Simulated Earthquake to Shake Condo

Today, Japanese scientists are going to shake a six-story wood frame building on a table to simulate a 7.5 Richter scale earthquake and evaluate its effects on the structure:

“We’re taking it to an earthquake level that’s associated with being on the verge of collapse,” said civil engineer Michael Symans of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, who helped design the test building. “We don’t expect it to collapse, but we expect it to be very vulnerable to a strong aftershock that could cause it to collapse.”

The 23-unit condo building currently sits on the world’s largest shake table, a 50-by-60-foot structure in Miki, Japan. The table will simulate the motions of the 1994 earthquake in Northridge, California, amplified about 1.5 times. Sensors on each floor of the building will record motion and detect internal damage, generating valuable data about how wooden structures perform in a quake.

You can watch the webcast live at 11 AM EDT today.


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