Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Can a stack of computer servers survive an earthquake?

Date:
September 2, 2014
Source:
University at Buffalo
Summary:
In high-seismic regions, new facilities often are engineered with passive protective systems that provide overall seismic protection. But often, existing facilities are conventional fixed-base buildings in which seismic demands on sensitive equipment located within are significantly amplified. In such buildings, sensitive equipment needs to be secured from these damaging earthquake effects.

The rack of servers shook, but did not fall, during a simulation that mimicked 80 percent of the force of 1994's Northridge earthquake.
Credit: Cory Nealon, University at Buffalo

How do you prevent an earthquake from destroying expensive computer systems?

Related Articles


That's the question earthquake engineer Claudia Marin-Artieda, PhD, associate professor of civil engineering at Howard University, aims to answer through a series of experiments conducted at the University at Buffalo.

"The loss of functionality of essential equipment and components can have a disastrous impact. We can limit these sorts of equipment losses by improving their seismic performance," Marin-Artieda said.

In buildings such as data centers, power plants and hospitals, it could be catastrophic to have highly-sensitive equipment swinging, rocking, falling and generally bashing into things.

In high-seismic regions, new facilities often are engineered with passive protective systems that provide overall seismic protection. But often, existing facilities are conventional fixed-base buildings in which seismic demands on sensitive equipment located within are significantly amplified. In such buildings, sensitive equipment needs to be secured from these damaging earthquake effects, Marin-Artieda said.

The stiffer the building, the greater the magnification of seismic effects, she added.

"It is like when you are riding a rollercoaster," she said. "If your body is relaxed, you don't feel strong inertial effects. But if you hold your body rigid, you'll feel the inertial effects much more, and you'll get knocked about in the car."

The experiments were conducted this month at the University at Buffalo's Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES), a shared network of laboratories based at Purdue University.

Marin-Artieda and her team used different devices for supporting 40 computer servers donated by Yahoo Labs. The researchers attached the servers to a frame in multiple configurations on seismically isolated platforms. They then subjected the frame to a variety of three-directional ground motions with the servers in partial operation to monitor how they react to an earthquake simulation.

Preliminary work confirmed, among other things, that globally and locally installed seismic isolation and damping systems can significantly reduce damage to computer systems and other electronic equipment.

Base isolation is a technique that sets objects atop an energy-absorbing base; damping employs energy-absorbing devices within the object to be protected from an earthquake's damaging effects.

Marin-Artieda plans to expand the research by developing a framework for analysis, design and implementation of the protective measures.

The research is funded by the National Science Foundation. In addition to Yahoo Labs, industry partners include Seismic Foundation Control Inc., The VMC Group, Minus K Technology Inc., Base Isolation of Alaska, and Roush Industries Inc. All provided in-kind materials for the experiments.

Video showing one of the tests, which mimics 80 percent of the force of 1994's Northridge earthquake: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTkemnt8hR4


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University at Buffalo. The original article was written by Cory Nealon. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University at Buffalo. "Can a stack of computer servers survive an earthquake?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 September 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140902114224.htm>.
University at Buffalo. (2014, September 2). Can a stack of computer servers survive an earthquake?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140902114224.htm
University at Buffalo. "Can a stack of computer servers survive an earthquake?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140902114224.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Antarctic sea ice isn't only expanding, it's thicker than previously thought, and scientists aren't sure exactly why. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) — A multinational group of scientists have released the first ever detailed, high-resolution 3-D maps of Antarctic sea ice. Using an underwater robot equipped with sonar, the researchers mapped the underside of a massive area of sea ice to gauge the impact of climate change. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) — A British solar power start-up says that by covering millions of existing car park spaces around the UK with flexible solar panels, the country's power problems could be solved. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yellow-Spotted Turtles Rescued from Trafficking

Yellow-Spotted Turtles Rescued from Trafficking

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) — Hundreds of Amazon River turtles released into the wild in Peru. Sharon Reich reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins