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January 27, 1998

Seismic Isolation of Semiconductor Production Facilities

Semiconductor facilities engaged in development, production, and mask-making for computer chips are extremely expensive, of which 3/4 might be the cost of the delicate equipment used to make the products (chips, masks, etc.). Much of this equipment is vibration-sensitive, and building designers go to great lengths to minimize the vibrations to which the equipment is exposed. The authors present a conceptual approach in which the design objective for the facility would be that its contents remain operational following an earthquake. The structure and mechanical systems would be designed for strength and rigidity, but the most costly portion of a semiconductor facility the cleanroom and the expensive production tools would be designed to be decoupled from the building shell using low-compliance isolation and/or dissipative systems. This concept is compared and contrasted with base isolation approaches which might be considered for the building shell by itself.

Amick, H., A. Bayat and Z. Kemeny, “Seismic Isolation of Semiconductor Production Facilities,” Proc. Seminar on Seismic Design, Retrofit, and Performance of Non-Structural Components, Seminar ATC 29-1, Applied Technology Council, pp. 297-312, (January, 1998).