The Importance of Elastomeric Bearings in Structures: Compliance with UNE-EN 1337-3:2005 Regulations

In the field of structural engineering, elastomeric bearings play a crucial role in the stability and durability of constructions.

In this article, we will delve into what these supports are and their function in civil engineering projects. Additionally, we will immerse ourselves in the UNE-EN 1337-3:2005 regulations, emphasizing why at SERVOSIS, we ensure strict compliance with the necessary standards.

What is an Elastomeric Bearing?

Elastomeric bearings are ingeniously designed devices used to absorb and distribute loads within a structure. To be more precise, when a structure is in operation, it undergoes various movements and deformations caused by temperature variations, the load of its own weight, and the additional loads to which it is exposed. To cope with and withstand these changes, it is necessary to have supporting elements that allow these movements without causing damage.

These devices, manufactured with high-quality elastomers, possess unique properties that enable them to perform crucial functions in civil engineering.

Here are the unique properties of Elastomeric Bearings:

Seismic Movement Absorption Capability:

Elastomeric bearings stand out for their intrinsic ability to dissipate energy generated during seismic events. This is achieved through the controlled deformation of highly resilient elastomers, absorbing the kinetic energy associated with seismic forces.

The implementation of these bearings minimizes the transmission of such forces to the main structure, thus mitigating the destructive effects of earthquakes. The dynamic response of elastomers contributes to the effectiveness of this system by damping oscillations, preserving structural integrity, and reducing risks associated with seismic events.

Flexibility and Deformability:

The intrinsic ability to deform significantly without compromising structural characteristics allows elastomeric bearings to accommodate structural movements, such as thermal expansion or contraction, without imposing excessive loads on the main structure.

The controlled deformability of these materials ensures essential adaptability, preserving the integrity of the structure and reducing the possibility of damage or structural failures due to unforeseen movements.

Vibration and Noise Isolation

In urban environments and structures sensitive to vibrations, elastomeric bearings play a crucial role by providing effective isolation against vibrations and noise. The ability of elastomers to absorb and dissipate vibrational energy minimizes the transmission of these unwanted disturbances to surrounding buildings.

This is achieved through the elastomeric material’s capacity to convert vibrational energy into controlled deformation, thus preventing the propagation of annoying vibrations and preserving the quality of the living environment.

Low Transmission of Horizontal Loads

Strategically designed, elastomeric bearings offer selective resistance to horizontal loads, allowing the structure to expand and contract in response to lateral forces without inducing damage.

The low lateral stiffness inherent in these supports facilitates the adaptation of the structure to horizontal movements, such as those caused by strong winds or seismic events. By minimizing the transmission of horizontal forces to the main structure, stability is preserved, and the stresses that could lead to structural damage or the activation of safety systems are reduced, contributing to the long-term durability and efficiency of the infrastructure.

SERVOSIS and the ME 408 Machine for Elastomeric Bearings Testing

The ME 408 elastomeric bearings testing machine from SERVOSIS is a monoblock system with hydraulic servo drive, specifically designed to conduct tests according to the UNE-EN 1337-3 standard. These tests include shear modulus, shear bond, and compression tests, respectively.

The system features:

  • Two high-capacity (6 MN) double-acting linear hydraulic actuators for applying axial loads.
  • A double-acting linear hydraulic actuator (1.5 MN) for applying lateral displacement to the specimen.
  • Equipped with Moog servo valves for control and integrated linear displacement sensors.
  • Force is measured through a load cell in the lateral actuator and pressure sensors in the high-capacity actuators.

This set of features makes the SERVOSIS machine a highly precise and innovative tool in the market, capable of meeting the most demanding standards and ensuring maximum accuracy in the execution of tests.

We are sharing a video featuring our machine.

UNE-EN 1337-3:2005 Standard:

The UNE-EN 1337-3:2005 standard establishes the requirements and test methods for elastomeric bearings in bridges and other structures. When reviewing the UNE-EN 1337-3:2005 standard, a variety of tests are identified and classified into two categories: “initial” and “routine.”

The “initial” tests are indispensable for obtaining the initial CE certification of the product and must be carried out in a laboratory accredited by ENAC or an equivalent European accreditation within the ILAC network.

As for “routine” or follow-up tests, they are essential for maintaining certification, as they are deemed necessary for product quality control. These tests can be conducted internally, provided that the testing equipment is calibrated, and the necessary technical competence is demonstrated.

SERVOSIS and the Importance of Compliance with UNE-EN 1337-3:2005 Standard:

At SERVOSIS, we understand that compliance with the UNE-EN 1337-3:2005 standard is crucial for elastomeric bearings due to its rigorous technical specifications. This standard establishes criteria for evaluating mechanical properties, fatigue resistance, dimensional stability, sliding capacity, and compatibility with materials and structural systems.

All of these aspects ensure that elastomeric bearings meet the necessary performance, strength, and durability standards for their function in structures. Therefore, the ME 408 control system, exclusively developed by SERVOSIS, ensures compliance with the standard. Noteworthy for its high range, it competes on equal terms with the most prestigious international manufacturers in terms of precision, resolution, and response speed, a result of over 35 years of experience in the field of mechanical testing.

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