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Friday, 26 October 2018 01:00cat

Largest outdoor shake table receives $16.3 million for upgrades

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The largest outdoor shake table in the world The largest outdoor shake table in the world

The largest shake table utilized as an earthquake simulator received a $16.3 million fund from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for upgrades.

The facility, that is manipulated by engineers at the University of California San Diego, is one of nine experimental facilities in the NSF-funded Natural Hazards Engineering Earthquake Research Infrastructure (NHERI) program. 

Among other modifications, the fund will provide the expansion of the simulator's testing capabilities. In particular, the shake table will have the capability of recreating the motion of the ground during strong earthquakes with a higher accuracy. Moreover, it will be able to test the heaviest frameworks that appear in common constructions such as bridge bents, bridge columns, wind turbines and multi-story buildings by applying a large range of input ground motions. Professor Joel Conte, in the Department of structural engineering at UC San Diego, and principal investigator for the NSF upgrade grant stated: "We will be able to reproduce earthquake motions with the most accuracy of any shake table in the world."

Until today, the facility operates under one degree of freedom as it is able to move back and forth in one direction. However, after the upgrade, the shake table will be able to operate in all directions (back and forth, up and down, left to right, yaw, pitch and roll). This is a matter of high importance as the ground does not move only in one direction during an earthquake. For example, during the 1971 San Fernando tremblor, evidence show that the ground was partially rotating.

After the upgrades, the first tests will be conducted on a 10-story building made from cross-laminated timber. The purpose of the research, led by Shiling Pei, a professor at the Colorado School of Mines, is to gather data about seismic response of wood buildings in order to achieve taller structures that could withstand a severe earthquake.

Since 2004, data from the tests in the shake table has led to significant alterations in design codes concerning seismic performance. Research has also provided new findings about the response of geotechnical constructions such as tunnels, foundations and retaining walls.



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