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Challenges in natural disaster risk reduction: earthquakes

Event organised by ICE

06 February 2024
18:00 - 19:30 GMT
Walker Lecture Theatre
Harrison Hughes Building
University of Liverpool
Brownlow Hill
Liverpool, L69 3GH
United Kingdom

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This event will provide robust solutions for damage limitation or prevention, especially under earthquake sequences, in critical infrastructure. It will start by looking at dynamic responses observed during recent earthquakes that have occurred worldwide in the last decade (notably Italy, Turkey-Syria, Japan). 

The key components of probabilistic seismic risk assessment will be presented. Current limitations experienced by engineers and future research needs will be discussed, so that lessons can be learned for extending to multiple natural hazards associated with the climate emergency.

Innovative design approaches for resilient and sustainable solutions for seismic retrofitting, such as base isolation and supplemental damping, will be illustrated through case studies of existing bridges, hospitals and schools.

A proven design-by-testing approach will be explained, which is used to validate novel solutions at member (local) and structural system (global) levels. Such an approach is also adopted to implement robust and computationally-efficient digital twins for comprehensive parametric analyses.

Finally, seismic fragility curves are to be presented as a simplified, yet efficient, tool for seismic assessment and risk reduction.

The event will provide:

  • Explanation of typical deficient structural responses observed in post-earthquake surveys.
  • Discussion of the challenges for the next generation of codes of practice for seismic retrofitting.
  • Performance assessment with advantages and disadvantages of structures and infrastructure retrofitted with base isolation and supplemental damping.
  • Review of possible extension of current seismic fragility approaches for critical infrastructure, to include multiple natural hazards, e.g. wind, flooding, etc.

Refreshments will be available from 17:30, with the presentation to start at 18:00.

This event is organised by ICE Merseyside branch.


Luigi Di Sarno

Luigi Di Sarno

University of Liverpool

Senior Lecturer

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Luigi Di Sarno

Dr Luigi Di Sarno is senior lecturer in structural design at the University of Liverpool.

Since 2002, he has also held the position of visiting professor in the Mid-America Earthquake Center, headquarters at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA. In addition, he has been an honorary member of staff at the College of Engineering, University of Bristol, UK, since 2011, plus is adjunct professor in seismic engineering at INTEC, Dominican Republic. 

Dr Di Sarno’s research interests include:

  • analysis, design and retrofitting of critical structures and infrastructure,
  • use of innovative low-carbon materials for sustainable and resilient infrastructure,
  • engineering solutions for climate change adaptation, and
  • advanced experimental testing and numerical simulations, including digital twins for asset management.

He has authored about 250 research publications, including refereed journals, conference papers, research reports, book chapters and field investigation reports. He has also co-authored with Professor A.S. Elnashai the international textbook: ‘Fundamentals of Earthquake Engineering’, edited by Wiley & Sons.

Dr Di Sarno is reviewer for several international journals dealing with structural analysis and design, seismic assessment and vulnerability. He is also part of the editorial board of international journals dealing with structural engineering. 

In terms of networks, Dr Di Sarno is member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Performance Based Design for Structures Committee, as well as its Seismic Effects on Structures Committee. He is also part of the prestigious Disaster Management Advisory Group of the Pan-American Health Organisation, part of the World Health Organisation. Additionally, he is a member of Working Group 11 of the European Association for Earthquake Engineering dealing with the seismic design of bridges, plus a member of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction of the United Nations. 

Dr Di Sarno is leader of the Civil Infrastructure Research Cluster in the School of Engineering. He is also global consultant in disaster risk analysis and response mitigations.