Earthquake Shaking: Building Contest and Shake Table Testing Activity

Larry Braile, Purdue University

In this activity students explore earthquake hazards and damage to buildings by constructing model buildings and subjecting the buildings to ground vibration (shaking similar to earthquake vibrations) on a small shake table. After the initial testing, instructors can illustrate specific design issue problems with model buildings that were successful by modifying them with a specific weakness. Poor quality construction or mistakes made in construction can be simulated in a model building by weakening. Other building design and construction variations, such as very rigid or very flexible buildings, can be specifically built and tested. Comparing the responses and failure levels of these structures with the original designs that were successful can be used as a method of reinforcing the principles of effective building design and earthquake hazards related to structures.

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Resource Type: Activities:Classroom Activity
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14), High School (9-12), Middle (6-8), Intermediate (3-5)
Topics: Human Dimensions/Resources