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Illustration Of Shake Table Experiments In Structural Engineering Curriculum

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

CE Rap Session and Toys in the Classroom

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.622.1 - 7.622.8



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Paper Authors

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Lisa Wang

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Session 1815

Illustration of Shake Table Experiments in Structural Engineering Curriculum

Lisa (Yunxia) Wang, Assistant Professor

Department of Civil Engineering California State Polytechnic University, Pomona


The importance of understanding the effects of earthquakes on structures to the civil engineering community is apparent. Recent catastrophic earthquakes in Northridge, Kobe, Turkey, Taiwan and India have reminded us of the powerful and potentially deadly consequences of such natural events. The essential equipment for the study of structural dynamic behavior in earthquake engineering is an earthquake simulator, or shake table, that can reproduce the historical earthquake ground motion records. For the feasibility of classroom demonstration, small scale table-top shake tables, such as MTS T-TEQ, are used for illustration purposes in the structural analysis and design lecture courses. From observing the structural dynamic behavior of civil engineering prototype structures, students will have a better understanding of the seismic design concepts such as the nature of earthquake loading, the effectiveness of lateral bracing, structural damping and base isolation on structural control.


Recent catastrophic earthquakes in Northridge, Kobe, Turkey, Taiwan and India have caused severe damage to buildings, bridges, and crucial lifeline infrastructures. During the Northridge earthquake, for example, about 12,500 structures were moderately to severely damaged including residential homes, businesses, and freeways (see Figure 1). Major freeway damage occurred up to 32 km from the epicenter. Collapses and other severe damage forced closure of portions of 11 major roads to downtown Los Angeles. On the first anniversary of the 6.7 magnitude 1994 Northridge earthquake, Kobe, Japan was struck by a 6.9 magnitude. Both earthquakes ruptured beneath densely populated areas, and both caused horrible damage (see Figure 2). Yet in Kobe there were many more deaths, financial losses than in Northridge. And the amount of destroyed structures and infrastructures were far worse in Kobe than in Northridge due to the different seismic engineering practices.

“Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2002, American Society for Engineering Education”

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Wang, L. (2002, June), Illustration Of Shake Table Experiments In Structural Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--11096

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