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In Defiance of Earthquakes

July 7, 2009

On July 14, a six-story condominium building will shake with the earthquake motions of the 1994 Northridge quake, but one and a half times as intense–more powerful than any quake California has experienced in modern times. The final experiment of NSF’s multi-year NEESWood project, part of the Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation, the effort will test new ways to construct woodframe buildings that can withstand the severe forces of nature.

Only hours after the test–occurring overnight at Japan’s E-Defense facility, home of the world’s largest shake table, which can simulate high level ground motions–the National Science Foundation will hold a live webcast featuring footage from the shake. The webcast will also offer an opportunity for media and members of the public to ask questions of lead investigator John van de Lindt of Colorado State University–on location in Japan–and others involved with the project.

Images, video and background information about the project are accessible at http://www.nsf.gov/neeswood/, with new materials being added as the final test draws closer.

What:    Webcast highlighting the world’s largest shake table test
When:    July 14, 2009, at 11:00 a.m. EDT
Where:    U.S. media can call 866-844-9416 to participate in the webcast by phone. The verbal passcode for callers is NSF. A list of dial-in numbers for countries around the world appears below. Both media and members of the public can take part in the webcast online by going to http://www.science360.gov/live. All are encouraged to submit questions in advance at webcast@nsf.gov.
Who:   
John van de Lindt, civil engineer at Colorado State University and principal investigator for NEESWood
Hidemaru Shimizu, researcher with E-Defense, Japan National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention
Hiroshi Isoda, Associate Professor, Dept. of Architecture & Civil Engineering Shinshu University, Nagano, Japan
Joy Pauschke, director of NSF’s George E. Brown Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Research program

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On July 14th, this six-story, woodframe condominium building–shown here in transport onto the world’s largest shake table–will be shaken with earthquake forces that occur, on average, only once every 2,500 years.
The final experiment of the multi-year NEESWood project, the effort will test new ways to construct buildings that can withstand the severe forces of nature. Woodframe construction can be more affordable for mid-rise buildings than other methods, but little is known about how such buildings respond to earthquakes. NEESWood set out in 2005 to study how woodframe structures built to current specifications respond to the shaking of earthquakes and to use resulting data to develop models engineers could use to design safer buildings.
Credit: John van de Lindt, Colorado State University

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