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UCSD Quake Table Set To Shake 5-Story Building

— Sensors abound inside the five story structure. They will measure the impact of every shake and shudder the building is put thorough -- approximating a 6.7 magnitude quake.

Aired 4/17/12 on KPBS News.

UC-San Diego researchers will shake and rattle a 75-foot-tall, five story building on a huge earthquake simulator today. Engineers hope to learn more about how the guts of the building perform under stress.

An overall shot of the five-story building that will be tested at the Englekirk Center at UC San Diego starting April 16.
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Above: An overall shot of the five-story building that will be tested at the Englekirk Center at UC San Diego starting April 16.

The building has a working elevator, stairs and even a mock-up of a hospital surgical suite and intensive care unit on the top two floors. Researchers have been working on the project for many months. What scientists learn will improve how new buildings are put together.

"You have plumbers electricians, you have a ceiling contractor, you have a wall contractor. An interior wall contractor. Each of those trades needs to learn and benefit from the testing program like this," said UC-San Diego engineer Tara Hutchinson. She is the project leader.

Hutchinson said the idea is to stress nonstructural components of a building. The 14-million-pound structure was built on this country's largest earthquake simulator located near Scripps Ranch.

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