Narrator: This is Science Today. Structural engineers at the University of California, San Diego's School of Engineering are leading a national effort to improve the construction quality of masonry structures to better withstand earthquakes. Benson Shing says they've begun rigorous testing using the campus's outdoor shake table, which is the world's largest. Shing says the three-story reinforced masonry structure they're shaking up is a basic structure used commonly to build apartment buildings, schools and hotels.
Shing: The performance of reinforced masonry structure in earthquakes is therefore very important. We don't have a stand up prototype to work with. Every structure is unique and very different, so designing this kind of structure is an art. So, how it performs in an earthquake is sometimes very difficult to predict and testing these structures full-scale under realistic condition is a very rare opportunity, so that's why we are very excited about this kind of research.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.