David Linton; Rakesh Gupta, M.ASCE; Daniel T. Cox, Ph.D.; John van de Lindt, Ph.D., F.ASCE; Mary Elizabeth Oshnack; and Milo Clauson are the recipients of the Raymond C. Reese Prize for their paper “Evaluation of Tsunami Loads on Wood-Frame Walls at Full Scale,” which was published in the August 2013 issue of ASCE’s Journal of Structural Engineering.
The Raymond C. Reese Research Prize is awarded to the author or authors of a paper that describes a notable achievement in research related to structural engineering.
This paper addresses tsunami loads on wood buildings through full-scale experimentation and is a crucial topic in the design of tsunami-prone structures, which has not received adequate attention in the field. The authors placed full-scale walls in a tsunami testing facility to investigate how a flexible structure performed when subjected to a solitary wave bore. The hydrodynamic conditions (water level and bore speed) and structural response (horizontal force, pressure, and deflection) were observed for a range of incident tsunami heights and for several wood wall framing configurations.
For each tsunami wave height tested, the force and pressure profiles showed a transient peak force followed by a period of sustained quasi-static force. The observed ratio of the transient force to quasi-static force was found to be close to 2.2. This value was compared with the measured forces with predictive equations from the literature and observed wood wall performance under such extreme loading. It was found that existing equations predicted the measured forces on the vertical wall within an accuracy of approximately 20%.
The study represents a significant step toward understanding the complex nature of wave structure interaction, particularly the performance of light-frame wood construction, which is commonly used around the world. Given the paucity of full-scale experimental data, the advances made by this paper are considered seminal and will most probably influence the field of tsunami engineering in the future.