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European Laboratory for Structural Assessment (JRC-ELSA)
Identification
Hosting Legal Entity
Joint Research Centre
Address:
CDMA, Brussels, PO: 1049 (Belgium)
Legal Status
International or intergovernmental organisation or framework
Location
Via Enrico Fermi, 2749, Joint Research Centre - European Commission, Ispra, PO: I - 21027 (Italy)
Structure
Type Of RI
Single-sited
Coordinating Country
European Union
Participating Countries
Italy
Status
Status
Current Status:
Operational
Scientific Description
The European Laboratory for Structural Assessment (ELSA) Reaction Wall consists of a reinforced concrete vertical wall and a horizontal floor rigidly connected together to test the vulnerability of buildings to earthquakes and other hazards. It is the largest facility of its kind in Europe and one of the largest in the world. ELSA Reaction Wall is a world renowned reference for experimental research and standardisation on the security, safety and stability of physical infrastructures and their critical elements. The facility was established in 1992. It is owned and operated by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission. ELSA Reaction Wall has established formal agreements with the Korea Construction Engineering Development Collaboratory Management Institute (KOCED CMI), Building Research Institute in Japan, Tongji University (CN), Purdue University (US) and Cyprus University of Technology, and cooperates with all European research infrastructures in earthquake engineering. The RI provides Transnational Access through the SERA project and the Open Access to JRC research infrastructures.

RI Keywords
Reaction walls, Material sciences, Hopkinson bar
Classifications
RI Category
Civil Engineering Research Infrastructures
Scientific Domain
Engineering and Energy
ESFRI Domain
Physical Sciences and Engineering
Services
Structural assessment

Testing of buildings vulnerability to earthquakes

Materials testing

The HOPLAB facility is used for the study of materials and of structural components to very fast dynamic loads, such as those due to blasts and impacts, where knowledge of the material behaviour under high strain-rates is necessary. HOPLAB is the World’s largest Hopkinson bar, extending for a length of more than 200 meters. A rectangular force pulse of up to 2 MN, of rise time 250 µs and of duration 40 ms can be generated. The machine has a maximum stroke of 700 mm. In the basic configuration the incident and transmitter bars have a diameter of 72 mm. The incident strain pulse (εI) is generated by pre-stressing and abruptly releasing a long bar (100 m), which is the continuation of the incident bar of the machine. This pulse propagates along the incident bar with the velocity of the elastic wave (5500m/s for steel), with its shape remaining constant. When the strain pulse reaches the tested specimen, part of it (εR) is reflected back whereas another part enters the specimen and exits into the transmitter bar (εT), loading dynamically the specimen to failure. The relative amplitudes of the incident, reflected and transmitted pulses, depend on the mechanical properties of the specimen material. With a proper elaboration of these three pulse records the stress-strain relation of the material for a particular strain-rate can be determined, which is then used for numerical simulations (see EUROPLEXUS). Thus, large material samples or structural components and sub-assemblies can be accurately tested under the required dynamic conditions. According to the needs of the experimentation, other Hopkinson bar devices are also available, which complement the laboratory and are suitable for performing dynamic testing using small material specimens.

Equipment
Large Hopkinson Bar facility (JRC-HopLab)

The European Laboratory for Structural Assessment (ELSA) HopLab facility is used for the study of materials and of structural components to very fast dynamic loads, such as those due to blasts and impacts, where knowledge of the material behaviour under high strain-rates is necessary. ELSA HopLab is the world’s largest Hopkinson bar, extending for a length of more than 200 meters. Large material samples or structural components and sub-assemblies can be accurately tested under the required dynamic conditions. According to the needs of the experimentation, other Hopkinson bar devices are also available, which complement the laboratory and are suitable for performing dynamic testing using small material specimens. The facility was established in 1983. It is owned and operated by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission. ELSA HopLab is member of the International Society of Impact Engineering and of the European association for the promotion of research into the dynamic behaviour of materials and its applications (DYMAT). The RI has a formal agreement with the Korea Construction Engineering Development Collaboratory Management Institute (KOCED CMI). HopLab provides access in relevance- or market-driven mode through the Open Access to JRC research infrastructures. https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/en/research-facility/hopkinson-bar-facility

ELSA Reaction Wall (JRC-ELSA-ReactionWall)

ELSA operates a 16 m-tall, 21 m-long reaction wall, with two reaction platforms of total surface 760 m2 that allow testing real-scale specimens on both sides of the wall. The actuators control system is designed in-house to perform tests with the continuous pseudo-dynamic method with substructuring, that permits testing elements of large structures, bidirectional testing of multi-storey buildings, and testing of strain-rate dependent devices.

Date of last update: 20/06/2019
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