QuakeCoRE researchers leverage Chinese partnership to access world-class engineering facilities

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For the last three months, QuakeCoRE and University of Auckland researcher Dr Rick Henry has spent his sabbatical building a two-story concrete building that will be tested on one of the world’s largest and most flexible shake tables.

The shake table is part of the world-class earthquake engineering facilities that are part of the International Joint Research Laboratory of Earthquake Engineering (ILEE) at Tongji University in China. QuakeCoRE joined a partnership with ILEE in 2016, which has given New Zealand researchers like Rick the opportunity to access some of the world’s top earthquake engineering testing equipment.

This project is using a shake table that is much larger than anything available in New Zealand and one that is truly impressive on a global scale. The table is a multiple function array, composed of four tables, each 6 m x 4 m, which can be configured in different ways to test a wide range of structures.

This table enables Rick and his team to test an entire two-story concrete building that implements the latest in low-damage structural design solutions. The building utilised post-tensioned concrete walls and slotted beams with detailing based on implemented buildings in Christchurch and Wellington. Previous testing has focused on individual components rather than on entire buildings.

The project is led by Rick with support from co-PI Ying Zhou (Tongji University). QuakeCoRE researchers Geoff Rodgers (University of Canterbury) and Ken Elwood (University of Auckland) have also played a key role as associate investigators, and research fellow Yiqiu Lu (University of Auckland) is currently based at Tongji University to coordinate and supervise the building construction and testing. An industry advisory group (Didier Pettinga, Alistair Cattanach, Peter Smith, Tony Holden, Des Bull and Craig Muir) have provided valuable input to the test objectives and buildings design.

Rick’s project is the first in a string of QuakeCoRE projects that will leverage the ILEE facilities. The next project, led by Greg MacRae at the University of Canterbury, will test a steel building on the same table.

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