How can experts be sure that their buildings’ designs are capable of withstanding the force of an earthquake? Testing them on a gigantic vibrating table may be the solution.
A group of researchers from the University of California led by John van de Lindt, a civil engineer, created the biggest outdoor earthquake simulator in the United States: the Englekirk Structural Engineering Center.
The Englekirk Structural Engineering Center, located in San Diego, allows testing any structure. Its hydraulic motors simulate earthquake movements while sensors and cameras monitor how each part of the building reacts to that movement.
In order to try a specific building design, the team created the prototypical building which was subjected to the simulation of three of the most important earthquakes that have hit the United States: Cape Mendocino earthquake, 1992, 7.2 magnitude; Loma Prieta earthquake 1982, 6.9 magnitude and Superstition Hills earthquake, 1987, 6.7 magnitude.
After simulating the third historical earthquake, finally, the tested building.
Approximately, just in San Francisco, there are more than two thousand wooden residential blocks as the building tested in the experiment. One of the simulator’s creator objective is to help determine which old buildings needs to be retrofitted.This machine will also help to build constructions capable of withstanding tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters.
Preparedness is vital to face natural disasters and reduce damages as much as possible. Keep yourself informed with SkyAlert.
Image from: Englekirk