B. Structural Engineers Test Revolutionary New Theory
This is Science Today. Structural engineers at the University of California, San Diego's Jacobs School of Engineering have used their 25 foot by 40 foot shake table – the largest in the country and the only outdoor one in the world – to test a revolutionary new theory that mid-rise structures can be built to survive powerful earthquakes with less steel reinforcements than currently required by California building codes. Jose Restrepo, a professor of structural engineering and co-leader of the project, explains.
Restrepo: We ended up placing about one half of the reinforcements required by the code and that allows us to minimize the stresses on the building, on the foundations, we can tell the building to sway, flex, bend back and forth, opening up cracks like breathing and dissipating energy and allowing it to bend and not to break.
Narrator: The engineers simulated the ground motions from the 1994 Northridge , California earthquake and discovered that their theory held up as well as the seven-story structure did. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.