Using Real World Data to Study Soil Foundation Structure Interaction

This page is authored by Thalia Anagnos, San Jose State University, based on materials developed by Sandra Seale and Jamison Steidl, UC Santa Barbara, and Robert Nigbor, UCLA.
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This is a partially developed activity description. It is included in the collection because it contains ideas useful for teaching even though it is incomplete.

Initial Publication Date: March 4, 2013


Two resources are described here. These activities are not described in the context of a particular course. The resources are:

  1. A set of 3 animated videos showing exaggerated motion of two instrumented structures (braced and unbraced frame) subjected to a dynamic shaker, an M3.1 earthquake and an M 3.6 earthquake. The videos were developed from real data collected on the structures.
  2. An interactive web resource to remotely operate a dynamic shaker on an instrumented structure and collect data for analysis of the motions of the roof and foundation.

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Learning Goals

Students who view the video will:

  • see how ground motion near the natural period of a structure causes resonance that amplifies motion of a structure.
  • see how different types of seismic waves affect the motion of a structure.

Students who use the remote shaker module will:
  • Understand fundmental structural dyanimcs concepts such as modes of vibration, and modal frequencies
  • Create an analytical model based on the properties of a real structure
  • Analyze data collected from a real structure
  • Compare analysis of real data to analytical models

Context for Use

The animated videos could be used in any level course from middle school to graduate school because viewers can see when each of the waves (P, S, and surface) hits the structure, compare the performance of a braced and unbraced frame, and see the effects of resonance. Each of the three videos are about 1 minute long.

The interactive web resource is aimed at students who know something about waves, structural dynamics, and resonance. A module is under development (but not complete) that takes about two weeks to provide the background for students, collect the data, and analyze the data. Operating the remote shaker could be done as a homework assignment or as part of a lab. Once students have the password they can operate the shaker at any time of day.

Description and Teaching Materials

The videos are currently not available. They can be viewed during a lecture, lab, or as a homework and students can be asked to write or discuss their observations as the view them.

The web-based module is still in development, but should be available by May 2013. once completed it will be available at the NEES@UCSB and web sites. Students who use the module will