Engineers Build 5-Story Building on Seismic Shake Tablet to Test Earthquake Readiness
Posted on April 13, 2012
Structural engineers at the University of California, San Diego have built the world's largest outdoor shake table at the Englekirk Structural Engineering Center. The goal of the $5 million project is to ascertain what needs to be done to make sure that high-value buildings, such as hospitals and data centers, remain operational after going through an earthquake. Researchers also will assess whether the building's fire barriers have been affected by the shakes.
The 80-foot-tall structure is equipped with a large water tower and an air conditioning and heating unit on its roof. The exterior of the building is complete with heavy precast concrete cladding as well as synthetic stucco, each commonly used in commercial construction. The 5-story building contains over 500 high-fidelity sensors and more than 70 cameras that will record the movement of key elements and components inside the building. This is also the first time that a base isolation system will be tested under a full-scale building on a shake table in the United States.
Two weeks of testing will put the building through simulated temblors using motions from the 6.7-magnitude Northridge earthquake (1994), 7.9-magnitude earthquake that took place in Denali, Alaska (2002) the 8.8-magnitude earthquake in Chile (2010) and the 8.0-magnitude earthquake in Peru (2007).
Photo: Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego