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Earthquake Engineering Education: A Modern Approach

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.242.1 - 5.242.9



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Paper Authors

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Scott Johnson

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Barbara Nepote

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Shirley J. Dyke

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Juan Caicedo

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Euridice Oware

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1426

Earthquake Engineering Education: A Modern Approach

S.J. Dyke, B. Nepote, J.M. Caicedo, S.M. Johnson and E.A. Oware Washington University in St. Louis


Currently civil engineering undergraduates have limited opportunities to gain an understanding of the principles of structural dynamics or exposure to the innovative new structural control meth- ods. “Hands-on” experiments seem to be particularly effective for teaching basic concepts in dynamics and control. The objective of the educational program described in this paper is to sys- tematically integrate these topics into the undergraduate civil engineering curriculum. Three bench-scale seismic simulator tables are being used to integrate a series of “hands-on” experi- ments in structural dynamics and control throughout the civil engineering curriculum at Washing- ton University. This paper discusses how structural dynamics and earthquake engineering are being integrated into the undergraduate program at Washington University. Additionally, outreach activities and undergraduate research experiences influenced by the equipment are discussed. Fur- thermore, an outgrowth of this program, the multi-institutional University Consortium on Instruc- tional Shake Tables, is introduced.

1. Introduction

The importance of understanding the effect of earthquakes on structures to the civil engineering community is apparent. Recent catastrophic earthquakes in Northridge, Kobe, Turkey and Taiwan have reminded us of the powerful and potentially deadly consequences of such natural events. At the undergraduate level, few students have opportunities to gain experience with the behavior of structures subjected to earthquake loading. Even fewer students are exposed to the exciting possi- bilities that recently developed structural control techniques offer the civil engineer.

In the last two decades, the concept of using structural control systems to mitigate the potentially catastrophic effects of severe seismic events has attracted much attention in the civil engineering research community. These types of control systems, often termed protective systems, offer the advantage of being able to dynamically modify the responses of a structure to increase its safety, reliability, and serviceability. This technology has the potential to revolutionize earthquake engi- neering, especially in vulnerable existing buildings which are characteristically difficult and expensive to retrofit. The undergraduate students at Washington University are aware of these issues and have demonstrated a great deal of interest in earthquake resistant design.

The goal of the educational program described herein is to provide the undergraduate students at Washington University with an understanding of basic concepts in structural dynamics and expo- sure to the exciting new structural control techniques. This objective is being achieved by inte- grating a series of “hands-on” experiments into the civil engineering curriculum. The experiments have been designed to provide the students with a background in the basic principles of structural

Johnson, S., & Nepote, B., & Dyke, S. J., & Caicedo, J., & Oware, E. (2000, June), Earthquake Engineering Education: A Modern Approach Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8321

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