please register for the event prior to joining. The registration process will provide you with the link you need to join the main event.


Event Details

Event Date 28/09/2022 6:00 pm
Location Institution of Civil Engineers

Location Map