Rocking of Structures During Earthquakes: From Historic Buildings to Modern Design


Seismic performance objectives are continuously changing due to the devastating effects of earthquakes. This is inspiring new design and retrofit methods, which aim to reduce or isolate damage even for very large earthquakes. In this Presentation, the ability of 'rocking' to isolate the structure from the ground motion will be considered.

Initially, the hypothesis that rocking motion can explain why some historic buildings have withstood large earthquakes without collapse will be assessed. In particular, the collapse of example masonry structures will be evaluated from the perspective of rocking dynamics. Within this context, the fundamental characteristics which govern rocking motion will be presented, including ground motion characteristics which maximise rocking response. The possibility of adding damping to limit the rocking response will then be considered in light of current efforts to use rocking motion for retrofit and design of new structures. Finally, ongoing work towards developing rocking response spectra for this purpose will be presented.

Speaker: Dr Matthew DeJong (University of Cambridge)

Matthew DeJong is a Lecturer in Structural Engineering at the University of Cambridge where he leads a research group primarily focused on masonry structures and structural dynamics. he is currently completing an EPSRC funded research project entitled 'Retrofit of Rocking Structures', through which he has continued work on experimental, analytical, and computational modelling of rocking behaviour. This work is part of more general research interests in experimental and computational modelling of masonry, which has included development of finite element modelling procedures for brittle materials which exhibit softening behaviour. Prior to his current appointment, he earned his MS and PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was a Fulbright Scholar at TU Delft in the Netherlands. Before these research endeavours, he worked as a structural engineering design consultant in California. He is also actively involved in consulting through ODB Engineering.

Further information

This evening meeting is organised by SECED and chaired by Dr Tiziana Rossetto (University College London). Non-members of the society are welcome to attend. Attendance at this meeting is free. Seats are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. For further information, please contact Greg James (tel. 020 7665 2229).

Event Details

Event Date 27/02/2013 6:00 pm
Imperial College
Exhibition Road
Imperial College

Location Map

Recordings of past events

Most of our evening meetings are recorded, including the biennial Mallet-Milne Lecture. The recordings are managed by the ICE and are made available for a year after the event. Go to ICE's Event Archive to find recordings of recent SECED events. SECED members (and ICE members) get exclusive early access to recorded lectures for a period of three months after the event. After this period, recordings are made available to all users.


The events archive is not actively maintained. This means that the information provided for each past event may no longer be correct. For example, people may no longer work for the companies to which they were previously affiliated, and hyperlinks may be broken. SECED assumes no responsiblity for the accuracy of any information contained in the events archive. 

Go to top