A team of structural experts from the composites industry and universities in Turkey has demonstrated how a building retrofitted with carbon fiber composites can successfully survive a simulated earthquake.

DowAksa, a 50/50 joint venture between The Dow Chemical Company and Turkey-based Aksa Akrilik Kimya Sanayii, A.S., joined with Istanbul Technical University to conduct a simultaneous full-scale earthquake simulation.

Before the simulation, DowAksa constructed two full-scale buildings on land allocated by the Governor’s Office in Yalova, Turkey. The first building was retrofitted with CFRP, a high-strength, lightweight and affordable technology developed by experts at DowAksa. The second building was not changed. According to DowAksa, the experiment’s goal was to demonstrate how a conventional building can be retrofitted to withstand strong seismic forces.

After several days of final site preparations, the test was completed using a system of hydraulic actuators to simulate a seismic shock. DowAksa says this is the first test in the world of its type to simulate seismic forces on two 3-story structures. Ultimately, the test was a success.

“The team of experts were very satisfied by the ability of the upgraded structure to withstand a simulated severe seismic shock, and will review detailed data collected during the test to improve survivability and limit property damage in future earthquakes,” said DowAksa.

DowAksa Board Chairman Mehmet Ali Berkman put the testing in perspective, as the experiment took place in the place affected by one of Turkey’s deadliest earthquake disasters, which in 1999 killed more than 18,000 people.

“Although a long time has passed since that day, many of us remember it like it was yesterday” Berkman said. “18,373 people died, 2,504 of which were from this region of Yalova. 96,796 houses and 15,939 businesses were destroyed. The reason I’m telling all this is to specify the meaning of realizing this project here in Yalova as DowAksa. Yalova [is] where most of our colleagues and their families live.”