Research Challenges in Earthquake Engineering

May 6, 2019

The research at the National Earthquake Engineering Center, Bulgaria
EEMCS building 36 • Mekelweg 4 • 2628 CD Delft
Timmanzaal LB 01.170 • 16:00

The Head of National Earthquake Engineering Center of Bulgaria (NEEC), Prof Dr Eng Peter Pavlov – also affiliated with the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy in Sofia – will illustrate the research direction pursed at this prestigious institution.


Bulgaria is located in a highly seismic zone. The research at NEEC aims to improve the seismic stability of buildings and facilities and to reduce seismic risk. This requires operating at multiple levels:

  • Strategic: preparing strategies and concepts, related to types of buildings of public importance
  • Normative: producing normative documents on seismic design of buildings
  • Practical: developing methodologies for buildings design and evaluation of seismic safety
  • Scientific: conducting research in diverse topical areas
  • Educational: offering specialized training on Earthquake Engineering
  • Expert: forming expertise, specific non-standard solutions, consultancy

Science and research-related activities are at the core of NEEC. These unfold along four major directions:

  • Seismic behavior of standard building and structures
  • Seismic behavior of nonstandard buildings and structures
  • Innovative technologies for seismic stability of structures
  • Control of seismic risk

Lately NEEC has developed the rationale of 18 scientific projects in the field of Earthquake Engineering. Notably:

  • The Shaking Table, a classic mechatronic intelligent system
  • Similarity theory and size effect theory to map data from test specimens to real objects
  • Base isolation systems to prevent damages by strong earthquakes to historical/cultural heritage assets
  • Numerical and test analysis of seismic behavior for unconventional building techniques
  • Passive energy dissipation devices to reduce seismic action effects on structures
  • Seismic instrumentation for tall buildings and facilities (more below)
  • Seismically stable homes: surveying furniture, equipment and installations in seismic impact 
  • Seismic vulnerability reduction of existing bridges


The talk first touches upon the conception and establishment of the NEEC of Bulgaria historically and, then, upon the levels of operation mentioned above. It also briefly introduces a focus project for the building and equipping of a new experimental laboratory complex in Earthquake Engineering that will be part of the Sofia Technology Park. Then, connecting to above lead directions for scientific development, the talk provides an overview of the most important projects on which the NEEC has competence and readiness to work. Finally, the project Seismic Instrumentation of Tall Buildings and Facilities, funded by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Bulgaria, will be on focus; this project aims to develop a system for acquiring, processing, storing and visualizing data on vibrations in a conventional 10-storey building.


The talk will show how advanced developments in Earthquake Engineering require highly-specialized hardware and software support as well as elaborate mathematics. We invite all guests to contribute actively to this event with their range of expertise. The Group of Numerical Analysis is pleased to create an occasion to exchange ideas and intuitions fruitfully, and to envision opportunities for participating in joint research programs.