Earthquake Engineering Laboratory

The Earthquake Engineering Lab is home to our three biaxial shake tables as well as our 6-degree-of-freedom table. The new building includes 29,000 square feet of new laboratory, office and auditorium space.

The Earthquake Engineering Laboratory includes:

  • A 9,600 square-foot high-bay laboratory complete with tie-down strong floor
  • Approximately $15 million worth of shake tables relocated from the Large-Scale Structures Lab
  • Control and instrumentation rooms
  • Office space for graduate students and visiting researchers
  • A 140-seat auditorium, equipped with a video wall and broadband Internet technologies

Earthquake Engineering Lab facilities

  • Test floor

    Lab floor

    Our test laboratory floor is 80 ft by 120 ft, and it was custom designed by BJG Architecture and Engineering. The test floor is a one-way slab spanning the lab's narrow direction from wall-to-wall and is supported by three intermediate load-bearing walls.

    The east side of the laboratory includes an 80 ft long by 20 ft high concrete strong wall that can be used for experiments independently of or in conjunction with the shake tables. The strong wall wraps around the southeast corner of the lab with an additional 16 ft by 20 ft section.

    In addition, the lab includes:

    • Two 30-ton overhead cranes
    • Two mass rigs
    • Numerous reaction blocks
    • A state-of-the-art instrumentation and control room
    • 392 channels of data acquisition and telepresence equipment
  • Meeting spaces

    auditorium in the earthquake engineering lab

    Dedicated rooms for control, instrumentation, and  data analysis are located on the first floor of the building north of the test floor. Staff offices are also located on this level.

    Offices line the north end of the high-bay laboratory on the second and third levels, overlooking the lab floor.  The offices are for graduate students and visiting scholars conducting research in earthquake engineering. Meeting spaces include a telepresence-equipped conference room on the second floor and an informal collaborative workspace on the third floor.

    Our new facility also includes a 140-seat auditorium located immediately to the north of the offices. Equipped with a video wall and broadband Internet technologies, this auditorium will be a virtual window to the nation and world, allowing students and researchers to experience the damaging effects of earthquakes and participate in off-site research projects in real time.

  • Basement

    earthquake engineering lab basement

    The foundation slab of the six-cell box girder provides a basement area for locating blowdowns and other accumulators for the shake tables and servo-hydraulic actuators and access to the underside of the tie-down floor for anchoring test fixtures, and general storage. Headroom in the basement is 8 ft, and the space is used to run electric power and hydraulic lines to and from experimental equipment on the floor above. Access to the basement is provided by two 2 stairwells on the North and a large in-ground vault on the South that accesses the fabrication yard. The vault contains a 6000 lb capacity scissor lift for moving equipment in and out of the basement.

    Hydraulic hardlines feed the laboratory from an external pump house just outside the southwest corner of the building. The hardlines run along the basement floor and distribute oil into the four shake tables. There are multiple tapping locations to provide hydraulics for additional actuators. An array of oversized floor holes allow easy access from the lab floor to the basement hydraulics.

  • Strong wall

    Strong wall in the earthquake engineering lab

    The strong wall in the Earthquake Engineering Laboratory can be used for reacting various large-scale experiments, both on the strong floor or on a shake table. The wall is heavily reinforced with rebar tied into the strong-floor for a monolithic reaction.

    The wall is L-shaped. It consists of an 80 ft long by 20 ft high by 4 ft thick section of concrete that can be used for experiments independently of or in conjunction with the shake tables. The strong wall wraps around the southeast corner of the lab with an additional 16 ft long by 20 ft high by 4 ft thick section. It is perforated with tie-down holes on the same 2 ft by 2 ft grid as the test floor.

    The wall may be used in conjunction with modular reaction blocks to permit a variety of reaction and anchorage loading configurations including L-shaped systems.

  • Lab access

    Fabrication area outside engineering labThe Earthquake Engineering Lab is accessible through two roll-up doors on the south side of the building adjacent to the 14,000 square foot fabrication yard.

    A third roll-up door on the west side of the lab offers an additional access point. Test specimens may be brought into the laboratory via forklift using this access point and loaded directly onto a shake table or picked up with a crane.

    Researchers can contract with local companies or arrange to have test-specimens built and stored in the fabrication yard prior to testing in one of our labs.