Engineering analysis and design software
Civil and Structural engineering

Case Study

Predicting Earthquake Damage to Masonry Structures

hagia sophia mosqueLUSAS has been used to investigate the safety of the Hagia Sophia mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, during an earthquake and to determine if any strengthening or repair work is required.

Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya) was once an early Greek church, built during the Byzantine period and for one period of 800 years it was the largest structure in the world. During this time it was affected by many earthquakes resulting in several reconstructions of different parts of the main dome and repair of some structural elements. The effects of previous seismic activity can be seen all over the building.

In a project financed by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and the US National Science Foundation, Professor Ahmet Cakmak of Princeton University, USA and Professor Mustafa Erdik of Bogazici University, Turkey investigated the dynamic properties of the structure and its behaviour during an earthquake which may be caused by a fault passing 25km to the south of Istanbul. In order to accomplish this task the team used a number of advanced measurement and analysis tools including:

  • Laser interferometry techniques to check key dimensions of the building
  • Accelerometers to measure the structural response during tremors and earthquakes
  • LUSAS finite element analysis to predict natural frequencies and likely areas of damage in the structure.

The team decided to use LUSAS because it has excellent facilities for predicting the nonlinear transient response of structures and a wide range of high performance elements. Nonlinear material models in LUSAS are used to predict local damage and failure mechanisms in the structure. Results obtained using LUSAS indicate that damage will occur initially in the west and east semi-domes before proceeding to the arches and main dome.

hagia model

hagia mode shapes

Other analyses performed using LUSAS finite element analysis include the Hagia Eirene church and Suleymaniye mosque in Istanbul.

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Last modified: April 23, 2018.