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Shake Table Testing of an Elevator System in a Full-Scale Five-Story Building



Xiang Wang, Tara C. Hutchinson, Rodrigo Astroza, Joel P. Conte, Jose I. Restrepo, Matthew Hoehler, Waldir Ribeiro


This paper investigates the seismic performance of a functional traction elevator as part of a full-scale five-story building shake table test program. The test building was subjected to a suite of earthquake input motions of increasing intensity, first while the building was isolated at its base and subsequently while it was fixed to the shake table platen. In addition, low-amplitude white noise base excitation tests were conducted while the elevator system was placed in three different configurations, namely, by varying the vertical location of its cabin and counterweight, to study the acceleration amplifications of the elevator components due to dynamic excitations. During the earthquake tests, detailed observation of the physical damage and operability of the elevator as well as its measured response are reported. Although the cabin and counterweight sustained large accelerations because of impact during these tests, the use of well-restrained guide shoes demonstrated its effectiveness in preventing the cabin and counterweight from derailment during high-intensity earthquake shaking. However, differential displacements induced by the building imposed undesirable distortion of the elevator components and their surrounding support structure, which caused damage and inoperability of the elevator doors. It is recommended that these aspects be explicitly considered in elevator seismic design.
Earthquake Engineering & Structural Dynamics


elevators, nonstructural systems, shake table tests


Wang, X. , Hutchinson, T. , Astroza, R. , Conte, J. , Restrepo, J. , Hoehler, M. and Ribeiro, W. (2016), Shake Table Testing of an Elevator System in a Full-Scale Five-Story Building, Earthquake Engineering & Structural Dynamics, [online],, (Accessed February 25, 2024)
Created August 16, 2016, Updated October 12, 2021