Earthquakes and other seismic events damage many buildings every year. Buildings made from steel are far more resistant to damage from earthquakes. Steel has distinctive properties that can negate some of the issues that cause other materials or buildings to fail. It is also affordable and commonly available. Steel buildings are very resistant to seismic activity for a number of reasons.
Steel Is Lightweight
One of the main benefits of using steel for a building is that it is very lightweight while maintaining a high level of strength. Lightweight and strong materials like steel remove some of the problems that make traditional buildings vulnerable to earthquakes. Less pressure is placed on different components during a seismic event because of the low weight of steel. This allows even a large building to suffer little stress despite the movements of the different components. The result is that steel structures have higher tolerances so that earthquakes have less of an effect and cause less damage.
Steel Is Flexible
Although steel is strong, it is also flexible. Steel can actually warp and twist in nearly every direction without losing any structural integrity. Flexibility is one of the most important aspects of buildings in areas that are prone to earthquakes. The flexibility of steel will allow a building to easily survive moderate seismic activity without sustaining any real structural damage. It can even help the building during a major event that lasts for a long time. Steel is different from wood or concrete because the movement of the alloy does not cause permanent damage to the material.
Steel Can Be Used To Create Large Building Components
The strength and lightness of steel allows for the manufacturing of large building components. These could be large columns, rafters or wall panels. Large building components are important in order to protect a structure against seismic events because they are able to twist and move without breaking apart. Large components have a high level of elasticity when compared to elements formed from many small and separate parts attached with adhesives or bolts.
Steel Is Very Strong
What cannot be overlooked is the inherent strength of steel. One of the reasons steel buildings do well during earthquakes is simply because of molecular structure of the alloy. Steel will not shatter or rip apart like other building materials. It has a high weight capacity so that even the extra weight and stress placed on the building during seismic activity will not exceed the tolerances of the steel. This allows the building to easily survive an earthquake.
Metal Buildings Can Be Designed To Resist Earthquakes
Steel is a popular choice for earthquake resistant buildings because it has unique properties not present in other types of materials. Many designs use a combination of special concrete and other materials like bamboo or plastic. Steel gives designers and engineers the freedom to create a building that meets all of the recommendations and tolerances to survive a seismic event. It is also a readily available and inexpensive building material when compared to some of the other more exotic options available today.