Thursday, November 19, 2009

Shipping Cranes in Earthquakes


Container cranes are used to load and unload ships in ports and are critical to port operations. Past earthquakes have highlighted the vulnerability of container cranes to damage from even moderate earthquakes.

I was about to give this my "Most Hopeless Research" award, but I've canceled that (it sounds nasty!). All research is interesting in some way. Still, you can see that the nature of the shipping crane makes it a 'disposable item' when an earthquake hits. The best you can do is have some other area ready, with cranes ready to erect. But the cranes aren't the problem here. Dock areas are almost always on dirt fill, put directly on muck. The seismic amplifications are 10 to 100 times, and not much survives. These shipping cranes are mobile on absolutely flat pavement, and that just isn't going to stay that way.

I think this project is more like designing earthquake-resistant shelves in a brick china shop. :)

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