Exploring the performances of the Vibrating Barriers for the seismic protection of the Zoser pyramid

Pierfrancesco Cacciola, Masoud Shadlou, Ashraf Ayoub, Youssef Rashed, Alessandro Tombari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper we aim to investigate the use of the Vibrating Barrier (ViBa) as a potential strategy to mitigate the effects of the seismic action on the Zoser Pyramid. The Vibrating Barrier is a structure buried in the soil that is able to absorb a significant portion of the dynamic energy arising from the ground motion. The working principle exploits the dynamic interaction among vibrating structures resting on a compliant semi-infinite space, namely the structure–soil–structure interaction. A reliable numerical simulation of the Zoser Pyramid and the surrounding soil undergoing stochastic ground motion excitations representing the seismicity in Saqqara is presented. Due to the unique structural form, the ViBa is herein optimized through an ad-hoc procedure to minimize a response strain energy spectral density used as a synthetic performance parameter. Various layouts of the ViBa have been considered and presented in the paper. The efficiency of the ViBa is assessed by numerical simulation of the finite element model of the ViBa-Soil-Pyramid system and by laboratory testing. Results from a pertinent Monte Carlo study show an evident reduction of the stresses in the Pyramid manifesting the feasibility of this novel strategy to protect historic structures from earthquake-induced ground motion. Experimental results on a 1:500 gelatine model of the pyramid and the surrounding area highlighted the efficiency and efficacy of the proposed approach.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5542 (2022)
Number of pages12
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the AHRC Grant AH/R007934/1 Preserving Egypt's Cultural Heritage from Earthquake Damage through Vibrating Barriers (ViBa).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


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