Validating the sliding mechanics of office-type furniture using shake-table experiments


Pull-tests and shake-table tests of office-type furniture on carpet and vinyl flooring were performed to obtain friction coefficients, and validate the mechanics of content sliding and current modelling approaches. The static friction coefficient, μs, for furniture with and without wheels was between 0.13-0.30 and 0.36-0.45 on carpet flooring, respectively, and 0.07-0.13 and 0.39-0.45 on vinyl flooring, respectively. The kinetic friction coefficient, μk, was similar to μs for carpet flooring, but was up to 38% lower for vinyl flooring. Shake-table tests using sinusoidal floor excitations showed that: (i) the sliding force hysteresis loop was elasto-plastic on average, and (ii) peak total floor velocity significantly affected the extent of sliding. While it was found that the maximum sliding displacement obtained by numerical integration methods differed by a factor between 0.3 and 3.0 on a case-by-case basis, the average error was just 5%. Preliminary sliding analyses of furniture resting on single-degree-of-freedom structures of varying stiffness using a suite of ground motion records were performed. It was found that (i) the extent of sliding was not necessarily more severe in stiffer buildings despite the greater peak total floor acceleration demands, and (ii) considering only μk in content sliding analyses still produced reasonably accurate predictions.


FEMA E-74 (2012). “Reducing the Risks of Nonstructural Earthquake Damage - A Practical Guide”. FEMA, USA.

Sato E, Furukawa S, Kakehi A and Nakashima M (2011). “Full-scale shaking table test for examination of safety and functionality of base-isolated medical facilities”. Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics, 40(13): 1435-1453. DOI:

Nagao T, Kagano H and Hamaguchi K (2012). “Full-scale shaking table test on furnitures subjected to long-period earthquake motions”. 15th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering, Lisbon, Portugal.

Dhakal RP (2010). “Damage to Non-Structural Components and Contents in 2010 Darfield Earthquake”. Bulleting of the NZSEE, 43(4): 404-412. DOI:

Okada S, Nachi N and Endo T (2012). “Seismic Assessment Method for Indoor Injury Risk and Its Application”. 15th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering, Lisbon, Portugal. pp8.

Yeow TZ, MacRae GA, Dhakal RP and Bradley BA (2013). “Probabilistic seismic indoor injury estimation”. NZSEE Annual Conference, Wellington, NZ.

Kaneko M, Hayashi Y and Tamura K (1999). “Evaluation of Sliding Displacement of Furniture during Earthquake - by using Revised Formula to Estimate Sliding Displacement of Furniture”. Technical Paper at Annual Meeting of Architectural Institute of Japan, B-II, 537-538.

Choi B and Tung CCD (2002). “Estimating Sliding Displacement of an Unanchored Body Subjected to Earthquake Excitation”. Earthquake Spectra, 18(4): 601-613. DOI:

Hutchinson TC and Chaudhuri SR (2006). “Simplified Expression for Seismic Fragility Estimation of Sliding-Dominated Equipment and Contents”. Earthquake Spectra, 22(3): 709-732. DOI:

English R, MacRae GA and Dhakal RP (2012). “Hysteretic influence on earthquake induced sliding damage of contents”. 2012 NZSEE Annual Conference, Christchurch, NZ.

Konstantinidis DA and Nikfar F (2014). “Seismic response of sliding equipment and contents in base-isolated buildings subjected to broadband ground motions”. Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics: 10.1002/eqe.2490.

Lin SL, MacRae GA, Dhakal RP and Yeow TZ (2015). “Building contents sliding demands in elastically responding structures”. Engineering Structures, 86: 182-191.

Lin SL, MacRae GA, Dhakal RP, Yeow TZ and English R (2012). “Contents Sliding Response Spectra”. 2012 NZSEE Annual Conference, Christchurch, NZ.

