Poly, San Luis Obispo -- April 04, 2001
$250,000 Gift Advances Seismic Research at
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
A $250,000 grant from the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation is making it
possible for Cal Poly to buy a large "shake table" to advance
seismic research and give undergraduates a chance to conduct projects
that graduate students elsewhere might envy.
The gift will pay a large part of the cost of a 10-foot-by-10-foot table
capable of literally shaking apart a 10-ton, two-story structure in
order to learn ways to build stronger buildings. To simulate earthquake
conditions, it will be able to generate forces of up to one and a half
times the force of gravity.
"This equipment puts Cal Poly at the forefront of integrating seismic
safety and geotechnology into an undergraduate curriculum," said
Rakesh Goel, associate professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering
"Students hired to help implement testing projects and others who
will carry out their own sponsored research projects in the lab will
not only gain experience with this cutting-edge equipment, but will
be exposed to a whole range of seismic safety issues," Goel said.
The servo-hydraulic shake table will attract industry-sponsored projects
to test whether materials and systems meet seismic safety design standards,
Goel said, and those projects are expected to pay the remainder of the
equipment's total cost of $600,000.
The table is to be installed sometime next year in a two-story, stand-alone
structure known as the Parsons Infrastructure and Technology Group Earthquake
and Geotechnical Laboratory, one of six interdisciplinary labs of the
College of Engineering's Advanced Technology Laboratories facility.
Earlier, Parsons Technology contributed a separate $250,000 for the
design, development and construction management of the building.
In addition to large-scale testing of structural systems, the shake
table will enable student and faculty projects related to soil-structure
interaction, earthquake effects on environmentally sensitive structures,
soil liquefaction, and soil characterization related to earthquake engineering
and geo-environmental studies.