Science and Technology News

Thursday, April 12, 2012

NSF Webcast: Testing for Earthquakes, Inside and Out

From an elevator to hospital beds, shake-table test will subject a five-story building's inner workings to severe motions from record-setting earthquakes

On April 17, 2012, an NSF-supported team of researchers will shake a full-size building outfitted with the myriad, inner workings of modern life.

From elevators to ceiling tiles, hospital equipment to computer servers and wiring to pipes, numerous non-structural elements will be tested as a five-story concrete building shakes from the motions of the devastating 1994 Northridge earthquake and the 2010 San Pedro earthquake in Chile.

The testing will take place atop the outdoor shake table at the Englekirk Structural Engineering Center at the University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego), part of NSF's 14-site national Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation. Reporters can attend on-site or participate in a follow-on Q&A webcast hosted by NSF that afternoon.

To attend the shake, contact UC San Diego media officer Ioana Patringenaru at (858) 822-0899 or for instructions and guidelines. We ask that media RSVP for the on-site event by noon April 16. To participate in the NSF Q&A webcast with study leads Tara Hutchinson and Jose Restrepo, along with NSF NEES program manager Joy Pauschke, contact NSF media officer Josh Chamot at (703) 292-7730 or to receive the webcast participant passcode and phone number. Submit questions before and during the webcast to

Who: Principal investigator Tara Hutchinson, Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego; co-principal investigator Jose Restrepo, Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego; NSF NEES program manager Joy Pauschke

What: Full-scale shake test of five-story hospital/office building and its internal components and follow-on webcast

When: Shake: April 17, 2012 beginning at noon EDT (9:00 a.m. PDT) NSF Webcast: April 17, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. EDT (11:00 a.m. PDT)

Where: Shake: Englekirk Structural Engineering Center at UC San Diego
NSF Webcast:

More information about the project, including upcoming fire tests, can be found at the project's Web site. Also see a short documentary film about the test produced by UCSD-TV and the California Seismic Safety Commission.

For more on another record-setting NSF NEES shake test, see Standing Strong. For detailed data showing NSF support of research in California, see NSF's SEE Innovation Web site.

NSF's Directorate for Engineering is a world leader in support of research in engineering fields. In fiscal year 2011, the directorate provided $762.71 million in support of research at universities, businesses and other institutions throughout the United States.


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