Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Earthquake Resiliency Research Update

Scott Harvey

The frequency of earthquakes in Oklahoma has increased remarkably in recent years. Prior to 2009, Oklahoma experienced one to three magnitude 3.0 (M3.0) or larger earthquakes, but this number is steadily increasing. In 2014 Oklahoma experienced more M3.0 or larger earthquakes than any other state—including California and Alaska—with fourteen earthquakes in excess of M4.0. Larger earthquakes (M5.0+) may pose a threat to bridges, buildings, and their contents, as previously seen in California.

Six-degree-of-freedom shake table
To test the resiliency of structures and equipment to earthquakes, assistant professor Scott Harvey will be expanding the dynamic testing capabilities at the Donald G. Fears Structural Engineering Laboratory by acquiring a six-degree-of-freedom shaking table. Traditional shake tables offer only a single axis of motion, while the new shaking table offers the ability to conduct three-dimensional tests, which better represents real earthquake ground motions. Experiments to be conducted on the new shake table include the seismic testing of isolation systems commonly used to protect valuable equipment—such as computer servers and museum artifacts—from harsh floor motions. In the course Dynamics of Structures, students will participate in shake-table tests to increase their understanding of earthquake engineering.