Search | Contact | Privacy Statement | Legal Notice
European Commission >JRC >IPSC >ELSA

The Reaction Wall Laboratory

The kernel of the European Laboratory for Structural Assessment is the reaction-wall. It is a re-inforced concrete wall. By means of computer controlled hydraulic actuators is it possible to expose full scale structures to loads of dynamic strong forces and control the resulting movements with high precision. The wall and the floor are designed to resist the forces, typically several MN, which are necessary to deform and seriously damage the full-scale test models of structures. The ELSA reaction-wall is the largest facility of its kind in Europe and one of the largest in the World - only exceeded in Japan.

In addition to static and cyclic tests on large structures and components, the facility is equipped for the so-called pseudo-dynamic test (PSD) technique. The PSD enables the simulation of earthquake loading of full-scale buildings.

In order to obtain the maximum benefit from the facility, it is applied within the framework of European Union-wide integrated research programmes. Hereby is made full use of the existing expertise and facilities within the Member-states. To this end the European Association of Structural Mechanics Laboratories was set up at the instigation of the ELSA Unit of the ISPC. The association, which has more than 25 members, is helping to define the detailed programmes - the first of which concerned the response of civil engineering structures to severe earthquake loading. The research programmes involve both the study of the nonlinear dynamic behaviour of structures and the development of appropriate testing methods

The facility is also available to external customers for performing demonstration and qualification tests on large-scale prototypes and/or validation innovative constructions. This offers a major opportunity to the European construction industry to enhance its competitive position in world-wide markets, especially in countries with high seismic risk.