Meyer E, Overney RM, Dransfeld K and Gyalog T (1998). “Nanoscience - Friction and Rheology on the Nanometer Scale”. World Scientific Publishing, Singapore. DOI:

Shenton III HW and Jones NP (1992). “Base Excitation of Rigid Bodies. Part I: Formulation”. Journal of Engineering Mechanics, 117(10): 2286-2306. DOI:

Aslam M, Godden WG and Scalise DT (1975). “Sliding Response of Rigid Bodies to Earthquake Motions”. Technical Report: University of California, Berkeley, USA.

Bureau L, Baumberger T and Caroli C (2002). “Rheological aging and rejuvenation in solid friction contacts”. The European Physical Journal E, 8(3): 331-337. DOI:

Persson BNJ, Albohr O, Mancosu F, Peveri V, Samoilov VN and Sivebaek IM (2003). “On the nature of the static friction, kinetic friction, and creep”. Wear, 254(7-8): 835-851.

Chaudhuri SR and Hutchinson TC (2005). “Characterizing Frictional Behaviour for use in Predicting the Seismic Response of Unattached Equipment”. Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, 25: 591-604.

Bar-Sinai Y, Spatschek R, Brener EA and Bouchbinder E (2013). “On the velocity-strengthening behaviour of dry friction”. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 119. doi: 10.1002/2013JB010586 DOI:

Konstantinidis DA (2008). “Experimental and Analytical Studies on the Seismic Response of Freestanding and Anchored Building Contents”. Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Berkeley.

Chong WH and Soong TT (2000). “Sliding Fragility of Unrestrained Equipment in Critical Facilities”. Technical Report MCEER-00-0005: Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, University at Baffalo, New York, USA.

Garcia DL and Soong TT (2003). “Sliding Fragility of Block-Type Non-Structural Components. Part 1: Unrestrained Components”. Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics, 32: 111-129.

Chaudhuri SR and Hutchinson TC (2006). “Fragility of Bench-Mounted Equipment Considering Uncertain Parameters”. Journal of Structural Engineering, 132(6): 884-898. DOI:

Cosenza E, Di Sarno L, Maddaloni G, Magliulo G, Petrone C and Prota A (2015). “Shake table tests for the seismic fragility evaluation of hospital rooms”. Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics, 44(1): 23-40. DOI:

Hedrick TL (2008). “Software techniques for two- and three-dimensional kinematic measurements of biological and biomimetic systems”. Bioinspiration & Biomimetics, 3(3). DOI:

Newmark NM (1959). “A Method of Computation for Structural Dynamics”. Journal of Engineering Mechanics, 85(EM3): 67-94.

Field EH, Jordan TH and Cornell CA (2003). “OpenSHA: A Developing Community-Modeling Environment for Seismic Hazard Analysis”. Seismological Research Letters, 74(4): 406-419. DOI:

Stirling MW, McVerry GH, Gerstenberger MC, Litchfield NJ, Van Dissen RJ, Berryman KR, . . .and Jacobs K (2012). “National seismic hazard model for New Zealand: 2010 update”. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 102(4): 1514-1542. doi: 10.1785/0120110170. DOI:

Bradley BA (2010a). “NZ-Specific Pseudo-Spectral Acceleration Ground Motion Prediction Equations based on Foreign Models”. Department of Civil and Natural Resources Engineering, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, NZ.

Bradley BA (2010b). “A Generalized Conditional Intensity Measure Approach and Holistic Ground Motion Selection”. Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics, 39(12): 1324-1342. doi: 10.1002/eqe.995. DOI:

Bradley BA (2012). “A Ground Motion Selection Algorithm Based on the Generalized Conditional Intensity Measure Approach”. Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, 40: 48-61 doi: 10.1016/j.soildyn.2012.04.007. DOI:

How to Cite
Yeow, T. Z., MacRae, G. A., Dhakal, R. P., & Bradley, B. A. (2018). Validating the sliding mechanics of office-type furniture using shake-table experiments. Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, 51(1), 1-11.

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 3 4 5 > >>