University Research Chair in Earthquake Engineering
Department of Civil Engineering
Improving the odds during an earthquake
Recent major earthquakes in Japan, the U.S. and elsewhere in the world have shown us that poorly designed buildings and bridges in densely populated areas can result in devastating losses - both human and economic. The number of seismically deficient buildings and bridges in Canada is estimated to be alarmingly high, with worse scenarios in many other countries in the world.
Critical Canadian infrastructure, that needs to be operational during and after a disaster, is at risk in the event of a strong earthquake. A recent study conducted by the Department of National Defense (DND) indicates that approximately 7,200 out of 11,500 buildings owned and operated by the department are located in seismically active regions. Similarly, Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) has an inventory of about 500 buildings with an average age of over 40 years and a replacement value of about $4 billion. Add to these figures the thousands of privately owned buildings and facilities, and you can imagine the magnitude of the problem.
Retrofitting and strengthening are the only economically viable approach to reduce seismic risk. Dr. Murat Saatcioglu's objective is to develop new and innovative seismic retrofit technologies for reinforced concrete structures, such as buildings and bridges. An important component of this research is the verification through testing large-scale specimen in the Structures Laboratory of the University of Ottawa, which is equipped with one of the few pseudo-dynamic testing facilities in the world. This facility provides a unique opportunity for verification, since it allows the simulation of earthquakes in slow motion.
Dr. Saatcioglu is the President of the Canadian Association for Earthquake Engineering. Among his many accomplishments is a patent on a new seismic retrofit technology. He is also the editor and co-author of the first Canadian Metric Design Handbook for Reinforced Concrete Design and has contributed to the National Building Code of Canada, as well as other building codes and standards in the U.S. Dr. Saatcioglu is only the second Canadian researcher to receive the prestigious Raymond C. Reese Research Prize for Outstanding Contributions to the Application of Structural Engineering Research by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Dr. Saatcioglu is a true example of excellence in academia where an outstanding researcher transmits the roadmap for pursuit of knowledge to young researchers on a daily basis. He is the recipient of the Faculty of Engineering Excellence in Teaching Award, the University of Ottawa Excellence in Teaching Award, the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) Excellence in Teaching Award, as well as the Lieutenant Governor's Award for Excellence in Teaching and most recently, the University of Ottawa Excellence in Education Prize.