Periodic Material Based Seismic Base Isolation of Nuclear Power Plants



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Advanced fast nuclear power plants and small modular fast reactors are composed of thin-walled structures such as pipes; as a result, they do not have sufficient inherent strength to resist seismic loads. Seismic isolation, therefore, is an effective solution for mitigating earthquake hazards for these types of power plants and reactors. Base isolation, on which numerous studies have been conducted, is a well-defined structure protection system against earthquakes. In conventional isolators that use devices such as high-damping rubber bearings; lead-rubber bearings; and friction pendulum bearings, large relative displacements occur between upper structures and foundations; only isolation in a horizontal direction is provided, which is undesirable for the piping systems. The concept of periodic materials, based on the theory of solid-state physics, can be applied to earthquake engineering. The periodic material is a material that possesses distinct characteristics that prevent waves with certain frequencies from being transmitted through it; therefore, this material can be used in structural foundations to block unwanted seismic waves with certain frequencies. The frequency band of periodic material that can filter out waves is called the band gap, and the structural foundation made of periodic material is referred to as the periodic foundation. The design of a nuclear power plant, therefore, can be unified around the desirable feature of a periodic foundation, freeing the structure of continuous maintenance. Three different types of periodic foundations were studied in this research project: one-dimensional, two-dimensional, and three-dimensional. The basic theories of periodic foundations are introduced first to find the band gaps; then the finite element methods are used to perform parametric analysis and obtain attenuation zones; finally, experimental programs are conducted, and the test data are analyzed to verify the theory. This procedure shows that the periodic foundation is a promising and effective way to mitigate structural damage caused by earthquake excitation.



Periodic materials, Periodic foundations, Seismic isolation, Frequency bang gap


Portions of this document appear in: Yan, Yiqun, A. Laskar, Z. Cheng, F. Menq, Y. Tang, Y. L. Mo, and Z. Shi. "Seismic isolation of two dimensional periodic foundations." Journal of Applied Physics 116, no. 4 (2014): 044908.